Monday, August 14, 2017

13 Reasons Why/Tape 10: Cory 2

(The previous installment to this story can be found here.)

When I think about Cory these days, it’s always with bafflement and a sense of loss. I sense as if I’ve missed something; I want to throw my hands in the air, shout that I give up, and hope that someone will simply tell me the answers I seek. The main reason I chronicle my life is because doing so gives me the opportunity to tell my life’s story as I understand it. Very often the recounting is the only thing that helps me understand. Cory, I just don’t understand.

It’s taken a very long time to tell this story about my time with Cory because of this lingering uncertainty. When he was done with me, I was left debilitated and bewildered; physically I felt like I’d been trampled by all the bulls in Pamplona. Even now, I’m still trying to sift through the experience in order to figure out which parts were real, and which were his lies. Why things happened the way they did. How can I put together this puzzle when the biggest chunks are still missing?

Thinking about Cory makes me feel like a minor player in a bigger story. Like a walk-on character who lacked the grand perspective to understand what's going on around him: a Rosencrantz in someone else’s Hamlet.

And perhaps that's all I was to him.




It was sometime in the summer that I started having my doubts.

Cory liked to taking selfies of us during sex. He’d be lying on his back, legs sprawled in the air, and while I knelt between them, thrusting and pounding and sweating, he’d cooly reach over to the bedside table, grab his beat-up iPhone, and stretch a long arm to position it underneath the action. While I still fucked away, he’d review the new shots, sliding his fingertip from capture to capture, impassively deleting the bad ones before grabbing my head and pulling me down for a passionate kiss.

After we’d both shoot our loads, we’d hide under the sheets and review the photos together, looking up as he held the phone above our heads. Images of cock and hole, hard flesh and hairy ass would flash by as he’d swipe them across the little screen. “Let me text these to you,” he’d say. I have several of those selfies, still. One I don’t even remember him taking. In it, I’m sleeping in his arms, my face peaceful, even beatific. His face is in profile, his lips softly pressed against my forehead, his eyes closed as if he, too, is sleeping. Don’t we look beautiful together, he said, when he texted me. I had to agree.

Of course, that photo is a lie. Only one of us was unconscious. The other feigned slumber, while he took the shot. It’s a little detail—but it means a lot.

But none of these little disloyal thoughts crossed my mind that summer.

One morning we were cuddled in bed together, enjoying our post-coital ritual. We looked at the photos and murmured to each other about how much we’d enjoyed the sex. He showered me with compliments; I accepted them with a smile and a shy glow. I remember sighing happily, stretching out like a cat, and then snuggling next to Cory in sleepy contentment. Thinking I was napping, he continued to tap at his phone. Through heavy eyelids, I lazily watched as he switched apps to check his email.

I wasn’t snooping. I would never have gone through his email on my own. But he held the phone so that we both could see as he scrolled down his Yahoo! inbox, where I could plainly view the subject lines of all the mail he had waiting there. Craigslist reply 9045: Hotel top looking for bareback bottom, one of them said. He tapped it, unfurling into a long spiral of re: re: re: re: Craigslist reply 9045s that indicated a very long back and forth correspondence.

There were more Craigslist emails from other ads, more sexual correspondence—dozens of them in total, all within the week before, with titles that implied not that he’d been only hunting online, but that most of the guys writing him were after second or third helpings of Cory’s ass.

My brain casually assimilated and absorbed these facts before I realized, with a cold and painful shock, that none of these emails were intended for me to see. I turned my head, tried to slow my breath, and willed my heart to stop its tattoo. After a moment he must have realized that he was exposing his private correspondence. He attempted to change back to the photo app. He couldn't do it quickly, though, with only one hand.

I remember watching him clumsily try to cover up his embarrassment, then finally closing my eyes. I pretended I hadn't seen anything.

In my stunned silence, I remember thinking: Okay, there’s that.

Throughout the previous winter, spring, and most of the summer, I’d been sexually exclusive with Cory. I’d save my loads for him, merely because my doing so gave him pleasure. I was happy not constantly to have to take long trips into the city for encounters that ranged from bad to mediocre. I loved the sex we’d had. After I accidentally saw his emails, it took me long months before I started having sex with other men again—but I consider that morning the point at which I stopped thinking about Cory in terms of sexual exclusivity.

