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Thursday, February 26, 2004

Mardi Gras

As an actor and writer, I am very clear about my mission to entertain. I try hard not to be self-indulgent or use this blog as therapy. Frankly, today I just need to summarize some thoughts. If you want to hang out with somebody funny instead, you can go visit him.

The first thing I learned about Mardi Gras is that I am too generous with beads. I was reprimanded by my friends all night long because I gave out beads to people without making them do anything to earn them. I was informed that my response, "But I don't need to see anything. I just like giving out beads," is not the proper Mardi Gras attitude.

It was great to be surrounded by my favorite people. Unfortunately, my darling roommate Juju couldn't make it because she was throwing up due to food poisoning. But Apollo, The Handsome Prince, the Boy Hunk and all the Yum Yums were there. When I wasn't wantonly distributing beads, I was trying to take care of a drunk co-worker I ran into at the bar. I barely know Drunko, but I remember one night at Silverado he convinced me to sit and drink some water and sober up, so I wanted to return the favor. I wore myself out trying to keep him safe, and The Handsome Prince told me it wasn't my responsibility to take care of Drunko.

Finally, I abandoned Drunko, stopped handing out beads and went to bask in the glow of my sexy friends. I was having a great night dancing and laughing. Suddenly, I noticed a familiar face looking at me and smiling. For the first time since we broke up a year and a half ago, I ran into my ex at the bar. M. doesn't go out much, but his new friends like to take him out to the same places I hang out.

Nevertheless, it was great to see him, and we had a nice chat. He met my friends, and I met his. Back when we were a couple neither of us had many gay friends, so it was great to see how we had both expanded our social circles. I was so proud of myself for being charming and fun-loving and happy. When he was ready to leave, I walked him to the door and hugged him goodbye. As I walked back to my friends I felt discomfort welling up inside of me. It was something like Juju's food poisoning, I imagine, which came out of nowhere and resulted in sort of a violent mess of purging. I felt waves of sadness and seven years of memories washing over me. And then I purged.

I remembered when M. and I first kissed at The Village Station in Dallas. (He put down his drink and said, "Todd, I'm going to kiss you now." I said, "Okay!" We made out for half an hour on the bar patio.)

In my mind's eye, I saw us arranging our cross-country move, packing up our dogs and beginning the three day trip from Texas to Oregon.

I remembered our night under the stars in New Mexico where we promised to devote ourselves to one another and exchanged rings one snowy night.

But I held it together and walked back to my friends. Then I saw The Handsome Prince looking at me with sympathetic eyes. I can't hide anything from him.

You know how sometimes you feel like you are controlling your emotions well until the moment you are extended a bit of sympathy? When THP hugged me I felt my eyes filling with tears. After a few minutes of self-indulgent pity, I pulled myself together. Then Apollo came over and asked how I was doing. Damn. Here we go again.

Balloon Boy, who is one of my beautiful Yum Yum brothers, was the third person to check on me. I rewarded him with another display of emotion. This was getting ridiculous, but I didn't know how to stop the feelings from coming to the surface.

The perfect solution was a late night feast with Balloon Boy and THP at the greasy spoon next door. We joked and laughed. I expressed what I was feeling, and I felt so proud to have the most awesome friends I could ever want.

I am resigned to the fact that the first cut is, indeed, the deepest. Although I don't want to be with M. anymore, we shared so much and I haven't found a way to compartmentalize those memories so that they don't show themselves at inopportune moments such as a celebration with friends at the bar.

Hey, wait a minute! I showed more than anybody at the bar that night and didn't get one damn string of beads for it! Okay, so I showed raw emotion instead of my dick, but still.

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