This is my first attempt at a Blog, it is probably done all wrong but it is what it is. I want this to be our journey, thats Mark and Me. It's my hope that I will look back and see what a wonderful journey it was!

 

I'm looking at dealing with the Now the Future and keeping a perspective on the past.

Next month it will be 3 years since Dave died, and one year since I had my heart surgery. There have been times when I wished I had simply let nature take it's course, battling on alone can be overwhelming at times.

Dave and Brandy, late 80s

But, I am still here, to bloody minded to let life slip away and now confused as to what to do with it.

I have met a guy, who in so many way's lights my fire, presses all my buttons and reminds me life still exists. I'm not sure it's the right time for either of us to meet and I don't know how it will end, I just hope it doesn't end in tears for either of us.

Well that’s where the future starts, now we move towards the present, the next few paragraphs deal with Mark and first getting together. How we danced around a bit before actually talking (actually I did all the dancing round, Mark seemed fairly determined).

Communicating

On a general web site I notice a welcome thread for a new member, I do the normal and post a welcome message. I had to take a look at his profile didn't I, well it's only polite. I see a guy that’s cute as a button and think "never mind, nice to look at but he wouldn't be interested". Next thing I know is I get a message of the guy, a simple "Hi" but my god a message. I reply trying to extend the conversation, I'm successful and we start to exchange messages. Then we start to exchange Texts, Mark every now and then sends very suggestive texts. Me, I'm the original ice cube and respond with anything except suggestive messages.

Then one day I'd been talking to a friend about it who thought I was a bit mad, so finally I responded with a message more in tune with what I had received. Then the communications really started, but at the same time we are both holding back for our own reasons. The communications got much more intense and personal.

Then came our first phone call, this went really well and we seemed to like each other a lot. Then came the message, can I ring you I want to talk, nervously I said yes as I was wondering what was coming. Mark phoned me and explained he'd seen a post of mine that concerned him and he needed to understand what I meant by it. Well it was a thread on HIV and dating somebody who was POS, as I lived with this risk with my long term partner I have strong views on it which I'm more than happy to share with those who run the other way.

If memory serves me correctly the thread had very much split into 2 camps, those who would never data a guy who was POS and those who would. As I have a number of health issues I took the tack that presumably they wouldn't date people with any number of illnesses. As often happens if you don't put the full quote and your reply ends up a number of posts from the one your replying to, your reply can seem vague or out of context. This was the issue, Mark thought I was saying I wouldn't date somebody who was POS. The reality was my partner had a problem with the word monogamy, I loved him to bits, but facts were facts. The first time I caught him with a friend who had Hep I went bonkers at him, thought after that he would be careful but always knew the risk was there.

I was a bit taken aback, but he then explained he was POS and clearly expected me to reject him. He was more than a little surprised when I said "so what" or something similar, he had suffered a lot of rejection over the year since diagnosis. I think it took a while for him to realize I meant it and to be honest couldn't and can't see the problem. My normal response would be to list my own health problems and claim a win on points (sounds trite, but I do have a few health problems)

After a lot of thought and consideration I did send Mark an email apologizing for some of the conversation, I realized that in my little isolated ivory tower I may have felt I had an understanding of HIV and technically that’s true, I didn't have an understanding of living with HIV. I'm not proud of the realization that simply had not considered things more from the other persons perspective. I thought I had screwed things up badly, not having great social skills this would not be a first, but I was worried I had offended Mark.

Mark forgave me my ignorance and continued to pursue me, I continued to duck and dive, even altering my profile to the opposite of what he was looking for to put him off, I was also scared of rejection, trust me when you have to check in the morning to see what has dropped off in the night, and your bedroom looks like a chemist shop you get used to it.

Well he was persistent and I gave in, well after all he is one hell of a cutey, you could just eat him alive (well I could).

First Meeting

The time came for us to move this along and actually meet to see if we really liked each other, in UK terms we live a long way from each other and getting together is not easy. We considered meeting here, his place was not an option simply because of where he lived, in the end Mark suggested a hotel room. Well this scared me as well, you will soon come to realize most things in life scare me on some level, not been out or done enough yet to get over that.

Arrangements made, we met one afternoon, he is so natural and comfortable with who he is as a gay man, I am the opposite, reserved and shy and so far back in the closet I might as well be in Narnia. Now came the time of truth, would I run like the scared rabbit I was or would I pluck up the courage to go in with him.

Well I'm pleased to say I went in, we spent time talking, cuddling and talking and being a little more intimate, then we went out for dinner. During dinner I realize just how much I like this man and that scares me more(we will keep coming back to me being scared), we went back to the room and continued where we left off. At some point we both fell asleep, when I woke up this shocked me for some reason, to be so comfortable I could fall asleep. I made a bit of a hasty exit, I could see on his face just how hasty my exit had been. I felt guilty about this and tried to phone him twice on the way home, the more I thought of our day the more I realized I had enjoyed it and wanted so much to see him again. We eventually discussed my running off and I explained how I felt.

During the next week we discussed meeting up again, Mark in the end made the journey to my home, I told him I wouldn't be nervous this time and thankfully I wasn't. We had the most beautiful weekend, we spent hours curled up together on the sofa, went out for a meal, came home and had a great afternoon. In the evening we went for a pint to my local where he had everybody eating out of his hands and loads of comments like cute. I got a few nudge/winks, it was fun.

Mark decided to stay the extra night, it made his journey home difficult, but was great.