To be absolutely fair, he’d never expected me to keep my dick in my pants. Several times, in fact, he’d told me he was perfectly all right with me fucking other men. But he loved hearing that I wanted only him. He loved when I’d say I didn’t need any other receptacle for my loads than his ass. He knew quite well I wasn’t looking elsewhere—and even though he’d theoretically given me my freedom, he’d specifically told me many times over, even up to and including that week, that I was the only man he was having sex with.

In fact, so flattered was I by his many assurances that he’d been with no one else, that he needed no one else other than me, that I'd been more than willing to have him as total focus of my erotic life.
How much it stung, the discovery that I wasn’t the only object of his desire.

But I’d been stung so many times, by so many men, that I kept the complaint to myself. I hardened myself against letting it hurt. I thought the betrayal was worth living with, in exchange for his company, his compliments.

I never knew whether or not Cory was aware that I’d seen those emails. Something came up soon after, though, that pushed his secret dalliances from top of the list to least of my concerns.

Not even a week had passed, after the morning I accidentally saw Cory’s emails, when he wanted to show me some videos on his laptop. We were curled up together in bed, sticky and sweaty and weighted down with Poochy’s considerable bulk, when Cory hauled his notebook onto his lap and started searching for something. Probably a dog video. He loved clips of hounds making funny noises, or begging in a cute way, or riding skateboards or whatever it is that viral canines do.
Cory wasn’t finding the particular video quickly, though, by typing generic keywords like funny dogs into YouTube. So he decided to open up his browsing history, and find it from the list of sites he’d recently visited.

Again, I should’ve shielded my eyes—or more truthfully, he should’ve been a hell of a lot more self-conscious about exposing his browsing history while he knew we both were looking at the screen. Among the various YouTube pages he’d visited were not only a long list of Craigslist links, but a series of addresses that all began with mrsteed64.blogspot.com.

Seeing my blog in his browsing history brought me up short. The shock I felt was even greater than witnessing his Craigslist correspondences; I actually felt feverish, and as if I needed to throw up. My health had been up and down recently, anyway. While Cory played that damned dog video, I felt waves of nausea and disgust roll over me.

At last , when I couldn’t stand it any longer. I excused myself to the bathroom, where I leaned over the toilet for three or four minutes until I was sure nothing was going to come up. Then I went back to the bedroom, collected my clothing, and made an excuse to leave a little earlier than usual. Cory just lay in the bed, watching videos and laughing to himself, never realizing that anything was wrong.

Back at home, I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Never, at any point, had Cory mentioned that he’d read or known about my blog. Not once. Nor had I mentioned having one. Remember, I met Cory a mere six weeks after my enervating, grueling experience with Cheater, who’d secretly been reading my blog long before he’d tracked me down and lured me into his bed. The possibility that history was repeating itself again, so soon, was making my stomach flip.

On the other hand. . . . Once I was a little more calm, I had to admit that if Cory had been a covert blog reader, he had acted remarkably little upon what knowledges he’d gleaned. Cheater had come at me determined to push every button. He’d weaponized every word I’d written in order to get me to fuck him, and employed every bit of trivia to keep me unloading into his hole.

I never got the sense that Cory had done anything like that. Our sex had been damned good—up until that point, anyway. Even in retrospect, though, not once did it seem calculated or false.

Cory had never committed any of the misdemeanors of which other readers in this particular series were profoundly guilty. He hadn’t nagged to be written about. He hadn’t read entries about himself—and by that point there’d been a few—and then expressed displeasure. Never had he seemed to pretend to be into anything he wasn’t, in order to gain my approval; never had he given the appearance of fabricating stories to coerce me to want him. At least, not as far as I knew.

Was I even sure that Cory had been a reader of my blog all along? Perhaps he’d just stumbled upon it, and was shy about mentioning the discovery. Maybe he’d been a reader, but hadn’t made the connection between the blog and myself in real life. He could simply have resolved to remain discreet about his knowledge.

