The Artist — The Apology

Yesterday I decided to apologize for my brash behavior. There's really no reason for yelling or arguing—we've known each other for a total of 8 days. I can think clearly since I now know I shouldn't have expected anything from him.

I send an email instead of a text. An email is still informal but I believe it's more serious than a text apology. I also like my gmail avatar picture. 

"I'm getting you on the horn right now to apologize for my wild behavior the other night. I shouldn't have been so mean to you in front of your friends.. It's pretty embarrassing and I feel badly for my antics. I mean, we barely know each other so I shouldn't have yelled at you. So, with that, I hope if we run into each other things can be light and fun."

A mutual friend of ours told me to keep it simple so I did. A big part of me didn't want to apologize because I still disagree with his wanting to "flirt without consequence" and I still really don't understand what that means among other things.. But I'm trying to change. And there are still things that I can apologize for.

I don't know how often he checks his email. I'm constantly checking mine. In that way I'm sure we are different. He hasn't written back. It's been 14 hours. Maybe he ever will. I have to accept it. I hate doing that.

The Artist — Part 3 continued, The Other Morning

I wake up. His body entangled into mine. My head is exploding with pain. I can still taste the whiskey. I remember the yelling and the crying from the night before.. But barely. I find my phone.. Screen shattered into microscopic pieces. It's 8 am–I go back to sleep.

He moved to get a sip of water. We embrace. But the mood is different. The morning light not shining quite like it did our first morning together. I can feel something is different. A lot of things happened the night before. He's probably over whelmed. Annoyed even. If he wasn't scared of me then he definitely thinks I'm crazy. We sleep.

Our phones both ringing in the background makes us shift. He starts to hold me tighter. Hands roaming. Exploring bodies that now feel familiar. He starts to kiss my neck. I press my body against his and I reach for him. These are my favorite types of mornings.

We kiss. We touch. I go down on him. I'm enjoying this. I'm prolonging it. I want him to be more forceful but he his gentle. Either he's not comfortable yet or it's just his nature. I want him to feel good. He touches my breast softly. He finishes and I climb up to his body to rest my head in the nook under his chin. I kiss his neck. He reaches down to the split of my legs and finds me. Unlike our first night together I let him touch me this time. With slow quiet moans–I express wanting to fuck him. He tells me he doesn't want to right now. He kisses my neck. I don't know how to feel. I fake finishing. We sleep.

It's noon now and I'm staring at his walls. They don't look as magical as they did a couple days ago. His room doesn't feel as welcoming. I feel like an intruder. He wakes up and asks if I want coffee. I can here him in the kitchen grinding the coffee beans.. He doesn't ask how I like my coffee–he brings it to me black. I ask for milk and he assumes I want sugar as well. He comes back in and we chat a bit. I can tell he wants to go outside to smoke so I tell him I won't think it's rude if he wants to go outside. I take that moment to gather my things and get dressed. I wash my face in the bathroom and try to make myself look decent. I look surprisingly refreshing.

He comes back in. We chat. He asks what my plans are for the day. To me this is saying.. When are are you leaving. We chat. We talk about families. We laugh a bit. Make little jokes. He's not trying to keep me here like last time. I'm texting a friend frantically to meet me at the Philz around the corner so I can leave and not wander around aimlessly. We go to the front porch. Somehow my boyfriend comes up again. I get up, we hug, and I leave. My ego wounded.

How was this so different? Did I fuck up? But I'm not the only who did. My feelings are crushed. I felt so differently about this person a week ago. I realize that if I'm going to be single and break up with my boyfriend this is what I'm going to have to deal with. I'd forgotten about the game. But I also thought he wasn't a participater of the game. His whole "thing" was about being genuine and honest and sincere. But he, in fact, is the same. I forgot that guys will be guys and people don't just meet amazingly interesting people by coincidence. I feel like Tom from 500 Days of Summer. I feel crushed.

The Artist — Part 3, The Bar

On Friday I go to the outer mission with my friend Paul. A gay San Francisco resident who I've grown close to. He's a mix of Janet Jackson and Blanch from The Golden Girls. We arrive in our Uber and the first person I see is the Artist.. Outside smoking his usual hand rolled cigarette talking to a girl. 

 I am not someone who will walk up to a guy to announce my arrival. And since he didn't notice me walking up to the bar my initial reaction is to be annoyed. And that is what set the tone of my mood for the rest of the night.

Paul and I go inside. We meet our friend T and her boyfriend who's also doing a DJ set. We drink, catch up and have our usual bitchy banter and laughs. The artist finally realizes I've arrived. We greet each other awkwardly because I'm already sitting down. Am I supposed to get up and hug him? He can come up to me. I can feel all the eyes of our company watching us interact. He tells me I look nice. He's so cute. Even though he's in his thirties he has this boyish charm about him. His smile is honest and real. He talks to someone else.

