There are two absolutes which every human being will experience: Life and Death. When we are born we are born alone. When we die we die alone. And somewhere in between if we’re lucky we’ll get the chance to fall in love. But falling in love is by no means a guarantee. I have male friends who have never fallen in love. And now that I think about it, 80% of the men in my life haven’t had the God given pleasure of declaring to their lovers that they’ve fallen in love with them.
Being in a relationship, as I explained to Artem the other day between light kisses planted on the pools of his clavicle, isn’t fifty percent him and fifty percent me equalling 100%. No, I said, being in a relationship is like being in a menage a trois. The ingredients are 100% he, 100% me, and 100% us!
The relationship must be the sum of its parts. But the parts can’t be anything less than 100%. No relationship can ever be sustained if those involved aren’t fully vested! No relationship can ever be sustained unless all parties are equally represented. You see, we’re all bruised fruit in some way or another. But what makes us stronger is when we combine ourselves with like fruit to create a beautiful medley. A relationship is like a delicious Ambrosia salad.
Or, as I said that same morning to Artem, two nuts in the same shell.
I am not a photographer nor am I a model. Neither was my former partner. But later on in life, I discovered that indeed I had an eye for taking photographs. I never understood the desire that friends had for taking photos of everything. And I certainly never thought I would ever host a dinner where I forced guests to sit through my latest thousand photos of my last trip.
Why then do we love to take photos or videos of the men that we fall in love with? I just bought a video recorder so that I could shoot video of my time with my beloved Artem. I guess what had me realize that I wanted to capture his image somewhere external was when he sent me a fresh set of photos from the last shoot he participated in.
You see my Artem is a professional model. The photos are indeed stunning and made me yearn for him even more (we’ll reconnect in a week). But I realized that the only placeholder for his beauty was my mind. Which plays tricks on me. Which distorts his image depending on how I feel about something.
So I now languidly place his countenance in my viewfinder and allow the small video recorder to step up to the task of remembering in 1080i detail every nook and cranny of Artem’s lovely form.
But the video recorder is wholly incapable of recording the most delicate image. That is Artem’s heart and soul which will never be captured by a machine. Instead, it does, indeed only live alongside my heart and soul within me. And that image is one in which I will hold privately throughout the eons of time.
Men have covered themselves with adornments for centuries. Trends come and go: Fur pelts, body paint, piercings, tattoos, loin cloths, uniforms, denim, gabardine, super 180’s, sea island cotton, face powder, handcuffs, perfume, cologne, and the list goes on and on. In many respects, we men have adorned ourselves much like our fairer sex counterparts have adorned themselves, and probably, to a greater degree, even more.
I’ve learned over the course of my lifetime that when I gave the gift of adornments to a lover, I’m giving a bauble that I think they would look hot wearing. It doesn’t matter what they like, I think that they’ll like what I placed before them. Almost as though I was making an offering to an idol.
And our lovers are our idols, aren’t they? Don’t we prostrate ourselves at their feet? Don’t we pray to them? Don’t we look into their eyes and see the Divine? Don’t we think that their body is the only thing that even begins to come close to paradise in this whole lousy world? And don’t we love them sooooo much that the experience borders on cultism?
I love my beautiful Abram with my entire heart and soul. I love him so much that I can’t imagine my life without his life. Abram and I are a letter and an envelope. We’re like a catchers mitt and a baseball. We’re just like cookies in a cookie jar.
And when I prostrate myself at his feet and raise adornments above my head I know that he will take them without pause and place them on his body. Then with his delicate fingers, he will lift my head to meet his gaze and place an impassioned kiss on my lips, thanking me for the adornment. (And he will look so hot in it)!
This morning I became an ass. Not to be confused with the ogre’s now infamous sidekick, but an actual ass. As in asshole. I did something that I now regret with the whole of my heart. This morning I made my beloved Artem cry. I made him cry because my insecurity caused a quarrel. It caused a man-fight.