Did the discovery really change anything? I wasn’t sure. The nausea the initial shock had induced lingered for days, causing me more than once that week to jump up from my seat and run to the bathroom. Nights, I’d wake up feverish and sweating as well, only to flash back in the dark to the sight of my blog’s address on his computer’s screen. The physical aftereffects were concerning—but following the trauma I’d experienced with Cheater, they didn’t really surprise me, either. On some level, I was learning to expect betrayal. Even from Cory.

That week was one of the few in which I only saw the boy during our regular Tuesday assignation. I used my suddenly perpetually-upset stomach as an excuse for the rest of the week to keep to myself, while I mulled over what I wanted.

It would have been very easy simply to pull away from Cory after that double whammy. Maybe I even should have. Was closing myself off what the universe wanted me to do, though? After Cheater, after Mr. BipolarCocksucker, perhaps my instincts of self-preservation were kicking into overdrive too easily. If I’d retreated—if I’d told Cory I couldn’t see him any longer, if I’d invoked that clause in our agreement that would make him disappear forever—would I be throwing away something good, for little reason than fear?

That wasn’t like me, I told myself.

People disappoint each other, I reasoned. I’m well aware that in the past I have let down those closest to me, sometimes in a major way. I probably will again in the future. But did they walk away after one or two offenses? Sure, Cory had perhaps made mistakes, either in fooling around and being a secret blog reader, or else in accidentally cluing me in to both. Were those mistakes enough to stop seeing him? Or should I be giving him another chance?

By the following week, my health had recuperated slightly, and I’d come to a decision. Tuesday arrived. I drove to the house where Cory lived, parked, let myself in the side door, walked up the little servants’ staircase and into the suite where he lived. I kicked off my sandals and shucked my shorts and tee. Then, as Cory sleepily smiled at me and lifted the sheet, I crawled into the bed and pressed my naked body and hardening cock against his.

I, too, smiled.

Part of me wants to say this was the worst and most fateful decision I’ve ever made. Honestly, though . . . by then, all the damage yet to be discovered had probably had been done.

(To be continued.)



Afterword


During my hiatus, I’ve received from readers a lot of very sweet emails wishing me well. Most of them have recognized the amount of work I’ve poured into my blog and have expressed their thanks. I’m so grateful for those sentiments.

Many people who’ve written, however, have made the assumption that the reason I have decided to take a break is because of the so-called haters—that is, the men who leave nasty comments on my blog, and those who go out of their way to make sure I understand how contemptible I am to them.

I’ve had plenty of haters over the years. They wear me down, yes. But more than anyone, the men who have sucked the joy out of my writing (and to a certain extent, my life) are those who meant well. They’re men who claimed to admire me, who wanted to meet me—and many of them did—and who then, whether out of clumsiness or fear or whatever, failed to recognize they’d gone too far. A man can only withstand so many successive blows to the ego (even an ego as Jericho-sturdy as mine) before it begins to tumble.

What’s more, every single one of these men read my blog. They’re men who subscribed to my point of view, who enjoyed my writing. Or read my writing, at least. Some of them wanted to be written about. Others never intended me to know they were blog fans.

Maybe one of these men is you.

If it is you? Although there’s a small and petty part of me that wants to flip a finger in your direction, I’m not going to. I’m moving on as I write this series. A friend of mine shared with me something his grandmother used to say that I truly believe: People do the best they can. If they could do better, they would.

My advice, if you think you recognize yourself . . . or even if you don’t: do better.

All of us could stand to do better.

Monday, August 7, 2017

13 Reasons Why/Tape 9: Cory 1

How long did I put off writing about Cory? Years. He blasted into my life like a natural disaster, swept me off my feet, and tossed me around. And like an act of God, he vanished and left me for dead, trailing a lengthy wake of destruction behind him.

I wrote several entries about Cory, long ago. They’re still there. I can’t re-read them, though. The memories are still too. . . .

I’m not surely how neatly to end that sentence. Too raw? Too confusing? Too embarrassing?

Perhaps all those completions apply.

Some context. I wrote earlier in this series about Cheater, the man several years back I fucked savagely and repeatedly, only to discover, after he’d exhibited a number of stalker-like behaviors, that all along he read my blog and used what he’d learned to ingratiate himself with me.

Cory followed Cheater by a mere couple of months; he was my attempt at a rebound into a more sane sexual relationship.

You know what they say. Out of the frying pan. Into the white-hot core of the sun.

