Good Morning, Heartache (Part 1)

6 04 2012

If you ask me or my friends, we will tell you that one of my characteristics is being honest.

A little while ago, I started writing an entry on my blog titled “The Scientist’s Experiment.”  It’s still in my drafts, incomplete.  It is unfinished because I have been trying to convey my thoughts in a somewhat prose-y, poetic way, while trying to say everything it is I want to say.

A friend told me a while back that I should write out my feelings on paper– no prose, no poetry, just write them all out, however you feel.  It would make me feel better.  And so I did.  Did I feel better?  Perhaps.  The thoughts certainly came out faster when I didn’t have to think about how to phrase exactly what I wanted to say to fit what came before and what would follow.

But I decided at the least minute to fuse the two together, so it’s not just an emotional unloading.  So for all those out there, here’s a story for you.

Good Morning, Heartache
by Aaron Chan

Once upon a time, there was a guy named Jake.  Jake, like many queer young boys, took in the idea that gay boys were supposed to find love after coming out.  It could also be that Jake was simply a romantic, but in any case, he longed for the day when he would find someone he could love and be that wonderful boyfriend he so frequently saw in C-grade gay films, and lackluster Hollywood rom-coms.  He thoroughly believed in the tradition of winning back someone by way of bouquets of roses, silent messages via placards during Christmastime, and admitting one’s faults after an exciting airport chase.  Although Jake is not very social when it comes to meeting new people, he finds talking to people one-on-one just fine.  Unfortunately, not many people happen to waltz up to the quiet loner standing in the corner of the room and start a conversation.  No, siree.

I know it can be strange to imagine, but Jake has always felt the need to love someone.  He can’t explain it.  The best I can do is this: some people claim they were born to be engineers; some say they “knew” they had to help people in developing countries.  For Jake, he always felt that he wanted to love someone.  It was as natural a goal and instinct as wanting to be a mother, or writer, or voting for the Green Party.

People always say, “you don’t need a man to make you happy.”  Okay, well, women typically say that, less for men.  Although Jake knew this had to be true, he couldn’t help but feel he did need — or at the very least, want — to love someone.  It was as if there was a piece missing from himself that could only be found when he found someone.  Corny?  Yes, a bit.  But it was life for Jake.

During this time, Jake also begins to develop his insecurity.  His lack of finding anyone remotely interesting who was interested in him makes him feel like a freak, like he’s not attractive.  Granted, he is mainly looking online and you know how shallow people can be, but still, for a dreamer and a romantic like Jake, it still hurts him every time he messages an interesting guy and receives silence.  At the same time, the only attention he seems to get is either from said older, usually white men who seem to have a fetish for young guys, or, less often, from guys so jacked up on testosterone they can’t communicate with more than a grunt or, in Internet language, “sup?”  Sure, some attention is flattering but after a while, when it’s all he gets, it made Jake feel as though he was doing something wrong, or else he just really destined not to find anyone.

Fast forward a whole bunch of years (because the life of a tween is not that interesting).  Jake, now a young man, finds that someone messaged him on an online dating site he signed up for.  What a revelation!  After weeks, months, years of being unable to find any sort of gay person, this guy, who appears to 1) not be a creepo old guy, and 2) have a good grasp of basic spelling and grammar.  So Jake and this guy, Dorian, meet and eventually start dating.  It seems they have a lot in common, and things are great.  Jake’s insecurity starts to disappear, as he is finally with someone interesting, someone worth dedicating his time to.  Ah, young love.

However, things don’t go exactly as Jake thinks.  Dorian is really busy with school and preparing for lots of plays at the university.  He’s so into what he does and is so good that everyone in the Drama building knows him, and he continuously gets requests from everyone to help on this project or that one.  Since he can’t say no, he accepts, leaving little time for Jake.  Oh, and Dorian is in the closet (no one in Drama would ever suspect him!), so all of Dorian’s friends that Jake meets know Jake as a “friend.”

Despite this setback, Jake convinces himself that it’ll be okay.  After all, Jake is patient and still that romantic I mentioned earlier, and he believes that Dorian is worth being with.  So Jake continues to be Dorian’s “friend.”

Eventually, Dorian and Jake decide to break up.  Dorian admits that were he to stay in the city, he would never come out, and although Jake truly cares for Dorian, he can’t take being known as another friend the rest of his life by his boyfriend.  Moreover, it’s gotten to the point where Dorian and Jake only meet once or twice a week– because of Dorian’s busy play production schedule.  So they part.

