425. I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On

Bart came to visit. Michelle came for some convention or something and he went with her, then she flew back East and he stayed to hang out with me.

We went out to hear live music every night for four nights in a row, just him and me, then we took a night off to let our ears rest. Jonathan curled up in bed with me that night wanting to know all about the show the night before.

“I’m so envious,” he said, his voice low. Bart was asleep on the couch out in the front room. “Working like I am now, it’s the one thing I miss.”

“The sleeping late?”

“Going to see a lot of shows. I feel like I’m falling behind like crazy here, there must be so much going on that I’m missing.” He had his head on my shoulder.

“You always love bands most when they’re still unknowns.”

He looked up at me and said in a meaningful voice, “You never know when you’re going to see one that’s really special.”

I took it as a cue to kiss him. He kissed back. I did a really small thing then: I slid my hand down his rib cage. At least, it seemed like a small thing to me. I wasn’t even thinking about it.

He caught my hand in a deathgrip, though, stopping me. And that felt like a sudden stab through my ribs, before he even said anything. I was too stricken by the moment to say anything at first.

“Not with your best friend out there,” he said.

“You know Bart wouldn’t care in the slightest.”

“Yes, but I care.”

“He’s not–”

I think he was trying to be glib when he said, “Hey. This is our house, not a tour bus.”

Glib or no, that one really stung. I don’t think he meant it to. But I remembered the “sex dispenser” comment from back when he was really upset and it felt like a slap in the face. I sat up. I tried to get off the bed, but I guess that made it obvious to him I was offended.

He caught me by the arm. “I’m sorry. That didn’t come out right.”

“It sure didn’t.” I got up anyway, suddenly restless, and J. let go. I wasn’t the least bit concerned about waking Bart up with the sound of sex, but I sure as hell didn’t want to wake him up with the sound of arguing. In my mind my plan was to go into the kitchen. Because if we weren’t in the same room we couldn’t fight. I know that doesn’t make any sense now, but at the time it did.

And you can’t argue when you don’t know what to say, anyway. I got as far as the dresser.

“I’m sorry,” he repeated, but I wasn’t sure if he was sorry about what he said or if he was saying he was sorry he couldn’t have sex with me right now. “Don’t go.”

I sat back down on the corner of the bed, which creaked. I think he thought I was planning to go a lot farther than the kitchen. Something about his tone of voice. “Where would I go?”

He threw up his hands. “Wherever horny men go? I’m being stupid. I’m sorry. I’m… that didn’t come out right either.”

Did he really think I’d go out cruising because he’d said no? Did he think sex was that important to me? Maybe “important” wasn’t the right word. Did he think I needed it that much?

Did I need it that much?

This wasn’t the time to try to figure that out. I tried to take a step back. I didn’t know if I was taking the step in the right direction, but I had to give it a try. It was better than freaking out, anyway. “Are you feeling stressed out about work right now?”

“What makes you say that?”

“Well, remember the last time we had a fight where you had a big flip-out and stopped making sense? It was because you were having issues with work. I’m trying to figure out if this is more of the same.” Or if the work issues last time were an excuse for the real problem…? I didn’t say that last part, I only thought it. “It’s been a while since you’ve said anything.”

“Not that you’ve been around to talk about it with very much this week,” he said, then added quickly, “Not that I resent you spending time with Bart… I’m just pointing it out.”

“I didn’t really mean this week only, anyway.” I edged back to my spot in the bed and slid under the sheet. “You’ve been kind of clammed up about it for a couple of weeks. I figured that meant there wasn’t much to talk about… Was I wrong?”

We got close again, sitting up against the pillows, but arm in arm. “You know, not everything is about my writing.”

I didn’t argue.

“I mean, maybe with you everything in your life revolves around music, but that isn’t true with me.” He sighed.

“If you say so. But you sound a lot like a person trying to convince themselves of what they’re saying.”

“Do I?”

“Yeah. And what’s wrong with everything in your life revolving around your writing? I mean, of course everything in my life revolves around music. It’s not just a job, J. It’s what I was put on Earth to do. Without that, there isn’t anything else.”

“Writing is different,” he said, but in the dim light through the curtainless windows I could see he was giving himself a skeptical frown. “Writing shouldn’t be the only thing that defines me.”


He seemed at a loss for an answer.

“Just because the world doesn’t value art doesn’t mean that art doesn’t have value,” I said.

“That isn’t it.”

“Isn’t it? It’s like you’re saying writing isn’t good enough to be the thing that defines you.”

“Well, it’s true, the world doesn’t value writers or writing, everyone always wants you to do something else with your time. My parents used to think it was a phase I was going through.”

I held in a laugh.

“I know, isn’t it funny? They had no problems with me being gay. They were ‘very concerned about my life choices,’ though, when I said I wanted to be a writer. My dad wanted me to be an engineer. But then in college I fell in with the music industry crowd and… well, you know the rest.”