Cory and I were lovers. For the better part of an entire year, I saw Cory more or less exclusively. I invested more emotion in him. . . .

And here’s another sentence I don’t know how to finish. Saying more or less implies an equation that needs balancing—an algebra of exchange requiring justification on both sides. However, there was no equity between Cory and I, in the end.

Let me fire off a few test rounds:

I invested more emotion in him than I ever intended.

I invested more emotion in him than he ever did in me.

I almost want to say I invested more emotion in him than I should have, but even at the remove of a few years, I don’t yet have the perspective necessary to determine that one.

I wish he were that easy to write off.




For six weeks after Cheater’s stalking, I shut myself off from the world. I was afraid to open the door and find another bag of dog turds, frightened even of going to the supermarket and running into him there. Scared of my own shadow, I was for a little while. I felt betrayed, and silly, and old.

I met Cory online in that winter of my solitude, one lonely and frigid Tuesday morning. When he opened his private profile photos for me to view, I found myself both intimidated and taken aback by his beauty. His photos were grainy selfies taken with an older model of smartphone, but despite their potato quality, they still stunned me at first glance.

I was startled by Cory’s mane of impossibly sleek long hair that hung in a raven curtain to his waist, his haunted anime-size eyes, the cheekbones that could slice cheese, the strong, almost comic-book-hero chin. I gazed at the shots of his long, lean, naked, twenty-seven-year-old torso, and felt an old, familiar stirring. Not merely in my pants. Although I’d cut the wires to my sex drive a month and a half before, after Cheater, Cory’s photos got the mental engine revving again.

Eventually I summoned up the courage to ask Cory what he did for a living. He told me he was a runway and fit model for a major fashion house in the city. Previously he’d starred in multiple print campaigns for other major designers. He offered to text me some photos of his print work. The engine thrummed into a higher gear at the sight of him objectified in international jeans and men’s fashion ads for big, big names.

What decided me, though, were the selfies he took and texted as he urged me to come to his place. He was naked once more in those candid shots, his lean body stretched out on his mattress, his dark eyes drilling into the camera lens with the intensity of laser fire. He’d taken those shots for me. He wanted me. And he wanted me right now and then. On a cold Tuesday morning, his need for me warmed me more than a summer sunbath. I hesitated only a moment more before swigging some mouthwash and hopping in my car.

Another reason I agreed to visit that first morning was because Cory lived so close. The address he sent was less than a mile away, up the street I was living on at the time and around a few corners. To be honest, I had to challenge myself to go through with the meeting, rather than let myself be daunted by his youth and extreme good looks.

I’m easily cowed by beautiful men.

What terrifies me even more, though, is wealth. The address I thought was close by turned out to be in what we call the ‘back country,’ that fabled green section of this already-wealthy town where the estate lots are measured by dozens of acres instead of hundreds of square feet. The few corners were so alien, and I became helplessly lost among the unmarked roads and thick greenery. When a broad boulevard appeared before me that wasn’t on my GPS’s maps, I gave in and phoned Cory for directions. It turned out that the boulevard was really his driveway.

This endless, long thoroughfare was his fucking driveway, I thought to myself as I drove my jalopy up to the estate at the top of the hill. The notion that I would be stripping naked with someone who actually owned this sprawl made me tense and sweaty. The house, once it loomed from behind the primeval forest, was one of those nineteenth-century Gothic revival homes straight out of a Shirley Jackson novel. Expansive front porch. Widow’s walk high above the house’s center. Stone porch. Room tacked onto room tacked randomly onto room like the Winchester House.

And there, sprawled on the wide stone railing of the porch, sat Cory, seemingly unaware of my approach. He pecked away on his iPhone, barefoot on that cold winter’s day, wearing nothing more than a white tee, blue jeans, and a pair of oversized brown sunglasses. A waterfall of dark hair cascaded over his right shoulder and down his chest. There were no photographers, but he looked all the world as if he were shooting a denim company ad on a spring day.

Then, as I pulled my car to a stop, he looked up from his phone and lifted his glasses. With his eyes he smiled at me; his lips followed suit shortly thereafter. He reached out an enormous hand as I stepped out onto the drive. My hands are large. Cory’s paws made mine seem like a doll’s. I extended my own to shake. But he took it in a clasp, held it there, and didn’t let go.

