“Just give in, don’t give up baby, open up your heart and your mind to me. Just know when that glass is empty that the world is gonna bend.”
The first forty-eight hours of the second week of holiday parties were great. Despite the massive panic attack I had Monday night where for the first time I had to call my parents, I enjoyed the quality couple’s alone time we had decided to schedule earlier in the week, as well as the rest of the holiday parties we were planning to attend till the day I left for California. And thus it begins…
It all started very routinary, we woke up, fooled around, showered, and I laid in bed as my boyfriend went to work. I dilly dallied for a bit, but started the day at around 11am. I took ‘Toto’ to the vet to get his health certificate for our upcoming California trip, went back home and continued gathering paperwork, and had another skype session with my shrink. I mentioned how I’m not sure about the medication and how my dad is still suggesting I go for a more natural solution. The funny thing is part of my whole issues I guess has to do with constantly seeking approval from my dad, and I’m doing it again by asking if he thinks I should take Prozac or not…. I bought the prescription but I haven’t started to take the pills.
After therapy, I spent about half an hour going through both ‘Nickle’ and my pictures on Facebook. Bad idea. I started to get a bit of anxiety because, being the lunatic sadomasochist I am, I started to wonder and ponder about the previous men in his life. Why? I don’t know. I also don’t know why I even bothered to do so, I’m usually very good about not using Facebook to stalk and find out things that are better kept unfound. I managed to stop before it got crazy, told myself it’s all fine because I also have a past, and decided to leave my apartment to go x-mas shopping.
I headed to Saks to get my mom her staple limited edition Flowerbomb holiday bottle, and then walked to Barnes and Noble to find books for people on my list. It is a belief of mine to give books because I find them personal and I think reading is one of the best things one can do. On my way to the store I received a phone call from my dad with some bad news which set the anxiety off almost instantly. I went from being stable to full on panic mode in about a block’s walk. Have you ever walked down a buzzy street feeling so anxious that you’re about to pass out and nothing makes sense? I have. Often. Except this time it was worse. I felt dizzy, I felt weak, I felt like I was going blind, I felt paralyzed.
I mustered up the mental strength to tell my right hand to reach into my pocket and pull out my cellphone. I dialed ‘Jose Maria’ who lives near by and asked him to join me for a drink. I was getting nauseous and, although it’s probably not the best solution to a panic attack, it’s a quick fix and I know it works. He mentioned he was cooking dinner and couldn’t come meet me plus he didn’t think I should imbibe. In retrospect I agree. I insisted and he told me he’d start getting ready and I should call him in 10 minutes if I still felt anxious.
I hung up the phone and almost instantly texted him saying I’d just go home instead. I had more errands to run. I got on the subway and headed back to Brooklyn. I picked up some groceries and started cooking dinner for my date night with ‘Nickle’. I was determined to redeem myself since the first time I cooked for him turned out to be subpar. This time, my spinach pasta with faux bolognese sauce was going to work out.
My boyfriend showed up at our door (yes, I’ve decided that’s what I’m going to start calling my place) at around 8pm just in time for me to finish cooking. Spring mix with ricotta and balsamic vinagrette followed by the fusili and chased down with red wine all whilst I stared at his piercing greyish blue eyes. Once we were done, we moved to the couch where we had more wine and some sexy time and then we passed out.
Being the unstable sleeper I am, I woke up at 1am and dragged us both to bed. Before falling back asleep, I had a bit of an anxiety attack. He held me and kissed me to try and make it better but that didn’t help. I calmed down for a nano second and then it came back stronger. This time I got up and went to the living room. I was freaking out about errands I still needed to do and just having completely irrational “worse case scenario” thoughts. I caught a grip and went back to bed. Almost as soon as I laid down it started for the last time but unbelievably strong and crippling. I got up and went to the living room to call my mother. It was that severe. I have never called my parents before for something like this but as soon as she picked up I couldn’t even speak. Eventually I started crying and she desperately tried to calm me down. She then asked to talk to ‘Nickle’ who reassured her I was fine and he’d be there with me. Per her medical advice, I drank some chamomile and lavander tea. My dad called me as soon as I hung up the phone with my mom and also talked me out of my fit. I’m not sure if it was something chemical that just needed to happen or if the tea actually helped (I’m often skeptical), but I managed to fall asleep shortly after.
