Good Morning, Heartache (part 8)

13 04 2012

Good Morning, Heartache (part 8)

Good morning, heartache, thinks Jake, waking up to another day.  How cold you’ve kept me in my bed at night.

More like the movies and TV shows of post-dumped characters, Jake has been crying in his room for the past few days.  He listens to “The Only Exception” by Paramore at least three times a day, and a specific scene from the movie The Broken Hearts Club, where one of the characters tries to win back his ex by proclaiming everything he did wrong, and then wishing him a happy life with his new beau. Sometimes with the door closed and sometimes not, Jake sobs alone, drenching his shirt with tears, his whole body heaving up and down, gasping from sadness.

(Skip to 4:27 in the video)

All these months have been a waste.  I was a goddamn fool to ever think there was hope.  I thought there was hope, but there’s no hope at all.  He’s with someone else, someone who is better than me.  It’s never going to be me ever again, are just some of the negative thoughts going through his head.

Our It Gets Better video we made together.
The times we made love.
Every “I love you.”
The bath we had together.
The one night we slept together.
The roses we gave to each other.
The poems we wrote to each other.
The songs I sang to you.
Every kiss we shared.
Every laugh we shared.
Every second of every minute we did something together.

Don’t these things mean anything to you?  I know they do to me.

Thanks, or possibly no thanks, to the fact that it’s in between semesters, maybe he would have less to think about if he were busy with classes.  On the other hand, maybe he needs to cry it out.  Even going in to work at the theatre, Jake is so ovewhelmed that on a few occasions, he leaves the building on his break and heads over to the empty parking lot next door, listens to “The Only Exception”, and cries to himself in the cold rain.

And when he goes in to work at the park… well, most of the time, he’s making kettle corn like a robot, and doesn’t have to think about much.  When he goes in to work later the day he and Heath meet in December, Jake tells Mozilla what happened.  He expects her to be surprised, but she confesses, “Yeah, I just found out yesterday about this guy.  Basically, Heath’s been doing the same thing to him as he did to you– ignoring him.  Except this guy doesn’t care.  He’s in Japan for 10 months.  I don’t trust him.  Apparently he’s bisexual too, and he just gives me a bad vibe… When you’re away from someone for such a long time, I think the pressure to sleep around can be pretty up there, and I can see this guy doing that.  I think Heath is going to get hurt because of that.”

Heath won’t get hurt because he doesn’t care if this guy cheats on him, Jake thinks to himself.

Every night working in the park brings Jake down.  He can almost see where he and Heath told each other “I love you” last year.  How different a whole year has been.

His friends tell him to take his time and cry all he needs.  Again, Jake tries to move on since it’s clear Heath has, but this time, it’s even more difficult.  He tries dating, and does meet some interesting people including Kurt, who is younger and very patient.  Perhaps it’s the people he’s been seeing or that it’s too soon since the incident in December, but whatever the case, Jake doesn’t feel “it” with his dates like he did easily with Heath.  He wonders if he’s lost that part of him that believes in things like Hollywood endings.  Maybe it died in December.  Maybe now he’s been disillusioned, and true love doesn’t exist.

His entire being, after all, is to love (and be loved, of course).  Or at least that’s what he thought.  And now that he’s failed with Heath, he can’t help but feel like, again, he’s failed in loving.  He knows people won’t understand if he tried to explain it to them.  Of course he can live without love.  Of course he can be single.  He obviously isn’t imploding into nothingness.  It just doesn’t feel right to not have someone to love.

The city becomes a minefield.  No longer can Jake go without feeling a pang in his chest when seeing ads for the botanical garden on TV or online.  Working at the park is an obvious one.  Such things as hearing a song by Shakira or Lady Gaga, whom Heath adores, red sweaters, hearing and speaking Arabic– it all reminds him of Heath.  It almost feels as if every time something reminds him of Heath, what’s left of his heart dissolves further, decomposing.  It all makes Jake stop and feel sad.

Even going to school, knowing Heath is somewhere in those halls creates a sense of dread in him.  When the next semester in January starts up, Jake is so disinterested in college life that he makes half-hearted attempts to do pretty much everything.  Walking around the school makes him nervous because of the possibility that Heath could appear anywhere, and Jake figures that ignorance really is bliss in this case.  If he doesn’t see Heath, the better it is for Jake.

There are times when Jake sees Heath waiting at the bus stop.  They used to take the bus together.  When Jake sees Heath, his breathing immediately because short gasps of air, and he has an overwhelming sense of nausea and panic.  Jake has to walk away and find another way home, and he wonders if Heath notices him walking away at all.

