Friday, May 11, 2012

Snowed in at Wheeler Street

I’m one of those people who swears he likes to live his life without regrets.

It’s not entirely true, of course. The entire first half of my life seems to be filled with incidents in which I said or did the wrong thing—or more likely, didn’t say or do something when I could have, only to come to realize how fleeting that opportunity was, years and years later. All the lost people from my youth of whom I’ve written—heck,everyone in my series of Earl stories, for example—lie entombed in my memory encircled with wreaths of regret.

The best that can be said of our early years, though, is that if we’re paying attention, we start to learn from our mistakes and hopefully not make them again. Right? One of the reasons I dissect my failures is so that I can figure out where I went wrong. And I like to think I’ve gotten to a point at which I do live without regrets. Sure, there are the short-term regrets. The unkind words I say, the missed opportunities, the times when I have a fit of temper and lash out at a friend. These days, though, I’m more likely to realize what’s happening. Instead of waiting to write about it with regret in another twenty years, I apologize, or make the wrong right. I’m not perfect, but I like living with the smallest footprint of guilt possible.

I was thinking earlier this week that I do regret not having more than one life to live. There have been times in my existence I’ve wished I could simply diverge and take two paths. I want to have my current life and my current relationship, while another me goes off and lives an entirely different life. I like the life I lead. Yet sometimes, I experience an immense sadness when I think to myself that as rich as it is, it didn’t go another way.

I thought about that an awful lot, a couple of weeks ago, when Spencer started popping up into my life more often.

It started casually, when he sent me that video of him singing, unaccompanied, “Wicked Little Town”. A few days later, he started sharing some of his writing with me—some poems about loss and love that I found moving. I sat down and over the course of a week knitted him (Yes. Shut up.) a hat in a style I thought he would particularly like.

The entire time I was working away on the thing, I kept thinking about Spencer, and what he’d meant to me. I thought about the enormous quantities of food he consumed whenever he came to my house, and how I had to visit Trader Joe’s three times a week to stock up. I thought about the warmth of his body against mine when we would sleep, actually sleep, together in bed at night. I thought a lot about the sounds he would make whenever I’d open his hole with my dick or my fist.

I thought about his tattoos, about his limber legs that could grip the underside of the headboard’s top bar with prehensile strength, like a monkey’s. I thought about the little gifts he’d give me, and about the gifts I’d plan for him. I thought about the books we encouraged each other to read, and I thought about his soft lips against mine. His smell. The touch of his hand and the sounds of his voice.

And a lot of the time I thought about the perfect weekend we spent together, one blustery January when we had blizzard conditions forecast and knew we’d spent at least a couple of days holed up in our homes. He decided to spend that entire weekend with me, and we cuddled beneath a blanket on the couch in the den the entire time, talking and fucking and watching television, and only leaving the safety of the couch so I could make meals for him, or when we’d scamper upstairs and crawl between the frigid sheets together, giggling like little boys. For three days we were able to bask in each other’s company, uninterrupted, without guilt, without regret.

It really was, in my memory, perfect.

I’d finished the hat and had taken it to the post office week before last, and literally was walking back into the house from the trip when I got an email from him that read, Whenever I listen to Kate Bush’s “Snowed in at Wheeler Street,” I think of us. I love you and miss you very much.

The timing of it bowled me over. I hadn’t told him I was making him anything, much less that I’d been thinking about that snowstorm, or that I’d been on my way back from mailing his gift. We were just unusually in sync that day.

Snowed in at Wheeler Street” is a duet between Bush and Elton John from her latest (and excellent) album, 50 Words for Snow. It’s a story about reincarnation, essentially—about two lovers reincarnated again and again throughout the centuries, whose lives and paths cross in each, but only for a fleeting moment. Their time together is never the present, but always in the future, in a life of which their current selves will have no awareness. Until, that is, the pair finally are snowed in during a storm, and realize how many times they’ve been close each other before, and how badly they don’t want to lose each other again.

I was surrounded by people when the email came in. I had to excuse myself, take a walk, find somewhere private, and mourn for a very long and wet time.

I loved Spencer so very much. Much as I try not to think about it, I still do. When we were together, I knew that it was only for a time, and that our relationship came with an expiration date. I made my peace with that. The life I chose was the right choice for me. But oh, I think about him and wish, just wish, that there could be another me out there, giggling with Spencer and sharing his life with him, and diving naked beneath the covers to make love to him while he’s still steaming from the shower. I don’t regret falling so headlong for the boy. I don’t regret the choice I made, in moving away from him. I only regret not having the luxury to afford all the options.

But it’s nice to know he misses me too.

He’s been sending me photos of himself in the hat, which he loves. But I keep hoping that maybe one day, during a snowstorm, he’ll pull it over his head and imagine it’s me keeping him warm, like I used to. And I hope he knows how very difficult it was for me to lose him.

Until the next life, anyway.