Tuesday morning I woke up feeling terrible. I was exhausted. I was embarrassed. I was emotional. My unbelievably supportive boyfriend mentioned it was all fine and I had no reason to feel any of that. We took a shower and then we sucked each other’s dicks. I still had x-mas shopping to do so I told him I’d get an early start and head to the city with him when he went to work. I like when we take morning train rides together.
At Union Square he went downtown and I went uptown. The first stop was FAO Schwarts where I had a muppet version of ‘Nickle’ made to order. I called ‘Jose Maria’ to see if he was up and if he wanted to join me for breakfast as I waited for the muppet to be put together. He first hung up on me, but later called back and agreed to meet. I walked over to Lexington and 70th street to a little corner cafe where he was waiting inside with a half hung over face. I mentioned the long night I had, he continued to reassure me everything would be ok, and we enjoyed some overpriced coffee and pastries. I asked him to come with me as I tried to find a gift for ‘The Lady of Derbishire’ who was graduating later that week and had invited me to the ceremony. He didn’t want to but after a bit of convincing and mentioning how I miss hanging out he agreed.
We walked around the upper west side with absolutely no luck at all. I decided I wanted to get her a bright yellow scarf and a book about journalism (her Master’s Degree). Do you know how hard it is to get either of those too? At some point, ‘Jose Maria’ gave up and I walked around a bit more till I ended at Saks where I found the first of the damn things. I then went to Barnes and Noble and asked for the book. Deja vu. They didn’t have it. I was looking for “The Sun and the Moon” and the only copy Barnes and Noble carried in the whole city was at their Upper West Side branch. I had to go to work so I couldn’t go over there but somehow I remembered to call McNally Jackson in SoHo where I could certainly stop on my way to or from work and pick up the copy if it existed. It did and right before getting to the office I completed my gift mission.
Work was fine. ‘BoGo’ was being lazy and emailed she wouldn’t be coming in which annoyed me but at the same time I took as a blessing. I love it when it’s just me and my coworker ‘McGuire’.
At some point in the afternoon ‘Nickle’ texted to ask if I wanted to go see the x-mas tree at Rockefeller once we got out. Of course I obliged. We met up at around 6:30pm and took the train uptown for my second time that day. Yes, it was pretty magical. Pictures, kisses, and sappy romantic behavior happened. I was still a bit tender from the night before but I felt significantly better having him there.
After the tree, he decided to take me to a noodle restaurant in Midtown. We sipped on some Japanese soup, shot some sake, and I believe we went home straight after. We were spent.
Wednesday was appointment tripletsies day. ‘Fixie’, ‘Nickle’, and I all had Doctor’s appointments. We got up really early feeling a bit more hung over than usual, managed to take a shower, and took the train to the city together again. I got off at Union Square where I walked over to the Doctor’s office. The lovely man managed to forget to let me know that he had to reschedule the appointment because he was out of town on a family emergency. I walked back to the train and headed back to Brooklyn because I didn’t have anything to do.
I didn’t stay long at my apartment, I wasted time on Facebook and headed back to the city for ‘The Lady of Derbishire’s’ graduation. I told work I’d be running late for that purpose so after the commencement which, by the way, was one of the most streamlined and pleasant ones I’ve ever been to, I stuck around for the after party. Bad hors d’oeuvres, two glasses of cheap wine, and about an hour later I decided to be responsible and head to the office. When I got there, ‘BoGo’ was absent. What a surprise.
The anxiety had been present the whole morning. Work wasn’t fun and again, I kept trying to figure out excuses to leave early. At around 5:30pm I decided I had to get to the post office before it closed to mail out some catalogues. I bid my annoying boss and my lovely coworker farewell and walked up towards Union Square. The post office was a mess and I hate holiday shippers. It actually took me significantly longer than expected. Finally, after close to an hour I left to walk over to Upstate, a bar on 1st and 6th where ‘Nickle’s’ firm was having their holiday party and he had invited me to be his +1. I like that we’re doing holiday parties together.
