As I said in my previous post, I got to see Danny in a play back in December, and he was able to come see the one I had written. I sent him the information and told him to pick a date. With his schedule, he could only attend on one night. The issue with this performance? I was already aware that Katie, my ex, was attending that night. Not only was it still somewhat awkward for me to be around her, I couldn't even imagine bringing the boy I'd been hooking up with. I freaked.
I let Danny know he could take the tickets and take someone else. I explained to him that my ex - who worked on the show with me - would be there, and it would be too much for me. He was sad, and so was I. Of course we wanted to go together! But I couldn't handle the idea of being in the same room as Katie and Danny at the same time. The anxiety it caused flattened me.
As the days passed, I got sadder and sadder that I wouldn't see the show with Danny. This was the first time he'd ever see any of my work, and I wasn't going to be there. I checked in, and he still hadn't found a back up date. I took a deep breath, and told him I'd like to go together. But how was I going to explain his existence to Katie?
I stirred over it, until she shot me a text letting me know she'd be bringing two friends that night. One was Emma, who we both went to college wit and I absolutely love, and the other was Tina, Emma's good friend who I had met a few times. This was good news! The bigger the group, the less random Danny's presence would seem. I texted her back, saying I was bringing a new friend who I had met in the neighborhood (not a lie). She was excited to meet him. This would be fine.
The day of the performance arrived, and I was filled with terror. Seeing Katie, introducing Danny to anyone, being in public with Danny around some of my good friends, wondering how Danny was going to like my play - my brain was spinning at a million miles per hour. But this would be fine.
Katie texted me that Tina couldn't come anymore. Instead, Emma was bringing her friend Nick. "It's going to be so awkward," Katie said, "He doesn't go to theatre and he's not super into the LGBT scene." (To be clear, my play had an overt gay plotline.) But this was even better! Katie was preoccupied by how awkward Nick would be at the show, making Danny's existence a smaller detail of her evening. THIS WOULD BE FINE!
Danny laughed louder than anyone in the theatre. To this day, I don't know if it was an act to make me feel good or if he genuinely thought it was that funny. Nick didn't budge for the entire performance. He looked like he was stuck at a funeral for someone he barely knew - he was uncomfortable and sad, but also didn't care. Sneaking a glance at him sitting in his own personal hell brought me as much joy as secretly holding Danny's hand two feet away from my ex-girlfriend.
We didn't see them much - they ran off to a bar, and one of my friends from the show dropped Danny off at the train so he could go to his 140th college party of that week. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but the radio silence surrounding Danny's presence threw me off. However, it also meant that we had successfully attended the play together without making things uncomfortable for everyone involved.
Danny and I spoke the next day. I'll never forget his feedback about the play: "It was hilarious. Like, you're amazing." The second half of the text makes me feel especially warm. I've held on to this nugget for the past several months because Danny simply doesn't offer up such nice things very often, and if he felt like I was amazing, then I felt amazing.
"But I thought you said your ex was going to be there?" He said.
"Um, yeah. She was. You met her?" I responded, confused about what he was getting at.
"Oh." he responded, "She."
It hit me that Danny and I had never discussed our sexual identities. Of course he assumed I was gay - just like I did for him. The funny thing? We were both wrong. (Per usual, there's more on that later.)
Fast-forward back to the very end of December. After Katie finished telling me she had been seeing someone, I realized how genuinely comfortable I was digesting this information. I asked how they met, who he was, how long they'd be seeing each other. She froze, sniffing and wiping her eyes. "I'm just not ready to share all of that yet."
A few days later, she came over to watch a movie. Since she had revealed that she was dating and it didn't make me want to kill myself, I wanted to really try to move forward with our friendship. This was the day after revealing Danny to Carol, and I was comfortable in my decision to not tell Katie about him yet. We had a bit of wine, and a bit of whiskey, and the movie we were trying to watch wouldn't work. As the drinks went down, our filters shut off.
I asked, once again, if she wanted to tell me more about this guy she had been seeing.
"I have a confession," she said, "You've actually met him." WHAT? Who the hell was this guy? Turns out - Nick wasn't attending the play with Emma. Nick was attending the play as Katie's date. We laughed, and I told her I totally understood why she wasn't ready to tell me at the time. I totally understood-
because I did the same exact thing.