Although Jake considers himself to be “seeing” Kurt, they haven’t talked about being official boyfriends.  Things with him are simpler, but at the same time, are also complicated.  With Heath, they went out a few times, and talked about being boyfriends.  Jake does like Kurt a lot, and he’s told him about Dorian and Heath because he feels it would only be fair that Kurt know how and why Jake is being affected by issues in the past.

When Jake tells Kurt about seeing Heath at school and how he felt as if he were experiencing the same symptoms as in December, Kurt tells him he had anxiety.  Although anxiety is a common problem in society, it’s not something Jake ever thought he would develop, at least not when it came to exes.  He supposes this must show how much he loved Heath.

There are times when Jake finds himself still thinking about Heath and this new guy of his, and surprises himself by clenching his fist until his knuckles are white, or shouting profanities to no one in paticular.  Jake’s mental health deteriorates; he gets sick several times in the following months, as opposed to normally once or twice a year.  At the very least, he is aware that his mental state isn’t that great, but doesn’t know what to do about it.  Kurt, who has been extremely understanding and patient with Jake this whole time, helps Jake sort things out.  But it’s still not enough, and Jake knows it.

One day, Kurt advises Jake to write down every thought, positive or negative, around Heath.  Write it all down on paper.  This, Kurt says, has been proven to help people feel better about things.

So he does.  After filling three pages of scrawl, Jake sighs.  He does feel slightly better, but now that the words are written on the page, staring back at him, it feels like a waste of ink.  These words hold power for change, and to let them lay on the page, flat, not living up to what they could achieve…

And with that, Jake types up his written thoughts and organizes them.

To be continued!

Good Morning, Heartache (Part 2)

7 04 2012

Good Morning, Heartache (Part 2)

Before you read the next part, play this video.  It will help enhance the mood while you’re reading.  However, if you are like me and are unable to concentrate on words while listening to music, then don’t play it.

The two boys stare at each other.

“Ah wahh?” was the last thing Heath uttered.

“Your name is Heath, right?”  Jake goes on to describe in fairly good detail about how they had met that one day almost a year ago through Jake’s old classmate.

“I vaguely remember that…” is all Heath has to offer.  No matter.  As long as Jake doesn’t come across as a big weirdo, that’s fine by him.  After their brief re-introduction, they don’t speak to each other much.

At the write-a-thon, Jake is introduced to a few other of Romulus’s friends, including Mozilla and Chihiro.  Remember their names because they come up again later in the story.

Everything goes fine.  Jake speaks to Heath in Arabic (and Heath replies in English, but that works too) a few times, but not much really happens between them.  The problem is that Jake has never been the kind of guy to ask people out, particularly in person.  His sense of gaydar is all but defunct, and thus, approaching boys has never occured to him.  But since Romulus is gay, there is a chance Heath could be as well.  Jake decides to test this out in the best way possible: greeting card-writing, of course!

On the last day while, Romulus and the rest of the friends are out getting inspiration from the night sky, Jake, Heath, and his best friend Chihiro are left at Romulus’s place.  Jake scribbles and scribbles in a small blue notebook, while Heath and Chihiro chat away.

“I wrote a greeting card about you.”  That’s Jake speaking– or rather– blurting out loud.

“Oh really?  What’s it about?”  Heath inquires.

Jake fumbles with the pen in his hand.  “I… I’ll read it to you.”  He takes a breath and begins.

“Roses are red, violets are blue… Please can you tell me if you like dudes?”

There’s an awkward silence in the room as Jake finishes.  Heath and Chihiro look at each other, then giggle.  Jake shakes his head.

“I know ‘blue’ and ‘dudes’ don’t rhyme… but I mean what I asked.”

Heath smiles.  “Well, what do you think?”

“Well… you’re friends with Romulus, and he has a lot of gay friends, but that doesn’t mean anything.  Also, I not-so-secretly anymore stalked your facebook page last night and saw that you’re a fan of Dan Savage, but lots of heteros like him.  So in conclusion… I don’t know.”

Heath smiles again.  “Well, you are correct with those points.  But yes, I am gay.”

Jake feels himself sigh with relief, and manages a smile.

A few days later, after having exchanged messages on facebook, the two decide to hang out.  Jake suggests going for milkshakes, which is secretly his way of asking guys out online (although it has never actually worked up until this point).  They hit Mary’s Hamburgers and settle down for some drinks.