Of course I assumed he owned the place. He’d told me he was a successful model. And Cory certainly acted like lord of the manor. With my hand feeling tiny in his, he led me through the front door and into a main hall stuffed with country antiques. Through another door he escorted me into a gourmet’s kitchen, then up what used to be a servant’s stair to the house’s east wing. His house had wings.

Cory had a suite at the top of the narrow little staircase, private and quiet, bathed in sunlight from the skylights set in the twenty-foot ceiling. Still holding my hand, he guided me to his bed. I don’t know whether he sensed my nervousness. Perhaps. But he lay me back, and settled the pillows behind my shoulders, and urged me to relax. Then, with one hand stroking my hair and the other tugging impatiently at my zipper, he whispered to me how beautiful he found me. How much he had always desired me.

I melted. I was hooked.

Over time I’ve come to realize that Cory collected me. He’d made up his mind, added me to his online shopping cart, and clicked the button demanding express delivery. He seduced me with a directness that, in retrospect, turned out to be astonishingly confident. That confidence, though, was tempered with a tenderness I so badly needed, though, after my stalking experience with Cheater. I’d just gotten out of a bad run with a guy who’d studied my blog and used his knowledge of me to get what he wanted. With Cory it seemed—it seemed—that perhaps this time around I might get as good as I gave.

Cory knew he had me with the sex, though. Sex between us was always incendiary. He would beg for my dick inside him, three, four, five times a session. Thrust for thrust he’d meet me, crying out at the top of his lungs, telling me how mine was the only dick he wanted. Sometimes he would lay me back on the mattress and ride me, slowly, deliberately, milking me with his ass muscles, stealing the loads I might greedily try to keep from him. He could be romantic, then nasty, on the turn of a dime. The entire time I’d keep stealing glances at his handsome face—glances only, as staring at Cory for too long could be blinding, like staring into the sun—and wondering how I’d gotten so lucky.

Every visit he’d surprise me. One day he’d step out from behind a door to greet me with a romantic kiss, his body naked and still steaming from a hot shower. Another time I’d find him spread face-down on his mattress, legs apart, designer underwear torn slightly, the words OPEN HERE scrawled with permanent marker on the fabric, ready for me to rip open and ruin. One day he’d keep my underwear and make me wear his, and then return my own on my next visit, caked with his semen.

And then he would pin me to the bed and hold me down while once more he rode me, taking his pleasure deliberately, almost cruelly, until at last he would blast an enormous load on my chest and face. He was aggressive about his needs, and I’d strive to match Cory’s hunger, fuck for fuck.

As I said, there was enormous confidence in Cory’s assumptions. He assumed from the beginning, for example, that I’d be his confidante, as well as his lover. Immediately, willingly, I became his grateful, sex-addled sidekick. I tagged along behind him whoever he wanted to go, just like his dog, Poochy. He and Poochy and I would huddle beneath the sheets in that sometimes-glacial room while he’d tell me about his life. I learned that he was a twin, one of two brothers in an enormous Mennonite family from California. I learned that as a child he’d fallen down a well, and that the manhunt for him had lasted days. I learned that he’d been an enormous billboard idol in Japan of almost rock star proportions, during a campaign for a brand of footwear.

Soon, though, the image I carried of him as the wealthy and reclusive young owner of this fashionable old back country manor eroded, to be replaced by something much more banal. Through his stories, I found out the house and property actually belonged to a couple that he worked for; she was some kind of high-powered financier, he did something in politics. They were rarely home. I never saw them.

Cory had indeed been a model for many years, but was taking a so-called break from the business. In the meantime he was earning his living by acting as caretaker of the couple’s son—a paraplegic teen with severe mental disabilities. He was a nurse, essentially, though he didn’t have a nursing degree. The couple loved him, he said, because he gave them hope. They intended to will the house to him after their deaths. This was his home forever, he told me. I'd always be welcome.

I lapped it up, utterly undismayed by any of the revelations. I was addled, I know, by Cory’s good looks.

Spencer, my dancer, had been breathtaking in his beauty. He’d not been an actual male model, though. And I mean no disloyalty—none in the least—when I say that compared to Cory, Spencer’s looks were ordinary.