A man-fight is an argument between two men that never stoops to the physical destruction of another. Our man-fights never cause any physical bruising or broken bones. They do cause a tremendous degree of collateral damage. They place a tremendous degree of angst on broken hearts and push the whole of sidelined poker chips with an “all-in” call. “Show ’em,” we’re saying, “I think you’re bluffing.”
But neither one of us is bluffing. And neither one of us is holding cards up a sleeve. Man-fights are raw, unadulterated, impassioned battles. They’re emotional powder kegs blatantly placed beneath a munition depot. They’re horrendous volleys of scarring cannonballs across the bows of our emotional ships.
And yet they never stoop to any physical harm. You see, when we have man-fights we fight because we’re in love. We’re fighting for love; on behalf of love; in honor of love.
Aren’t we, Artem.
How do you step into the unknown in order to better yourself? Why can’t you free yourself from the subjugation of bad relationships or jobs or family? What would it take to be the person you’re meant to be and to follow the path ordained by your Creator? To fall in love and be in love with others unconditionally?
You can either pull to the side of the road during a blizzard, keep the engine running, and wait until the blizzard stops. Or you can stay your course even though you’re frightened by the hypnotic dancing of snowflakes swirling about your car, yet peaceful in the knowledge that you will eventually arrive home.
Is driving in a blizzard comfortable? No. But isn’t it better to step into the invisibility of your future than to pull to the side of the road of complacency?
Blessed are those that risk their lives to step forward into the future, for they will turn back to others left behind and beckon them forward.
Leaders spend the better part of their lives alone because they have been freed from the pack and illuminate an otherwise darkened future.
Which one will you promise your self to be?
My former partner and I stopped sleeping in the same bed decades ago and eventually the same room, and finally to floors below each other. Just what turned me out like a pandering witch from the master bedroom is uncertain. As I recall, it was due to the fact that I was heavier and his night time ritual felt like those hapless supernumeraries holding on to any edge on the Titanic as the transatlantic behemoth lifted out of the water after it broke in half and plunged headlong into the icy depths.
Further, he added, that he often felt that as though he kept log rolling throughout the night and onto my Shrek-like form. When you think about it, there are worse things than falling into the doughy, green puffs of an ogre! Another reason was our sleep schedules: I went to sleep earlier and rose earlier; he went to bed later and rose later. And finally, it was simply because we kept each other awake whether it snoring, tossing or turning.
But what was it really? Was it really a distress signal like that telegraph on the bridge of the Titanic? Or did we find that the bedroom was not a place where we were compatible? Whatever the reason I’m sure it shook the foundation of our already quaking relationship.
According to the September 2017 issue of GQ Magazine, Jeff Vrabel writes, “In fact, one study says that 40 percent of adult couples have already sleep-divorced.”
Gee Jeff, which study is that? Obviously, it’s a study that panders to a particular population that is sleep-divorced. Oh, and just because 40 percent is, it also means that 60 percent isn’t!
Well, Abram and I aren’t. We drift slowly and quietly asleep like the snow that swirls around pines in the vast wilderness of British Columbia. When we toss and turn we’re like boats moored to docks. And when we snore we’re like two men that love loving the other.
I’m wholly disinterested in disengaging myself from Abram’s arms for any reason. And especially when night bathes our eyes in the twilight.
I was talking to Artem this afternoon between kisses and asked him, “when do you think we’ll understand the typography of each others’ body?”
He replied, “why, is that when you’ll tire of me?”
“Tire of you,” I asked, “tire of you?”
Why does familiarity breed contempt? Why should my feeling comfortable with touching Artem’s torso, his shoulders, his hips, or buttocks sans the need to rip open all his clothes, mark the end of one phase and the beginning of another? Of course we’re still steering our respective galleons toward physical exploration and the discovery of rapture. But anchoring off the coast of each other doesn’t mean we’re like hurricanes which lose their fury once making landfall.
What Artem hadn’t realised was that he wasn’t part of a group photograph. No, Artem was a candid, caught in my lens without knowledge; a selfless selfie; his image kidnapped and placed between four black corners on an even blacker piece of construction paper.
Artem is not and will not be in the background.
Artem will always be in my foreground.