Up To Date

So here we are, 2 scared rabbits, both worried about being hurt or hurting the other one, but apparently both really wanting to see where this journey takes us.

Part of my reason for being here is the fact that I need to be more aware of the issues from Marks perspective, it's ok for me to say I understand the risks and I'm ok about it, it's another for him to come to terms with getting close to somebody who is NEG and how he would feel if I did get unlucky and become HIV POS. I suspect further down the line it will be less of an issue, but today we are in our infancy and both coming to terms with each others worries. He in turn has to come to terms with my health which at some point will rear it's head, it always does.

My hope is to be able to chat to people here who have an understanding of our situation, this helps me clear my mind when things worry me a little. Its concerning when your partner withdraws from you a little during love making because of his concerns, it's hard when I'm not sure what I can do to help him apart from be patient. Don't get me wrong, I cause him as many problems with all my hang ups, shyness etc. but they are something we can work through together more easily.

I so want what we have to have every chance of growing and don't want to let it slip by simply because I don't understand what he's dealing with or coming to terms with.

Well i will have an update next week, the light of my life is again making the journey here so we can spend another weekend together. As you can imagine, my heart is light with joy at the prospect of another weekend of sharing, loving end exploration together.

I will update this on a regular basis, probably once a week while we are finding our feet. 20-02-08

I have just returned from a work trip to Dublin and spoken to Mark, it's good to be home and good to talk to somebody who gives my life meaning.

Our last weekend together was fantastic, it was good to see him and good to spend time with him.

Friday evening I was worried about him making the trip, it took him about 3.5 hours to drive to me, he had worked the night before and during the day. The poor soul was so tired, I had to talk him through the last few miles, poor thing got a bit techey when my instructions were untimely and he missed a turning but after a while he realized I really did know where he was and I got him safely to my house. When he arrived he appologised for getting stressed when he thought he was lost, I loved him for appoligising, I would have been much worse in his shoes.

I can't express the joy I felt when he arrived, considering I have been living in a very dark non gay place for so many years I shocked myself by hugging him in the street. We had a wonderful evening, I had cooked though it was a bit simplistic but seemed to do. We had a wonderful night sharing with each other.

Waking in the morning with Mark there was a wonderful experience, we had a busy day planned. For me it is important that we survive what I call normal, my old partner would not speak to me in public or walk to close to me in case we were identified as gay. I need to learn how to live as a gay person again, this is hard on Mark as he is happy in his own skin as a gay man.

What I suggested we do was simply go shopping to my favorite shops, I can be a real Queen when it comes to shopping, I like to shop but I like to shop in style. First we went for a meal, again in a gay/straight mixed place, it was great I did not feel in any way uncomfortable with Mark and did not worry if we looked like a gay couple, in fact I hoped we did. I wanted people to see how happy he made me.

Then we went to House of Fraser, an up market shop that I enjoy. Mark noticed that they called me by name (I spend to much time and money in here), while I'm drooling over the kitchen ware that I like so much and picking a few items to add to my collection, the female assistant comes up and hands a catalog of the range I'm looking at and says to Mark "have a look at this then you will know what he's talking about when he's going on about the stuff". It was such a joy to be recognized as a gay couple and not feel in the slightest bit awkward or uncomfortable with it. Mark was carrying my shopping as I don't have so much strength in my hands. I also bought 6 kilos of coffee beans for my coffee maker, we had a real laugh with those. Mark wanted to pay for a lot of the stuff but I wouldn't allow it, he had made so much effort and it had cost him enough just turning up.

Then I took Mark to my favorite clothes shop, I like clothes and buy more than I need, but I took Mark to Slaters as I wanted to experience being seen in public with him, and wanted him to know things I liked. Again Mark noticed they called me by name, this store provides assistants to carry your shopping for you while you shop. I know it's a bit up market for somebody like me, but I love the attention they give you. One of the assistants that normally assists me came up to say hello, the young lady that was helping me was doing a good job. Then I did something my old partner would never have allowed, I discussed with the assistant purchasing a shirt for Mark and making sure I got the right size. For the second time we were an obvious gay couple and it didn't worry me in the slightest.

Well shopping done, I had enjoyed being see with Mark and being identified as a gay person with his partner/boyfriend. It was invigorating to not find the experience unpleasant or threatening.

When we got home I presented Mark with his shirt and he looked fantastic in it, he hadn't notice me buy it.

We also went for a quick pint in the evening. We spent a lot of quality time together.

We talked for hours, mind you we do that all the time, we talked endlessly about so many things. Mostly we talk about how our lives have changed since we met. I probably shouldn't say this hear but it's part of where we were. Last year Mark had decided with his HIV diagnosis he had pretty much had enough of life, at the same time without knowing each other I had reached the point of not seeing the point in life continuing. Now we discover that we have both found new purpose in life and look forward to life continuing.

After another fantastic weekend sharing our lives and love we came to the conclusion that we wanted to explore where this would take us on a mutually exclusive basis, neither Mark or I will look at others while we explore our potential.

So here we are moving on to the next stage in our relationship, I think Mark fears for me a little less, I felt him pulling back less this weekend than previously. Where this takes us I don't know, but I do know we have to explore our joint potential, happiness is so hard to come by, happiness like we feel at the moment is very rare in deed. I was so sad to see him go on the Sunday morning, he had to drive 4 hours to a meeting before going home.

I'm not sure when we will be able to meet again, but I look forward to it in a way I never thought possible.

Today I am both happy and proud to be a gay man, now that is such a leap forward. 27-0208 

 

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