The evening was fine. I was still having a bit of anxiety, but not as much as the previous days. I guess it’s very cyclical?
Earlier that day, my man had suggested we head to “The Church” after the party. I was a bit hesitant because I was tired and I also didn’t know how I felt about going to a bar where I used to go regularly and where I know I’d run into familiar asses. Somehow during the holiday party I decided I’d be fine. We walked over for a drink. ‘Judy’ joined. I kind of felt like he was mad at me for a second but I was drunk so I didn’t really pay much attention to it. I said hi to the regulars, and asked to go back to Brooklyn. I was spent.
We all hailed a cab and took the Williamsburg bridge home. Naturally, before going to bed we made a final pit stop at The Abbey. Neither ‘Nickle’ or I remember what exactly happened or for how long we were there for, but I assume it wasn’t anything too crazy, we were just significantly intoxicated by that point.
Thursday morning we had to wake up early again. I had my rescheduled Doctor’s appointment and ‘Nickle’ had to go upstate for work. He left before 8am. I took another nap and woke up an hour later to be out of my place by 10am. The appointment took significantly longer than expected. I waited for about an hour and a half in the reception amidst gay guys, fruit flies, and STD pamphlets. Peculiarly and completely coincidentally, my Doctor is very gay friendly.
Well past noon he gave me the needed shot, and I left his office to head to work where I was supposed to be an hour earlier for a staff meeting. Although my bosses were not mad at me, I felt a bit bad that I’ve been slacking lately. The meeting, orchestrated by ‘BoGo’, went surprisingly better than I expected. It kind of rekindled my love for my job, and gave me some sort of hope that things might get better.
The day went by rather quickly. That evening we were having my holiday work party. We started having some drinks right after we closed, ‘Nickle’ showed up about half hour after, and at around 9pm we went across the street for a very traditional Chinese family style feast. The party was fun. We played that game where you have a post it with the name of someone famous glued to your forehead and you have to guess who you are. According to ‘BoGo’, I was Andy Rooney. I’m not from this country and I’m in my 20’s, I had no idea who he was. We drank some weird Chinese liquor that tastes like what I imagine Asian spunk would, and I got inappropriately drunk which I didn’t care because so did my boss. One by one everyone started leaving and after about 2 hours, ‘Nickle’ and I went for a nightcap across the street with ‘The Lady of Derbishire’ and her beau.
I blacked out again.
As expected, we woke up on Friday to another bad case of hang overs. We put ourselves back together and headed to work. I had a really really bad case of anxiety again. Per ‘Bogo’s’ suggestion, ‘McGuire’ missed work to sleep off her illness. I believe she had the flu or something. I didn’t mind because that meant that I was by myself and if I needed to have a fit I could do so. I talked to my dad about why I’d been having worse attacks lately. I mentioned that I thought it had to do with the natural alternative he suggested I take as opposed to the Prozac because I had read online that for a small percentage of people that can happen. He told me to stop taking it and see if that helped.
My lazy boss was running late. I had a hair appointment to make at 2:15pm so at around 2:10pm I texted her to let her know that I needed to leave for a bit and would close the place for the duration of my haircut. She replied saying she was on the way and I locked and left the office. I know it’s not very professional of me. I love my job but sometimes it’s hard to care when those above you don’t.
I returned with a new do to a very annoying rest of the day. Even though she has her own office, she decided she’d seat by me for most of the afternoon. Again, I tried to device and excuse to leave early and realized the shipping stuff is usually a great one. I mentioned I had to go drop off something at FedEx before they closed at the imaginary time I decided was their business hours and so I’d be leaving before 7pm. Karma is a bitch and FedEx, just like the post office two days before, was really packed. I wasted another 40 minutes.