“Are you out to your family?” asks Jake.

“No.”  Jake’s face falls, as he remembers how unhappy he was with Dorian.  “But I want to soon though.  I’m out to friends and all, and if someone asks, I won’t hide it.”

Jake nods.  He remembers how difficult it can be to come out in general, much less come out to parents.  The fact that Heath is out to friends is already a big step.  Jake learns that Heath has been studying at the same school for a year, in biology, specifically, botany.  When he talks about plants, Heath really gets into it, speaking about how gymnosperms are just so damn cool (and not because the word “sperm” is in the word).  For someone his age, which is to say, two years younger than Jake, Heath is quite intelligent and seems mature, which impreses Jake.

The two finish their milkshakes and head off.  Seeing as how this whole date was orchestrated by him and his romantic mind, Jake proceeds to lead Heath to a nearby hidden secret.  In between a row of houses is one of the city’s treasures: a small garden of a variety of coloured flowers.  Jake had discovered it months ago, and it was his quiet place to think.  For a while, it became his place to dwell on Dorian but he eventually decided that associating negative thoughts with sucha  lovely place wasn’t a good idea.

“Have you ever been here before?” Jake asks as they get to the small garden.

“No, I haven’t.”  Heath’s eyes are everywhere, absorbing all the life around him.  Jake sees this and smiles, knowing he’s done good.  For a second, Jake hesitates, then cautiously puts his arm around Heath’s shoulders.  Heath doesn’t move, and Jake interprets this as a good sign.  It’s the first real intimate contact the two have had.  The two sit in the clearing for a few minutes in peaceful silence, with the wildlife of birds, bugs, and wind rushing through the plants as their soundtrack.

“Hey, that’s a bleeding heart flower!” Heath leans in to examine it, breaking their embrace.  Jake watches Heath giddily caress the plant, talking about the species and all this random trivia about it.  The greeting card writer and the botanist, he thinks.  Us.

After spending some time in the garden, Jake asks Heath if there’s anywhere he’d like to go.  Heath says no, which is perfect, since Jake has more plans up his sleeve.  Jake leads Heath over to the local music store, where they go up to the third floor– instruments.

“I don’t know how to play any instruments,” confesses Heath.  “Except if you count the recorder.  And I’m not even very good at that.”

“Hey, recorder’s better than nothing.  I think everyone should be able to play at least one instrument.  It would change how we’d all look at life.”

They finally stand in front of the accordions, possibly the most misused instrument out there.  Jake picks up a snazzy, bright green one, and puts the straps around his shoulders.

“Wait, you know how to play this?” Heath asks.

Jake smiles.  He takes a breath, and sings while he plays, his breath almost moving in time to the compression of the reeds:

I first saw you at the video exchange.
I know my heart and it will never change.
This temp work would be alright if you called me, you called me,
I lie awake at night for you, and I pray.

We cross the deepest oceans, cargo across the sea,
and if you don’t believe me, just put your hands on me.
And all the constellations, shine down for us to see,
and if you don’t believe me, just put your hands on me.

When Jake’s done singing Vanessa Carlton’s “Hands On Me” (you didn’t think he wrote that, did you?), there’s a few seconds of silence before Heath claps politely.

“That was great!” he says.  He puts a hand on Jake’s shoulder.

Jake merely blushes.  “I’ve been playing for a long time.  I just felt like playing that for you.”

“Well, thank you.  I really appreciate it,” says Heath.  “Hey, I’m actually going to meet some friends– Chihiro and Mozilla, you remember them, right?– to catch that latest zombie movie, you know, the one where the zombies are all old people?  Did you want to watch with us?”

Heath and Jake are off on the streets again.  It’s late in the afternoon now, but still quite warm for a fall day.

“You know, I would, but zombie movies just aren’t my thing.  Makes me hungry after watching one.  I’ll walk you to the theatre though.”

As they make their way to the theatre, Jake reflects on how things have gone.  He’s spent the day with this young, unbelievably cute boy, who, for whatever reason, seems to also like spending time with him too.  How many times has that happened?  First date success, it seems.

Inside the theatre, Heath’s friends Chihiro and Mozilla await him.  Jake says hi to them, and wishes that they enjoy the film.  Before he leaves, he turns to Heath and opens his arms, gesturing for a hug.  Heath embraces him, and they hug tightly.

“I’ll talk to you soon, alright?”


With that, Jake leaves the building, hearing curious murmuring and whispering behind him.

To be continued!