Katie and I had both brought the men we were seeing to the play we worked on together the same night, and both came up with lies in an effort to protect the other. I burst into a fit of whiskey laughter, thinking about how uncomfortable I was through that whole evening. How uncomfortable Katie was - and how uncomfortable Danny and especially Nick must have been! The tragedy of it all tickled me. Katie was looking at me - I was laughing far too much to not reveal the cause of this fit.
Did I tell her? I knew I was only feeling so comfortable because of the liquor. But what was I so afraid of? We weren't dating anymore. This is my life. She has made it clear she wants to continue to be close with me. Fuck it.
"You know how I brought Danny that night?" I said. She confirmed, tentatively. I blurted out that Danny was secretly my date, just like Nick was secretly her own. "What?!" she screamed, eyes wide. "Have you guys hooked up?"
I told her we had. She remained warm, and inquisitive. She asked if we had had sex. (We had not.) She asked if I had liked the things we had done. (I wasn't sure.) She asked if I had feelings for him. (I didn't. Yet.) I told her how badly I wanted her to give it a go with another woman. Seeing Danny had been such an eye-opening and educational experience for me. Plus, you really can't knock it 'til you try it. I have a penis, yes, but I was incredibly wrong about what someone else's penis was going to feel like. I was also really surprised about how weirdly similar all genitalia is - regardless of sex. At least in my humble opinion.
It felt really good to be honest with her, and for her to be supportive. My biggest fear was that she wouldn't understand a more fluid sexuality - I mean, this very Liberal woman had once voted for John McCain, something I've never let her forget - and that she'd convince herself that what was between us had been fraudulent. I felt like I had to explain to her that nothing between us had changed, and if anything - this experience has made me more sure of the fact that I'm not gay than anything else. She didn't bat an eye. The thought hadn't even crossed her mind, she said.
Once Katie knew, I honestly felt that I had nothing left to be afraid of. I thought about telling Danny that I had told her, but I didn't want to make him uncomfortable since we were really only hooking up and hanging out, not dating. (Note: I now know that this is exactly what dating is.) Danny was on break from school for Christmas, so for the first time since we knew each other, we spent time together several days in a row. It was so much fun. We were getting closer, and sharing more personal things. We'd go out to eat or to see a show and he'd still want to hang out afterwards. He even hopped the fence to my building when I locked us both out. I was really starting to enjoy his presence in my life.
I asked him what his plans were for New Year's. He was going to a party. I had been invited to a few, but the holidays had all felt weird since The Happening, which is what I will call my separation with Katie moving forward. Halloween pissed me off. Thanksgiving made me sad. Christmas made me hurt. I hurt so badly that I hid in the fetal position in my room, as far away from the noise and laughter and food as possible. New Year's, one of the more romantic holidays, would surely upset me. So I decided that unless Danny invited me to go with him, I'd just stay home.
We snuggled on the couch watching a movie. My roommate came home and saw us together for the first time. Actually, he had drunkenly walked in on us in my bed together once very early on, but was so inebriated that he didn't remember. Since I wasn't sure if he knew that I was queer, I found this especially hilarious. But anyway - he came in and commented on how cute we looked on the couch. We both rolled our eyes. He asked Danny about his plans, and he responded about his party. He asked me about my plans, and I fabricated something about going to a friend's, since I didn't want my roommate to know just how big of a loser I was.
"Why wouldn't you go with Danny?" he asked, "Danny, don't you get a plus one?"
"I don't want a plus one." He responded.
Why did that hurt me? Because he knew I'd be at home alone, and he still didn't want to take me to the party, even though he could. That made me a bit sad, but then again - pretty much everything did. I knew that I didn't want to go to the party, I just wanted Danny to want me to go to the party. We said goodnight.
We texted back and forth a bit on the final day of the year. 2016 was really looking interesting, if not exciting. What would come of Danny and I? And Katie and I? And Katie and Nick? And will Broad City get renewed? These questions circled my mind, over and over and over. But one thing was for sure: I was safe from hurt, because I definitely did not have any feelings for Danny.
Except I'm not actually that good at lying to myself.
to be continued.