Yes, I had told Juan I loved him. Yes, I meant it...sort of. When I talked to him, when I thought about him, when I read his messages, I felt this pure love and happiness flowing through me. Unlike me who could find 7,549,832,021 different worst case scenarios and caveats and difficulties and questions and 'what ifs' for every moment in life, he just seemed so simple and uncomplicated. If he liked something, he liked it. If he didn't want to do something, he didn't. Happy, smile. Tired, sleep. Hungry, eat. There was no overanalyzing, there was no overthinking. He'd decided he loved me and that was that, for him there was nothing further to contemplate. But simple has never been easy for me.
At the time, I found his attitude refreshing and inspiring but I was arrogant enough to believe that my way made me the more complex person. I assumed if I tried to make a real relationship out of this love, I would quickly grow bored and move on to more intellectual pastures. I decided I should put my love for him in a box, separate from my day-to-day life. It was precious to me but I assumed it was fragile and easily destroyed. I thought that this was the only way to keep it alive.
With my feelings for him neatly compartmentalized into the 'beautiful fantasy' area of my mind, I got down to the serious work of dating. I went at it with a scorched earth policy, weaving a drunken path of destruction through a multicultural cross-section of Toronto's love-life.
I finally gave in to my Iranian hipster co-worker who'd been hunting me with his translucent green eyes and over-confident swagger since the day I'd started. From the moment we'd met, the only thing stronger than our attraction to each other was our hatred. Our interactions usually consisted of either polite work-related topics barely concealing our disgust/desire for one another or full-out, no-holds-barred verbal takedowns. The end result of both always seemed to be us frantically searching for a room with a lock on the door. It was a to-the-death kind of sensuality, both of us hoping that the other would not survive the encounter.
I enjoyed telling him about the other men I was seeing. Not that he was jealous. But even the possibility of slightly injuring his inflated ego left me giddy.
I told him about the Ecuadorian DJ I'd gone home with. I left out the part where after he'd kissed me I went to the bathroom and cried, my attempt to simply swap Latino for Latino an obvious failure. I didn't tell him how the DJ had called me a cab while I dried my eyes. How he looked scared every time he saw me after that. That I had obviously been 'that crazy girl'.
I told him about the rich German I'd let walk me home from a financial district bar. How I'd let him hold my hand but insisted he go no further until he took me out on a real date, possibly even bring me flowers. I told him how the German had taken me out to a fancy, romantic restaurant. But didn't mention how he ended the night by telling me that there would not be a second date because I clearly wanted something more serious than him. I glared at his annoyingly chiseled head and perfectly coordinated outfit and assured him I could never want anything as serious as him.
I ran into the enemy at a party I attended with my Grenadan boyfriend of 1 week. He was surprised, as I'd just left his apartment hours before. But he took it in stride, enjoying my discomfort as the three of us sat on a couch, one of them on either side of me. He listened with faked interest to the Grenadan as he told him how we'd met, how my dancing had caught his eye, how my intense stare had given him the courage to come talk to me, how he had theories about us being soulmates. I headed outside for a bit of fresh air, my co-worker caught up to me halfway down the stairs and led me out into the dark. The Grenadan soulmate got left behind.
The one man I didn't want to use in my war against Iran was Juan. I didn't want to taint Juan's beauty like that. It was my way of being faithful. But he found out. Called me a dirty sex tourist. Called me a fool. He told me he'd had a sexy little chica in Cuba too. That she'd begged him to return but he knew better. He knew the government paid them to stay in touch with people like us. That the phone calls and emails to tourists were part of their job description. That their rations were doubled if we returned.
I laughed, he'd gone too far. I waved my white flag. The war was over. I was tired of fighting these useless battles for causes that meant nothing to me. If I was going to fight, I wanted to fight for someone worth winning.
|What an average night out looked like for me around that time|