“You’ve been making it work. Are you afraid it’s going to stop working? That one of these days you’ll have to leave it behind and become an engineer after all? Because I don’t think I could.”

“Are you saying you wouldn’t find something else to do if you couldn’t play?”

“I’d find some other way to play. I’d compose. I’d use the computer. I don’t know. If I lost an arm in a shark attack, I’d come up with a way. Are you saying if you couldn’t write you’d find something else?”

“Well, I wouldn’t want to, but…” He paused to think. One of J’s best qualities is that he would stop and think, no matter how emotional the issue. Come to think of it, that’s how I learned to stop and think, from his example. “Anyway I try to imagine it, I imagine getting a day job and still figuring out a way to write a novel at night. I imagine dictating to someone if I couldn’t type.”

“See? Writing isn’t something you do, J. It’s part of who you are.”

He nodded. “But that doesn’t mean that every problem I have is because of something in my writing.”

“Okay, then, so how is the novel going, anyway?”

I took his total silence to be the worst possible answer.

“I see.” I pulled him close and petted his hair. “That bad, huh?”

He nodded. I held him close.

I had always thought that expression “just be there” for someone was kind of dumb, just a bunch of words that didn’t really mean anything. But right then I thought I understood what they meant, because that was what I was doing. Literally. All I was doing was lying there, “being there” for him. And it didn’t feel dumb at all. It felt like the right thing to do. It felt like maybe part of the point of having a relationship was so that there was someone there for this. Because, yeah, either of us could have gone out and found someone for sex. Not for this.


  • steve says:

    All this usually-smooth-then-with-weirdly-random-blowups cohabitation is making me REALLY want to see Jonathan’s take on things.

  • cay says:

    Yes. Cuddles are very important. There’s this study about how couples that cuddle stay together longer, even.

  • Joe says:

    Wow. Recognizing that the conversation you’re having is not the conversation you think you’re having is huge, D.


  • AK says:

    Daron your level of comfort with Jonathan is making me uncomfortable. And Jonathan, what a low blow to insinuate Daron was going to go out and get laid because you wouldn’t put out! Insecure much? Or are you just trying out some new passive-aggressive mind games to see how they work. I’ve earned a gold medal in that sport, so if you need advice on how to make yourself and others feel like shit, I give free lessons.

    • daron says:

      Do I seem comfortable? I feel like I’m second guessing constantly.

      • Averin says:

        Exactly. At times, Jonathan seems to be perfect, says or does the right thing, has the right connections, appears to be the perfect partner. Then whoosh [sound they make in the movies], he’s either undermining you or controlling you. As a fan, emotional maturity isn’t required of me, I’m tired of him, gimme some Ziggy!

      • AK says:

        Wow, I didn’t realize the can of worms (below) that I opened with my comment! Sorry D. I think really the thing is, music is your life blood and fills your soul like nothing else. It’s the thing that I see that is most precious in your life. If you are with the right person, they will encourage you, support you and make it even more wonderful. Being with someone who is resentful or wants a different life than what you want is only going to lead to misery for both of you.

        • daron says:

          You are right there. Music is why I’m alive. Anyone, no matter how romantic, who wants to be my reason to live? Is going to be disappointed. (I don’t think Jonathan is trying to be that, though.)

          He’s definitely turning out to be more repressed than I thought, though. Which is confusing, since I think of him as so much farther ahead of me in terms of acceptance of his sexuality.

    • sanders says:

      I agree. Something about all of this made my skin crawl. I’m really not okay with Jonathan’s response to stress being “Daron, you’re too sexual. Prove you aren’t going to screw around.” He’s spending an awful lot of time lately saying that whatever he’s just said came out wrong, too, along with weirdly passive-aggressive potshots at Daron having a life that’s not about him. I don’t like this at all.

      • Linda says:

        Oh, what a relief. Again, I thought I was the only one who hasn’t been comfortable with Jonathan. I love Ziggy, but I did at least like Jonathan in the beginning but I find with each new chapter, I cannot stand Jonathan. When he and Daron first got together, he said he would take whatever Daron would give him. But now, he seems to be trying to control everything in Daron’ s life. I would love for Daron to bring Ziggy’ s name up and see how Jonathan reacts! I really have not liked his remarks lately especially in this posting! Daron often questions Ziggy and the things he did in the past but I don’t think Jonthan is any better. Whew…guess I can get off of my soapbox now, lol! Oh no, wait…can I add that I hated that Daron wrote a love song with J in mind?! Only song I want him to write for Jonathan is a break up song!! Haha! Ok, now I am done! 🙂

        • sanders says:

          Definitely not the only one. I sort of liked Jonathan in the beginning but he’s never gotten past that level for me, and keeps rebounding back into “Ugh. Go away already.” I really think he wants Daron to be someone he’s just not, and Daron’s going with it because he doesn’t know enough not to. It’s painful to watch.