Every time I basked in Cory’s presence, I’d find myself astonished by his sheer star power. I’d arrive at the house in the spring and find Cory stretched out in the sunlight by the pool, naked and waiting for me . . . and every time, all over again, a wave of helplessness and admiration would wash over me, as strong as it had the first time we’d met. Cory and I would walk through Manhattan on hot summer weekends together, hand in hand, with Poochy on a leash, and I’d notice how everyone—men and women alike—would stare at him, and murmur quietly to each other, trying to figure out if he was a Someone.

Wherever we went together, people would assume we were a couple. The envy in their eyes made me viciously happy. The first time he’d reached for my hand in public, however, I’d balked. I didn’t grow up in a time of public displays of affection between homos.

“Don’t worry. I’ll always protect you,” he told me then, and grabbed my fingers in between his, just as he had that winter morning we’d met.

I believed him.

I believed it all.

I believed when he told me how beautiful I was. I believed when he told me he’d been exclusive with me during the winter and spring. I believed, and I’d saved all my sexual energies exclusively for him. Our Tuesday mornings turned into Tuesdays and Thursdays, with evenings sometimes thrown in. Sometimes we were sneaking time for each other on weekends. Anytime I had a couple of hours to myself and Cory wasn’t working, we’d meet, and strip, and fuck, and talk.

I allowed myself to be flattered by the attentions of a younger, more beautiful man. I basked in the warm glow of his shining glory. I was proud of how he turned heads, male and female alike, when we were out together. Shamefully, I confess I relished that glorious moment when they would realize Cory was mine.

Was I in love with him?

Ah. Well.

Our sex was so intense that somehow I never noticed how I’d sped past and over that first flush of love—I wasn’t allotted an in-love stage in which I pined for Cory, yearned to see him again. Without me realizing, Cory maneuvered a beauty-addled, silly old man into a more complex manifestation of almost paternal love in which I cared for him, in which I wanted to be supportive, in which I needed to help him solve his problems and get his life in order.

We fucked hard. Cory made me feel desired. He admitted me into his orbit, and as a consequence, I felt grateful to be a minor satellite to the blazing sun of his beauty. However, a satellite is never truly one with the object of its gravity. It revolves around the greater mass while all the time, it attempts to avoid the crush of its inexorable pull.

No. I wasn't in love with the boy.

I let Cory tell me he loved me, though. He’d say the words as I was impaling him, or when he approached a climax. “Let me be in love with you,” he begged me early on. “You don’t have to feel the same. I won’t be a threat to your relationship, your home. If you ever want me to go, just say the word and I’ll disappear. I promise.”

After the trauma of Cheater, I needed to hear assurances like those. From beginning to end, we had that bargain—and never did I have to take him up on his promise.

Because in the end, Cory disappeared anyway.

(To be continued.)



Afterword

During my hiatus, I’ve received from readers a lot of very sweet emails wishing me well. Most of them have recognized the amount of work I’ve poured into my blog and have expressed their thanks. I’m so grateful for those sentiments.

Many people who’ve written, however, have made the assumption that the reason I have decided to take a break is because of the so-called haters—that is, the men who leave nasty comments on my blog, and those who go out of their way to make sure I understand how contemptible I am to them.
I’ve had plenty of haters over the years. They wear me down, yes. But more than anyone, the men who have sucked the joy out of my writing (and to a certain extent, my life) are those who meant well. They’re men who claimed to admire me, who wanted to meet me—and many of them did—and who then, whether out of clumsiness or fear or whatever, failed to recognize they’d gone too far. A man can only withstand so many successive blows to the ego (even an ego as Jericho-sturdy as mine) before it begins to tumble.

What’s more, every single one of these men read my blog. They’re men who subscribed to my point of view, who enjoyed my writing. Or read my writing, at least. Some of them wanted to be written about. Others never intended me to know they were blog fans.

Maybe one of these men is you.

If it is you? Although there’s a small and petty part of me that wants to flip a finger in your direction, I’m not going to. I’m moving on as I write this series. A friend of mine shared with me something his grandmother used to say that I truly believe: People do the best they can. If they could do better, they would.

My advice, if you think you recognize yourself . . . or even if you don’t: do better.

All of us could stand to do better.