The piece is gone.  Suddenly, Jake feels alone, his goal for love thwarted.  Although it was a mutual separation, he still feels as though he has failed in some way.  The insecurity comes back.  He believed he was lucky to be with Dorian, now Jake sees his relationship as proof that nothing good can stay in his life.  Anything that makes Jake happy is temporary, especially love.

Calendar pages fly by.  Jake is alone, still thinking profusely about Dorian.  Instead of thinking about all the good times they had together, Jake ruminates about how he’ll never have them again with Dorian, and what went wrong.  It’s just his way of thinking.  Dorian, on the other hand, seems to have no problem getting on with life after Jake’s departure.  Jake can’t understand this, and realizes later that he does in fact love Dorian.  Unfortunately for Jake, it no longer matters– Dorian is just too busy to respond to any of Jake’s messages or emails, and I’m sure he conveniently ignored a bunch too.

It takes Jake a good while to get back on his feet.  Even though Jake and Dorian were only together for four months, Jake let himself get immersed in this first love.  All of Jake’s friends tell him that that dream guy that Jake has been fantasizing about all those years is going to find Jake sooner or later.  After all, they say, Jake’s a kickass boyfriend.  Good things happen to good people, like, all the time.

Press the fast forward button again.  A little more than two years later, Jake is more or less back to normal.  He’s back at school, has taken up writing witty greeting cards (“You’ve graduated high school?  Join the other 5,389,284,203,298 in human history!”), and no longer dwells on thinking about his ex.  Dorian can go suck it, for all Jake cares (although since Dorian’s in the closet and had disclosed to Jake that he wouldn’t have sex until he was back in a relationship, he probably isn’t sucking any). During all this time, Jake tries to date but it seems the town is in a drought; there’s a shortage of average, interesting gay guys in the city, it seems.  It’s discouraging, to say the least, but Jake figures trying is better than not.  So he keeps at it.

One day, Jake submits his greeting card inspired by Dorian (“I don’t tell you enough how amazing, fantastic, loving, wonderful you really are… but at least I’m buying you this card.  So when is it my turn?”) to the town’s annual Greeting Card-a-puhlooza.  And his card gets in to the expo!

After his card is showcased in front of a live audience and Jake talks a bit about how he came up with such an idea, he decides to head over the afterparty to meet the other cool, witty, snarky card writers.  At this party, a young, also queer guy comes up to Jake and starts yell-talking to him over the uhns-uhns-ing beat of trashy music.  His name is Romulus, and he and Jake hit it off.

Being a romantic (and a tad desperate, but more romantic), Jake instantly imagines Romulus as a potential boyfriend.  But as they get to know each other, Romulus comes off as something better: a true gay friend.  Although Jake is a little disappointed, he is more than thrilled that at least Romulus is an interesting gay guy who isn’t into camping out to see the next Sex and the City movie.  Besides, Romulus is way too busy with his day-time job as a flame-throwing, homophobe-vanquishing superhero anyway.

Romulus invites Jake to help out with his own greeting card party.  It’s been a big passion of Romulus to write greeting cards but he’s always put it off for one reason or another.  But no more!  He’s decided to have a three-day greeting card write-a-thon, and has invited some other friends to help out too.

Naturally, Jake is more than willing to help.  When he gets to Romulus’s place on the first day, he sees a guy who looks familiar.  And since Jake has a creepily good facial recognition (I say creepily because a lot of people might find it creepy but if you think about it, it’s actually quite impressive), he instantly remembers who this guy is.

Heath.

Now we have to rewind a bit.

Flashback!

While Jake was at school, he was taking an Arabic class.  One day, he and a classmate had to work on a project together.  The classmate told Jake that he was in the library “with my friend Heath.”  Thinking nothing of it, Jake went to the library and found the classmate sitting with a guy named Heath.  Since Heath was fluent in Arabic, he was able to proofread their inferior project so that they wouldn’t look as stupid when they presented it.

Heath was short, with short dark hair, and super skinny (but not anorexic skinny, thankfully).  He and Jake didn’t talk much that day, and when Heath was done with their project, Jake left.

End of flashback!

Now standing before him was the same Heath, who looked the same, even after almost a year.

“I know you!  You’re Heath!” exclaimed Jake, demonstrating his awesome memory.

“Ah wah??” said Heath, naturally confuzzled.

And that was the start of the romance to-be.

To be continued!


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