As the night goes on he barely pays any attention to me. I mean, I get it, all your friends are here to support you you have to talk to everyone. But I didn't come all the way out to the outer mission to some bar I never frequent to be ignored. I drink more, I get more annoyed and more sassy. He goes outside to smoke and I join him for air. This is the first time we chat privately of the night. He asks me how I am we have small talk. However, it feels forced and he looks nervous and intimidated. I can't tell if this is his way of showing he's nervous or if he feels scared. The first night we ever met I told him I thought he was scared of me. I can be intense and very straight forward when I want to be. He tells me no. I tell him I feel like he hasn't paid any attention to me. We also talk about how he doesn't like to text because he values actual communication. I can feel my eyes start to squint at him. He then says, "I mean, I'd like to flirt with out consequence." 


What the fuck does that mean I thought to myself. Flirt without consequence. Why flirt then? If he's using it in the normal context like I consider flirting. And does he mean flirting with me or does he mean he wants to flirt with everyone? Does flirting mean flirting to him or does it mean friendly chatting with friends. I feel like since he's an "artist" our lingo doesn't match one another and we're often lost in translation. He then tells me he wants things to be casual. I can feel the rejection coming on to me.. All I can hear is that he wants to flirt and mess around with me but he also wants to talk to other girls too.. 

So then I blurt it out before thinking.. "I AM keeping it casual I have a boyfriend."

I don't think I'll forget the way his face looked when I said that. The rest of the night at the bar is a blurry black memory with flashes of images and moments of arguing, laughing, yelling, and trying to get each others attention. It's last call and he asks if I'm going home with him with his cheeky smile. I agree. I don't know why he wants me to come over, everyone watched me be so mean to him. Yell at him. I don't know why I agreed.

We get to his place. We make out. He tells me I'm biting him too hard. I pull away irritated. We argue. I think we argued on the walk back. We lay in bed and argue more and talk about me having a boyfriend. He brings it up. I pore my feelings out about being stuck in a relationship with someone that I don't feel like I'm ready for. I get emotional. I explain to him that normally I wouldn't have told him about my boyfriend but I wanted to be honest with him because of this strange connection that I feel. I tell him he's one of the most interesting people I've met in a long time. I tell him how refreshing he is because everyone else is absolutely boring and he's not boring. I tell him that other men have wanted to spend time with me while my boyfriend has been away and how I've always declined and never thought about it because before him I'd never wanted to get to know someone more. I was a good girlfriend. He wraps his body around mine, brushing my hair out of my face and we fall asleep. 

The Artist — Part 2, The Morning

Our first morning was a Monday morning. Still intertwined in a warm skin to skin embrace. Feet slowly getting to know one another. I felt happy and comfortable. We lay for a couple more hours. I thought to myself about how movie perfect our first kisses were. I don't know if someone's ever looked at me that way. So intense but gentle. Had I met the one last romantic person on earth? I keep telling him, and myself, that I needed to leave. I tried to sit up as he repeatedly pulled me back down closer to him. We cuddle longer. In and out of sleep. Touching. We replay last night. His kisses are perfect. We chat and laugh. I think of all our conversations and stolen glances from the night before.

My phone won't stop ringing. Our friends from last night texting me. My boyfriend calling me. I don't want to answer. I just want to stay there and lay with him.

I finally get up and start getting dressed. I can't find my phone so he calls it for me. I guess this is how we exchange numbers. My hair is an absolute mess. I do not look graceful. I tell him I'm a very private person. I don't know why I told him that and I'm really not. I think it was me being unsure if I was actually going to tell anyone I kissed another man or just bite it and not tell a soul. I leave and call my boyfriend as soon as I get out. I lie and say I couldn't answer because I was rushing to work. I don't feel bad but I realize I miss him and decide never to see the artist again.

I tell two trusted friends. I think my doubts of my relationship are remedied by this experience. But I think of him all day. I get a text. It's sweet, simple, and not at all cheesy. He texts like he's emailing. Whole thoughts rather than short responses. He's new to the iPhone world. All of it just adds to my thinking of how interesting and mesmerizing this person is.

I start to obsess.

Why isn't he texting me more? Do guys in their thirties not text as much as a girl in her twenties? Am I just being crazy? Yes, I am being crazy. I am in fact, crazy. Maybe it's because he's an artist. Maybe it's because he puts value on actual communication. Wait, why doesn't he like emojis? Why did I have to be so drunk that I can't remember all of our conversations? He hasn't texted me. He hates me. Omg he texted. YES!!! Why does he only text every two hours? He hasn't texted me since 8:39 pm yesterday. He told me about this DJ thing he doing on the weekend though. Is that an invite? It doesn't seem like an invite. I'll start planning my outfit.

