He was in his early thirties. I was nineteen.
Four months worth of Tinder conversations and a cup of coffee later, our relationship began like the gay version of a Woody Allen movie from the 1980’s; except it was set in DC and not Manhattan.
We had whatever that neurotic son of a bitch [Allen] could've wanted; two charmingly complex metropolitan characters, in dismissal of their age difference and cultural upbringings; aroused by an impromptu visit to the National Portrait Gallery, where their intellectual connection would click. Right between all of the neon, the erotic and the abstract.
That same evening, we ended up having dinner as well. As I slid slippery oysters down my throat for the very first time, he smiled at me and said he loved my disposition. What an odd thing to hear, I thought days later. Whose disposition was he comparing mine with?
In the moment, however, his remark felt genuine, heartfelt and specially rewarding, considering the unforeseen reality of me chugging two slimy, aphrodisiac sea creatures. His fascination resonated in my being for days to come.
After paying for the overpriced bill, he asked to take some photographs with his phone to remember me, idly I figured. And in typical commuter fashion, I walked him towards Union Station. I felt appreciated, understanding he'd do anything to buy us more time that night, lock our eyes on each other timelessly, take another peek into my youthful soul.
But having ignored two trains already, and about to miss the last one, he bid me adieu; pressing his lips gently against mine in the forsaken train-track’s platform first. Accompanied by our shadows only; we were slowly but profoundly consumed by the blissful silence that a long-awaited kiss carries within. We were in sync.
At the moment, being a defying teenager who could daydream about strangers and earthly pleasures, I still thought of his mother's reaction for every type of "what if" scenarios, I had my doubts it could work out. But I'd lie if I didn't say it was the first time in years I had felt something so cosmical; so infinite. It felt like true love reborn at the time,
As his train arrived, so did his remorse. For me, for his lover. For his two dogs and his home 90 miles away. He was partnered, he confessed. And I was naive. Although it hurt at the time, he clearly desired me but everything from his age, his cultural chains, and all of his commitments and responsibilities were too big to abandon; my emotional intelligence respected this.
Not that any of this mattered, of course. The departing train finale would've been too simple. We instead chose to listen to our feelings (perhaps our dicks too) and raise the stakes higher with every encounter. I was enamored with the idea of him, and he was enamored rediscovering his freedom to love and be worthy.
Many secrets were shared amongst hotel bedsheets, museums pamphlets, and even his home far from the metropolis. I learned about his partner, a once sweet man who decided to neglect his reality in order to fit in, cementing many more insecurities in the process. A man who undoubtedly loved him, just not in the right way. And I did - just a tad too late in his life and perhaps too early on mine.
I also learned about life and relationships in general. With every small heartbreak that accompanied falling for him, I would slowly unearth the complexity of adult relationships and what they entailed. How love itself can either make us prisoners to the wrong person, or allow us to trust our hearts only once all basic demands have been met.
We continued our forbidden romantic story until its unavoidable dramatic end. His partner finding our texts; destroying his phone, threatening to damage his public image, and commanding him to severe ties with me. \Although I only had the right to comply and disappear into oblivion, I promised I would never turn any future lover into a bird in a cage.
A faithful ode to Woody Allen's aged movies.