Wednesday, April 02, 2008

In The Closet (or should I say, Bathroom?)

My heart was pounding so hard that I believed it would have jumped out of my chest, given the chance.

Babump. Babump. Babump.

It never missed a beat as it thumped harder and harder. Faster and faster. I could feel butterflies dancing inside my empty stomach. My mouth hung wide open like a slanted painting on the wall. The delicate beads of sweat started its race down my back and at this particular moment I saw my reputation flash in front of me. Was it hot? Or was it just my nerves causing the cotton mouth, the wet back, the throbbing heart, the anxiety?

“Man, you’re killing me right now. You know that I don’t wake up this early,” his voice said with uneasiness.

“What, man. You’re the one who told me that I can just drop by anytime today,” another masculine voice replied.

The conversation was so close that I knew my cover would be blown any second. Footsteps crept along the opposite side of the bathroom door. My clammy hands barely held the door shut. Where is a lock when you needed it? My legs were planted in a runner’s stance as I prepared myself for what was about to occur. The voices drowned into the next room. It was now or never. This was my opportunity.

I quietly opened the bathroom door while still trying to hide my identity behind it. My eyes quickly located the exit. I tip-toed toward the front door trying not to make any suspicious noise for my grand exit The unsteady knob blocked any hopes for freedom. I could not let myself out. I was trapped! I turned the knob with more force as if my life depended on it. I was getting out at once and for all single women in New York who have been in similar situations. Bag on shoulder, shoes in hand, and the door swung open. I was free. I turned my body just enough to shut it behind me.

I bolted down the steep steps in socks and disbelief.

“Hi, Happy Easter!” a man said to me as he walked up the steps in confusion.

“Hi, thanks, I’m late for something,” I said while running panicky and trying not to injure myself.

“Well, you’re definitely going to need your shoes before you go outside,” he said.

I laughed and continued my journey out of the cozy, Manhattan building. The sun hit my face and I knew that I was almost safe. I paused on East 51st street to put the rest of my shoes on properly, catch my breath, and clear my head. It all seemed like bad dream or a horrible scene from a chick flick.

Is this what my dating life had succumbed to?

Actually, I don’t even know what the definition of “dating” means these days. Apparently in my world, it included hiding in Mr. C’s bathroom to guarantee my sanity and that his friend/co-worker, Wesley, would not discover us together. Wesley and Mr. C had a fairly close association. I knew that they hung out from time to time, yet was unaware that they chilled at each other’s bachelor pads over the weekends. In addition, Wesley was like an older brother at work to me. We always had fun, witty, and down right candid conversations at work ranging from family to relationships.

I was a coward. I certainly felt like less of a woman. But, I was not prepared to face the awkward, uncomfortable mess that would have occurred had I not leaped for the bathroom head first.

What was I scared of? Was I really ready to let our relationship or whatever it was out of the closet? Was I ready to face the questions, sarcastic jokes, or even the judgmental looks from my peers?

The answer is “No.”

I can hear the comments and visualize their facial expressions coming at him and myself or even between other co-workers without us present.

“So, you and Mr. C? How did that happen?”

“Are you and Mr. C dating?”

“Joi, he’s such a flirt and playa? Why, did you go there?”

“So, how is he in bed?”

“You bagged Joi? Damn!”

“Did you here that Joi and Mr. C are getting it on? When did this happen? How did you find out?”

“I knew that it had to be more to their friendship, especially since they share a cab home after work occasionally.”

Maybe it’s just me basking in my own paranoia. Maybe they don’t even care. However, I’m just not ready to find out.

I can appreciate a man who chooses to make certain things in his life secret. It shows a sign of maturity and mystery. I’m drawn to men who are under the radar. Kiss-N-Tell was never Mr. C’s style. Yes, it is true that he’s strikingly handsome, charismatic, and eccentric. He can make everyone in the room feel good weather it’s with his kind words or with his dreamy, green eyes. But, his most attractive asset is that he keeps his mouth shut and I enjoy that about him.

When I decided to take the risk of an intimate relationship with him, I was sure that “he and I” would only stay between “he and I.” There’s no need for a 3rd and 4th party and he understands that concept. I’ve always been a very private person and Mr. C can relate and respect that about me.

I know that I am not ready to let Mr. C and me out of the closet or even out the bathroom for that matter. I can still see the smirk across his face and hear his tender voice ringing in my ear. “Joi, are you really going to hide in bathroom?”

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