At around 7:30pm I finally shipped the package and headed to Solas to meet ‘Nickle’ for a drink before we went to the last of the Holiday parties (or so I thought). Two Jack and gingers later we were on our way to the west 4th train to go uptown for ‘Nickle’s’ friend ‘Spirit Animal’s’ annual holiday party. Right before getting to the station I suggested we go to ‘Fixie’s’ birthday party first because it was closer and made more sense and so we did.
Of course my dear friend decided to show up late to his own party which would’ve been fine but I could sense that ‘Nickle’ was getting a bit antsy and wanted to go to his friend’s because all of his friends were texting him and I didn’t want to give him more reasons to want to leave. However, after ‘Fixie’ showed up and we had a giant one liter beer and some German snacks, he chilled out.
As promised, we left after an hour to head uptown for the last stop of the night.
‘Spirit Animal’s’ holiday party was more fun than I’d expect. In a way, it was a bit more organized than I would assume it would be, or maybe I was just more relaxed to go with whatever was throw at me. Regardless, I had a blast. Like I’ve said before, it’s always nice to go where everybody knows your name, and it’s even nicer if not only do they know it but they also love and anticipate your arrival. That’s exactly how ‘Nickle’s’ friends, who I guess are now mine as well, made us feel. In true ‘Nickle’onian matter, we proceeded to drink lots and lots of beers and maybe a couple of shots. Later that night, we moved the furniture around and danced like complete idiots to a menagerie of Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Beyonce.
Towards the end end of the night, we got a bit sappy and talked about marriage. Not to each other but they idea of it, and if we’d ever been proposed before. Turns out we both have. It also turns out that stung quite hard. I don’t know why because like I said we both have, but I guess sometimes I’m insecure and I stupidly feel like I’m running behind. I shouldn’t compare myself but I can’t help but do it. Especially when irrational me kicks in, then it’s all gone and lost till I manage to snap back to reality.
And I did. I snapped back, danced some more, and enjoyed the rest of Friday’s holiday parties. We took a cab home and were sound asleep before 3 in the morning.
Having going to bed earlier than usual, we woke up quite energized. We had sex first thing in the morning, then we made breakfast, and then we had sex again. It was supposed to be my last day in New York before flying home for the holidays on Sunday and I really did not care if I was late or not so I just went with the flow. I think I was only about 30 minutes behind.
Work sucked but it was endurable. As I mentioned, it was my last day before a long break so I just kept telling myself: just a few more hours. We had made plans to go to Dyker Heights to see the x-mas decorations that evening, and so as soon as the time to leave was approaching I texted ‘Nickle’ to see if we were still on for that. I had a feeling we weren’t. He mentioned he was having dinner with ‘Clive’, ‘Gwen’, and her family at The Meatball Shop in Williamsburg and I said I’d meet them there. At that moment, I realized the x-mas light bike ride was not going to happen, which was fine because I was pretty exhausted, yet at the same time I don’t like when plans are broken like that. I expected the last night with my boyfriend to be extra special with just me and him for at least part of it.
I arrived at the restaurant to a very welcoming crowd. I’d never met ‘Gwen’s’ family but they greeted me with great excitement. I know I’m an awesome guy, but I do attribute a lot of this to the fact that my man is very loved and everybody’s very happy to see him very happy. We had a drink and some food and then discussed the bike ride. He mentioned going to The Abbey for a drink before Dyker Heights. I was thirsty and somewhat in the mood to compromise so I agreed. It also didn’t help that I was pretty tired and cold and kind of looking for a reason not to go.
While at The Abbey, ‘Nickle’ noticed my disappointment in potentially not going to see the lights. He suggested we finish our drink and go home to get our bikes. Again, I was cold, but I do like pushing myself at times for special occasions.
We ended up at my apartment being lazy and lovey dovey and drinking a six pack of beer. We went back and forth between going and not going but we eventually mutually decided not to. I texted ‘Fixie’ and ‘Jose Maria’ to see if they wanted to meet for a drink before I headed to California. ‘Fixie’ did with his circumsised beau, ‘Jose Maria’ gave me a bunch of excuses.