30 comments:

  1. Is it very girlie of me saying that's so very sweet? I think we all wish we had other options, parallel options, and that we're all haunted by that horrible "what if" question.
    And as much of a bittersweet post as this is, I like it. Shows another angle of You ;)

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    1. If it's girlie, then what's it say about the guy who wrote it?!

      Thank you, Thommie. :-)

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  2. Wow, this extraordinary entry makes me want to write a reply just as long, if not longer, but I think three words will do; Best. One. Ever.

    Thanks for sharing, Rob.

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    1. Thank you John. But you know. I'd still read that long reply.

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  3. Over and over again you demonstrate the qualities of your being that made me start calling you "Sweet Man" a year or so ago. You're such a lover and a wonderful person. And as much as I love reading about you having hot sex, I do love hearing you be sweet. I know I've said this to you before, but it bears repeating: don't loose that part of you, ever.

    And trust me, Spencer knows how hard it was for you. You don't fall for someone like that without them knowing how hard it was. For what it is worth, someday, years from now, you two may run into each other. And maybe even be able to relive for a moment that joy. We can't regret giving ourselves to the people we love, no matter the pain. Because the pain is part of how we know the love was real.

    -Ace

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    1. I've now listened to the song and re-read the post. In the context of you and Spencer (and your touching words) I think it's both heartbreaking and (somehow) heartwarming. Your relationship with Spencer had an expiration date (as you said) because your time was finite. Feelings don't have an expiration date. Love doesn't.

      The most striking visual in this entry—and the one that could push me from misty to fully wet—is the image of you...finishing the hat.

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    2. It's not a pointillist hat, Mr. Throb.

      And you're right. Emotions don't have an expiration date. That's wha tmakes it so poignant and painful to me.

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  5. There are no words that can adequately describe how this post touched me. Oh and I know of several extremely sexy men who knit. They have good company in you.

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    1. Thank you on both counts, Tiggybubba. (And they probably knit better than I.)

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  6. Rob,
    What a beautiful post. You are a complex and beautiful soul. While I mourn your loss of Spencer, I rejoice with you in the time you had together. I believe you and Spencer have a connection that will continue for the rest of your lives. I hope that you will meet again in another life and have the relationship that you wish for in this life. Beautiful post, beautiful man, beautiful relationsip, thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, PBB. That comment really touched me.

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  7. I've often thought back at a special time with someone and I wish I could hop in my time machine and go back to relive a certain time and maybe even make it better.

    I think we all do that, and in today's crazy world we may find ourselves wishing to go back in time even more.

    And yes I'm still waiting to become a billionaire to I can lead my next life :-)

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    1. When you get that time machine, share?

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  8. I'm looking forward to future posts, when you will in fact live together with Spencer–life can be such a long journey–uninterrupted, without guilt, without regret.

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    1. That'd be in another timeline, Countess. But it'd be a good story indeed.

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  9. You gave me a lump in my throat, Rob. I have a life that most people would envy, and I love my wife dearly, but every now and then a part of me wishes I could try the same thing all over with different choices.

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    1. I aim for lumps in all kinds of places, Kevin. Thank you.

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  10. Oh--this made me sad for you--tears spilled. The extreme joy of life and sorrow seem to go hand in hand sometimes. I also wish I could have another path to live my life.

    Thanks for writing your blog.

    Steph

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    1. Thank you, Steph. Your comment touched me.

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  11. Isn't it often the thing we had to leave behind, becomes one of those things that we hold most dear. This reminds me of my time with Alberto, and what a perfect time it was, and how it was destined to end because perfect does not last forever, except in your heart.

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  12. You're such a beautiful writer. Thank you. If you haven't already, you should definitely check out Conner Habib's blog. There's one entry in particular that talks about a past boyfriend. I was moved to tears. This entry of yours is just as compelling. Recently, I've been dealing with a lot of love issues and emotionality in general. It's beautifully heart-wrenching to read your tale. Thank you so much for bearing all and sharing. All the best, my friend. All the best.

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    1. Thank you, Bator. I really, really appreciate your sweet remarks.

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  13. Rob,

    You amaze me in so many ways. Your writing is so touching and allows me and your other readers to feel that we are right there with you. Even though we have not met face to face but through your post and our sparse dialog I feel like I know you as a close friend.

    Thank you for being you....a thoughtful, sensitive, confident, and sexual man.

    VRPB

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    1. Thank you, piggy. I am grateful to know you.

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  14. Wow. Is all that comes to mind. Beautifully written, i've just lately discovered your blog, and none have ever moved me enough to write a reply. But this one has, if not for the sadness and longing it holds, but also for the striking parallel between my own regrets.
    I also chose my love for my wife and family, over my love for a man who, to this day still holds a piece of my heart. It's not that I regret staying with my family, but rather, I regret the hurt and pain I caused him by doing so. I also have moments in which I wish for another existence in where we are together, yet somehow keeping this one intact. Thank you for this sir.

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