I think of him for the next couple of days. I replay our first night and morning. How do I not feel bad about cheating on my boyfriend but I feel bad that the artist may or may not know I have a boyfriend. Normally, if this situation was a normalcy to my life, I feel as if I wouldn't care if someone who shouldn't be important to me knows that I have a boyfriend or not. But I did care. Because I felt this strange pull towards this other man.

The Artist — Part 1

The moment when you realize his room isn't the happy and romantic magical place where he stole a kiss from you.

This morning I woke up in his room. Slightly hung over. The taste of whiskey still in my mouth. His body wrapped into mine. My memories of the previous night muddled. Why did this morning feel so different from our first night spent together 6 days prior?

We met a week ago by chance. A mutual friend. Drinks, bars, dancing and a connection with a stranger I haven't felt in a long time. He's 7 years older than me. A man you could say. Blonde curly lochs, Caucasian, blue eyes.. I think, and a very thin figure. We danced till last call at The Knockout. I drunkly flirted. I don't understand why I felt so strongly connected with this person. Like something was drawing me to him. Our chemistry on the dance floor was fluid like.. Which is surprising since I had so much to drink and was wearing heels.

And after last call I ran off, got in an Uber.. No numbers were exchanged.

For two days I thought about him. I have a boyfriend. I'm losing the connection with him though. We've been doing long distance for a year.

Our mutual friend invites me to her boyfriends house where the artist is. She tells me he's asking if I'm going to come. I become nervous as I approach the front door. After arriving I make no eye contact with him and follow my friend around like a puppy. I get nervous and awkward when I know someone is expecting me. Her boyfriend makes me a margarita and my nerves start to calm. I say something that offends him because he doesn't understand my humor. It's understandable since we barely know each other. In many ways we're still complete strangers. I do my best at what I think to be a suitable apology, meaning I ask him if he thinks I was being rude and that I didn't mean to be. I'm awful at apologizing and I never do. We make up.

The artist asks me to step outside with him to catch some fresh air while he smokes. We chat. I notice that it's easy for me to make fierce eye contact with him while in his company. He rolls his own cigarettes. Tobacco only. I hate smokers. But the smell of tobacco becomes comforting. He doesn't smell like a "smoker".

We go out. To the same place we first danced. He likes to say boogie. I think it's strange at first but now I think it's charming. We dance with our friends to 70s music. It's incredible. Our friends leave. We dance. I miss my last train. He asks me to stay the night. I decline but agree to go to his home where I will call an uber to get to my car in Oakland.

We walk. He's smoking another one of his rolled cigarettes and asks me if I want to hold hands. I decline but then agree. It feels comfortable. His personality is light and happy. He likes to talk.. A lot. A Chatty Cathy you could say. But I just want to listen to all of it. We banter and flirt on the 10 minute walk to his apartment. A familiar walk for me. He lives a block away from my first San Francisco apartment.

We walk up the stairs. His home feels like a creative space. His room is curated perfectly. He shows me some of his art. I'm starving and he only has pistachios. We talk about the first night we met. I admit I was very drunk and may or may not remember most of our moments together. We talk for what seemed like hours.

However, I enjoyed this. Everything he had to say was interesting and captivating. Even if I didn't agree with his opinions I was still fascinated. He doesn't do social media–we talked about that. He does art–we talked about that. He thinks people are no longer sincere or genuine–I agree and we talked about that. I have a boyfriend–we didn't talk about that. We talked about endless things. Going inside and out so he can smoke his tobacco.

We go back inside and I sit in his desk chair where I'd been sitting the entire time while he sat in his bed. I surprise him by that for some reason. He asks me to stand back up. I do. He stands in front of me and we smooch.

Softly and sweetly.. For awhile. He keeps making eye contact with me. I feel comfortable and safe and happy. I wrap my arms around him. We kiss a bit harder. There's biting. We move to the bed. Still kissing sweetly. Not the intoxicated kissing that usually ensues between two people. He looks into my eyes. Examines my body slowly. We become physical. I'm thinking of nothing else. I'm totally present. This is rare for me these days. Being present. I feel no guilt.

I tell him I need to leave. He asks me to stay. I say no–That I can't. I need to leave. He keeps asking me to stay. "It feels nicer to sleep next to someone," he says. I stay. We get undressed and I get under the sheets and covers. I choose to sleep next to the wall. I tell him I'm not having sex with him. We make out. We touch. I go down on him. We hold each other. His skin is smooth. He holds me all night. All night. All night. I move.. He moves. Our bodies entwined, tangled, warm.