Back to The Abbey it was for a few more beers, shots, and a very blurry rest of the night. Next thing I know? I’m waking up on the couch at 7 in the morning a bit mad at ‘Nickle’ for letting me sleep there as opposed to next to him the last night I was going to spend with him in 11 days, but then again I can’t complain. I was a drunk mess and so was he.
Sunday bloody Sunday. We woke up still drunk from the night before. I didn’t want to leave that day so I casually threw out the idea of staying till the next morning. Naturally, ‘Nickle’ was all about it. I put a bit more thought into it and decided that I needed some liquid courage to pay the extra fees to change the flight. We concluded that I would go get us coffee while I walked Nigel and he’d have the whiskey and breakfast ready.
And so I did, Irish Coffee in hand we had some food and opened the rest of my presents. They were, to say the least, very very meaningful and thoughtful. ‘Nickle’, however, apologized for not being very romantic because he thought of getting me jewelry and then decided he wouldn’t. The funny thing is that I do notice a bit of a difference the gay generational gap creates between us. He’s a different kind of gay than I am and it’s moments like this that make me giggle. I told him not to be silly, romantic to me does not mean you get me a nice bracelet, I won’t wear it. Romantic is finding me a vintage catalogue of a Mexican Illustrator that we discovered on our first visit to The Met Together. Romantic is ordering me a guitar pic from my favorite band in the world Blink 182 and somehow giving it a new meaning for what was written on it. And yes, romantic is getting us matching beer bottle opener rings, it’s jewelry and it’s practical. I love my man.
Of course after the gift exchange we decided to thank each other by fooling around.
After our second cup of Irish Coffee I had mustered up enough balls to pay 260 bucks and spend a few more hours with the boyfriend. The rest of the day we decided we’d spend together drinking. Wise, wise choice.
First stop was his work where we spent a hefty two hours filling out and packing my x-mas cards. This year I found vintage x-mas romance novels at a thrift store in which I included my signature picture of me and ‘Toto’ in bookmark version, and a written personal season’s greeting on the book cover. We didn’t have time to mail them so I left them all for him to do later. We left his office and headed to the East Village for the second stop: Tattoos.
Before any judgment is passed, I just want to say that yes, we got couples tattoos, and no, it wasn’t a drunken decision. We had both thought about it long time ago, and we were completely aware of the superstitious implications of doing so. I told him that even if we were to brake up the second after, the moments I’ve spent with him is enough for me to be glad to have gotten a permanent mark and… if it really doesn’t work it it’s ok. It’s just his middle initial (he got mine) and I told him I happen to have a track record of dating guys who’s name begins with the same letter so I’m sure there’ll be more. He laughed.
We left the tattoo shop with our new brand of love and walked over to Bar 82 for yet another holiday party. I believe this one was the last one. Elaborating on our brilliant moment of eureka we’d had that morning, we continued to drink heavily. We decided we’d get wasted and go home early so we could wake up in time for him to drive me to the airport at 6 in the morning. We called both ‘Lego’, one of ‘Nickel’s’ friend, and ‘Jose Maria’ who came to join us at slightly different times.
First ‘Lego’ showed up for a couple of rounds, then we left for Solas where ‘Jose Maria’ met up. From there on it gets blurry. Talking to ‘Jose Maria’ I discovered we went to Ten Degrees for a split second. We didn’t even have a drink. Then to Lucy’s around the corner to play some drunken pool. And lastly, and this is debatable, we might’ve ended up at The Abbey because, according to ‘Jose Maria’, we coerced ‘Lego’ to come with for one last round. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if we just left him there and went home. We don’t remember but we’re pretty sure that’s what happened.
Our 2011 holiday season together ended. The next morning I was going on a trip to California and Mexico. Was I excited? Not really. I love the city and I love my man, couldn’t bare the thought of spending 11 days without… then again, what else could I do? I still feel obligated to see my parents for x-mas. This year, however, will be the last. I’ve started to build an adult life of my own and I think next year it’ll really be up to me to go back, pressure or not.
“Happy in the club with a bottle of red wine, stars in our eyes ‘cuz we’re having a good time. So happy I could die.”