For the longest time Joey was the elusive ideal. Joey was sthe one ex that all potential suitors were measured against. In attempting to write down our first encounter I came to the realization that there was nothing epic, template worthy, about the encounter. There was nothing grandiose or particularly outstanding about the relationship’s arc. In fact, the mental glorification of that relationship and its beginning is rather obsessive.
I met Joey just as I was turning 20 years old. It had been New Year’s Eve, at club Tilt, during the celebratory drag show. I felt the back of my ear get flicked. I turned around, “Hi.”
Joey explained he was following an impulse and immediately knew the type of person I was dealing with.
“Alright.” And turned back around.
Joey got my attention again by asking if wanted to roll.
“Okay,” I answered.
While we dated, I believed I was not complex enough for him because all that he was appeared brave and loud. Two things that I was not. I was scared the whole time that he’d find out that beneath the image I had designed wasn’t someone worthy. I feared his rejection, and so created chaos to deflect from being a cypher. I covered up my exuberance, believing that a demeanor of cold detachment decision making would be impressive, because in my fantasy of you I saw strong and decisive; weighed down by another’s gushing emotion; a man that saw devotion as a flaw. Instead I became frigid and distracted with constant repair on my ice-walls. I never learned to thaw for those I care about.
We broke up in 2011 on a Sunday in mid-January. Thank you for being polite until after my birthday, but that didn’t make it hurt any less. We hadn’t seen one another the previous night – I had worked late, so was all puppy-dog tails to see him. When I arrived, I was greeted by a friend of his unceremoniously handing me my things. I was numb; I needed to understand, so putting my belongings down took out my phone. Joey’s response was a generic text stating the official dissolution.
I should have predicted the break-up because of the distance for three-and-a-quarter-months. I persisted by being better at playing house as a new year’s resolution, but it was all too little, too late, and now suspiciously out of character. His apprehensive glances telegraphed the to end our relationship.
Years later, when I looked backed on the relationship I know I wasn’t particularly happy. When I recall the relationship with Joey, what comes to mind is his habit of telling him something, then he vehemently disagrees. These weren’t ideological differences, or rooted in arcane knowledge. Rather, disagreements came over individual rights and basic operations of politics and humanism. We’d part in the morning for our separate work, and then return to each other that evening with Joey’s mind changed. This change of mind arose because he had talked to his co-workers, who told him that he was in the wrong; that I was correct. That was the routine of our relationship: Joey respected only his friends and their opinions, and not mine. The chaos that I had sewn had seeped into every aspect of our relationship, leaving Joey unable to have faith that I’d be saying the truth, or respect my stance as having validity.