Monday, December 19, 2005

Flashback, Part 4: The Not-So-Jolly Green Giant

Flashback, A Short Story in Six Parts

[Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3]

Part 4: The Not-So-Jolly Green Giant

He did not stomp off of the dance floor (this was a deliberate effort of his part), but he did eventually take his leave, without advising Nick. Still trying (and failing) to assuage himself with platitudes like "That's just the breaks" and "You won't click with everyone you meet," he quickly realized they weren't helping in the least. He was getting upset. He needed to be alone.

He walked around the enormous building, not really caring whether Nick noticed his absence or not. But a small part of him must have cared, because he studiously avoided returning to the private back room. He knew that, if Nick wanted to find him, the wristband-access only private back room would be the first place he would check. In fact, his friends, with whom Nick had clicked so well, were likely to still be there. So he went instead to the outdoors back patio to get some air.

He remained there, in a relatively obscure area of the club (on a bridge leading to an upstairs patio area overlooking the more spacious outdoor dance area), for about an hour. In future re-tellings of this story, he likes to say that he was people-watching, but he knows that in reality, he wasn't. The large mass of people dancing below him shifted constantly; he noticed none of their faces or even their half-naked bodies. People constantly walked past him or behind him; they were meaningless to him, even when they physically bumped into him. He contemplated life.

The rejection had opened wounds for him. His contemplation only made it clear that Nick wasn't just shy, he just wasn't interested in dating him at all. Somehow, this relevation took on a life of its own; it extended beyond Nick; it took on global ramifications. It resurrected self-doubt and self-esteem issues which probably were never wholly buried to begin with. Suddenly, and once again, he ran head-first into the inescapable brick-wall conclusion that he was simply undateable, and that no gay man would ever be interested in him. Ever. He hit his stride at his own personal When Harry Met Sally moment: It's not that wasn't interested in dating. He wasn't interested in dating me.

As the weight of all his personal failings bore down on his shoulders, all as the result of one stupid dance floor incident, it was all he could do to keep from crying. In future years, he'll come to realize that songs about how great the dance floor is (I know a place where you can get away / It's called the Dance Floor / And here's what it's for) ring hollow for him, because the dance floor can apparently be a cold, heartless place.

(Gay men can be such drama queens.)

People will later express confusion about his reaction; after all, they were never really "dating," so how can he lay claim to being that upset? The short answer was he didn't really know. But he will come to tell people – more as a rationalization than anything – that, it was less a matter of Nick "cheating" from the confines of an amorphous-at-best relationship than it was about how exceedingly rude and disrespectful it was for Nick to dance pelvis-to-pelvis with someone right in front of him, the guy who had brought him to the club and who had not-so-subtle designs on him. That, he would explain, was enough to justify a reaction. Not a betrayal, just excessive rudeness. Yeah, that's it.

When he finally returned to the private room, he planned only to say goodbye to his friends. Sure enough, Nick had looked for him there; his friends all told him how Nick was looking all over for him.

"Uh, he told us what happened," they added, unprompted.

He had hoped to avoid having to explain anything. He had wanted to just bid his friends good night and walk out the door, leaving the drama behind. The entire episode would vanish into the background, and after a while, no one would ask why he no longer brought Nick to any events. He slumped into a couch, fending off the self-destructive emotions which are already wreaking havoc on his insides. "That really sucks," Amy chipped in.

He fought off the urge to bite their heads off inappropriately by venting all his anger and frustration at them. Instead, he just shrugged. "Whatever." Even though he was dying to know just how Nick characterized what happened out there on that dance floor, and to express how much it hurt, and how fucking PISSED OFF he was, he held it in. "Look, I'm gonna go," he said, as he got up to leave.

"You have to talk to him!" Lana implored. "He's been looking everywhere for you."

She meant well, he's sure, but he certainly was not going to put himself through that. Although he wanted to spit some sarcastic remark at her – involving Nick, SORG, and some cute turn involving the phrase "where the sun don't shine," perhaps – every rational fiber in his being cried out against it. He bit his tongue, and simply repeated a polite "good night."

As he turned to leave the room, of course, his "luck" caught up with him.

Nick appeared.

[Part 5]

** Per Anne's wise suggestion, I will be posting the last two parts of this short story in rapid succession over the next two days.


anne said...

The end of this had better be posted before everybody's away for Christmas...

DC Food Blog said...

This is so real it's painful.

Dop said...

I dont usually follow things like this but I am admittedly hooked.

sirbarrett said...

Poor Pete. Straight guys can be drama queens too. It's hard not to be a psycho when you have a crush on someone. I laughed at the part where you highlighted that He's Not that Into You hadn't come out, as if that's the only way for people to get it. Oh well, there can only be some more self-discovery from here on, as long as he doesn't build himself a loser complex.