At his invitation, I spent most of the weekend with Jeff, the Machinist, at his home in New Jersey.
The prospect made me a little anxious. It’s been well over a year since I spent that much time, uninterrupted, with a man. I’ve been on lots of trips, been to lots of places, but in those situations, I saw my companion chiefly during the evening, and kept my own company during the day. But dinner, a movie, sex, sleeping together in the same bed, waking up together, breakfast, spending the whole day together, another evening together, going to bed together, and waking up together and eating breakfast together again? I must admit that I found the prospect mildly daunting. All those meals together. All those conversations—would I be able to sustain them? The unrelenting physical proximity.
As I packed a change of clothes and my toiletries into my knapsack, I definitely had the jitters. The fact that I knew it was abnormal to feel anxiety over such a minor, casual activity increased my discomfort. I mean, when you get right down to it, what are the natures of my fears? I fear that I will be inadequate for the task at hand. And what is the task? Intimacy. Emotional intimacy. The kind that runs both ways. Letting someone get to know me.
You are unfit, the voice barks, like a small yappy dog, in the back of my head. You are unfit for this. Accept it and spare yourself and this man the inevitable result of this “relationship.”
The other voice in my head—whether it is the voice of sanity and positive mental health or the voice of denial and rationalization, I do not know—counters: You are freaking out for no reason! Quit it right now! You are sabotaging yourself and reading into this way too much! All that you are doing is spending a few days with this nice, regular guy! It’s not neurosurgery! Just try to have a nice time and be yourself!
Be myself. Wow, what a concept!
In the end, I rallied myself and set off for the PATH station, overnight bag in hand.
And in the end, the weekend went well. I tried to be good company and a good houseguest. To be kind, gracious, courteous and receptive to courtesy. And I tried to keep my heart open to him, and to be as authentic as I could.