          The love song thing? Made me throw up in my mouth a little. That makes me feel like a terrible person, but I can’t get behind schmoopy feelings for Jonathan. I just don’t think he’s earned that.

          • Bill Heath says:

            “I really think he wants Daron to be someone he’s just not…” I commented on that earlier. Wanting someone to be what he’s not isn’t love. Either love the person he is or move on.

        • Linda says:

          OMG,Sanders! “Made me throw up in my mouth a little”, I thought the exact same thing!! We seem to be on the same wavelength!! I don’t know bow much more of Jonathan I can take!! Lol!!

        • Joe says:

          I’m still wavering between the two camps (J & Z). I like them both, and I think J’s just really in a bad place right now. He’s not trying to control anyone, he’s just all messed up at the moment. IMHO, YMMV.

  • Connie says:

    So, I’ve never been a Jonathan fan, but now I’m gonna play devil’s advocate. J.’s always tried to be there for Daron. (Ziggy, as much as I love him, hasn’t been.) And he’s come on as self assured. That’s when he was doing what he was good at, journalism. Now he’s doing something he’s not so sure about. It’s enough to make anyone bitchy, I think. So, I’ll cut him some slack there.

    But the part where Daron is going to go out whoring around b/c J. doesn’t want to put out? Uh-huh. That would be the death knell for me. That goes beyond bitchy, especially when he knows that being okay with being gay was one of Daron’s big Achilles’ hills until very recently. (Although J. does get some credit for helping Daron get more comfortable with himself.)

    So, FWIW, as soon as Bart gets up, maybe it’s time to head to Remo’s, Daron.

    PS Daron, it’s okay to be mad and tear J. a new one when he’s cruel like that.

    • daron says:

      OK, see, I didn’t feel J. was being cruel at all. I have no idea why he expected me to go looking for sex elsewhere but I don’t think that was about me. Maybe it was about his previous boyfriends. I don’t know. Maybe that’s the way gay couples often are and I just don’t know it. Maybe he thought I made the assumption that our previous agreement about seeing other people meant I could go get my dick sucked under a tree.

      The most telling thing about what an emotional weakling I am, though, is that I didn’t ask the answers to any of the above questions. Instead, I changed the subject.

    • Joe says:

      Maybe it’s J’s low self esteem that’s thinking that the only thing Daron wants is for a quickie. Maybe J feels like the only thing he has to offer is his body.

      He says “Don’t go” and then D asks him to elaborate and he comes up with the horny man thing. But what he said was “don’t go”. J’s all messed up right now and he doesn’t want D to go. It’s really that simple, I think.

      • daron says:

        I think he is all messed up, and I have no idea how to handle that. I’m not enough for him, that’s for sure.

        • Joe says:

          Why is that “for sure”? Most of us aren’t birthed with PhD’s in relationship psychology, and it sure as hell isn’t taught to most of us, so the only thing you have to go on is on-the-job training. And I think you’re doing better than most people at it right now.

          • daron says:

            It’s for sure because I’m sure of it. He wants more than I can give him. He wants more than he’ll even admit. I am sure of that even though he hasn’t admitted it.

  • T L Thurston says:

    Jonathan is a music journalist. He’s been there for his rockstar yeah, that’s what groupies do to make themselves indispensible and go from groupie into partner. Been there seen that. Sorry lol.

  • Chrisy says:

    Jesus.. The feels right now. They’re a rollercoaster of emotions. Continuously back and forth. Though I have to wonder if I am the ‘wrong’ one (wrong not being the right word ) as I feel their feelings shouldn’t fluctuate because I’m that way….

    • ctan says:

      Feelings are feelings. There’s no “should” about what they do. Accepting them and what they mean is a big thing for Daron to learn.

      • Bill Heath says:

        There’s no “should” but Jonathan uses that word aloud with Daron a good deal, and it is screamingly obvious he uses it silently a lot more.

        Jonathan fell in love with a potential Daron, not a real one. He felt Daron should be more of this and less of that, should be able to do things he can’t, etc, should feel certain ways about certain things and the list goes on. And, when Daron achieves the first “should” – becoming more comfortable with his sexuality – another “should” is tacked onto the end of the list. Daron never becomes potential Daron, in part because the goal posts will forever be moving.

        Daron “should” know what Jonathan is thinking because they think the same. Daron “should” feel the way Jonathan feels because they feel the same. Daron “should” have the same priorities, preferences, biases, etc, that Jonathan has. Daron “should” become Jonathan-with-guitar. Until Daron becomes Jonathan-with-guitar, he won’t be potential Daron. And if he does become Jonathan-with-guitar, he ceases being real Daron.

        This is a necessary part of growing for Daron. It’s also going to rival some of the more painful Ziggy moments for total pain inflicted/experienced. I hope Daron can learn what he needs to from this interlude with Jonathan, and that afterward they can continue to be friends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *