When I was five, love was television. When I was thirteen, love was gaming and football. When I was twenty-one, love was a mystery. I would never settle with any one person and when I did it seemed more effort than what it was worth. I had gone through high school with no more intimacy than a kiss, which in retrospect I have no regrets about.
College years weren’t much of an improvement but every day confidence grew and due to my new circle of friends I was finding myself around people I could relate to more. Within a year my sexual maturity had shot up more than it done in the previous five. Something that was ever intriguing. As for my introduction to relationships, they only went as far as drink, drugs and then back to some random girls’ flat. But that was fine with me, if random sex, drugs and alcohol was to be my forte then, hallelujah!
Just like the movies and many soppy novels though, life did through “love” into my mix.
Every now and then id sleep with someone and see that look appear on their face that’s silently asking you ‘there’s more than sex here….yes?’. At first I adored such looks and I’d give my heart away to the moment and to whatever entailed. But several relationships down the line I really was becoming a bitter bastard towards love and trust. I found myself in situations where I would be speaking just what the person I was with wanted to hear, being intimate just because my ego refused to let me turn my back and on occasion when I didn’t draw any negativity towards a relationship and felt that I had finally found someone that my heart could rest within it would be them who’d lose interest and drift away. The more such happenings carried on, the more my mind opened, so much so my eyes weren’t just drifting towards females no more. This was something I never really gave much attention to though as it was only really when intoxicated that my eyes would wonder, well until I met him.
I had regulated a pub in the city most afternoons whilst on my break from work. Sure drinking during lunch was hardly model behaviour but it never impaired my work and that’s all that matters, right? Anyway, my face had become known so much so that sometimes when I came through the doors my pint was already being poured, unless of course there was a new start and it was to be a ‘neube’ that would ultimately bulldozer my perceptions of what love was.
After the festive period was over the pub lost a lot of the new staff but as summer approached more new faces arrived. A lot of them rather lovely gothic looking woman but to my shock, at the time, it wasn’t to be them who’d catch my eye as much. Instead it was a six foot brunette…male. Any time that I’d visit the pub after his arrival either he’d catch me looking at him or vice versa. I put this down to nothing but coincidence as eyes are constantly wondering in bars.
My curiosity was to plague me though. So I browsed a website that I had a profile on. Amongst my ‘friends’ on the site was the manager of the bar, so I had a quick look at his list of friends and there he was.
Nathaniel was his name and after browsing his profile it seemed to cry out bisexual however his ‘stats’ included; straight and catholic…go figure. Needless to say my little mind demons arose and wanted to curse this Nathaniel for raising such curiosities in me. Despite this, I added him to my list of friends as surely I was mature enough to let a friendship blossom without spite arising towards him? A week had passed before I noticed he’d accepted my invite. Afterwards we exchanged a few messages and anytime that I’d visit the bar we’d never go past one another without stopping for a chat or when I’d visit for lunch we’d sit, well he’d stand due to his working role, and talk about anything and everything, well, almost everything.
The company I’d got my job with at the time our friendship took off had stated it was a twelve week contract with the possibility of a permanent contract at the end but when the twelve week mark approached it was soon apparent that I wouldn’t be there after the festive period calmed down. This resulted in my visiting the pub less which saddened me a little as I’d grew rather fond of my afternoon rendezvous with Nathaniel.
When money did begin to flow again it was minimal but it got me some social life, which usually meant visiting the pub with my friends once or twice a week. During one of these visit’s I found out Nathaniel was going to be attending the recently announced Korn gig in town, something that I was intending to do also.
By the time last order was called out in the bar that night Nathaniel and I had agreed that when the day of the concert arrived we’d meet up in town and head over together seeing as our friends were to busy to attend.
In the weeks that led up to the concert the more my mind began to wonder in regards to Nathaniel. Sometimes I’d had such a shit day but upon entering the pub and him giving me a smile all my worries of the day would soon vanish and the world wouldn’t seem so annoying. I would sometimes wonder if my fondness of him was a little too obvious but never did I get the impression that our drunken cuddles and sometimes never ending talks existed through nothing more than courtesy.
On the day of the concert we done as we’d agreed; Met in the bar for a few pre-concert pints then we headed over to the venue. As we approached the venue the crowd wasn’t all that bad, well not for such a big band as Korn. Either we had arrived during the quiet before the storm or doors had opened early.
After nearly an hour of waiting we were inside. The place was flooded with people, upper and lower decks. “Guess the door’s did open early..” Nathaniel scoffed.
We quickly shuffled our way over to the bar, bought two pints each and shot off down towards the stage. As we pardoned ourselves through the crowd, half soaked from people barging into us, the lights dimmed and the inaugural roar of anticipation from the crowd filled the hall.
It was the best performance I’ve seen of Korn and I’ve seen them three times. Through-out the concert both me and Nathaniel had been bouncing about crazily, grabbing each another and chanting along with every word that fell out of the singer’s mouth. Every time we caught each other’s eye the smiles that spread across our faces seemed to feed off one another. It really was a night that my life was long over due.
When the lights drenched the crowd at the end we managed to wriggle our way through the dense exiting crowd rather quickly and were soon out in the shudder worthy cold. Both of us we’re trembling due to the sweat from the concert drawing in the cold more so than it would if we hadn’t just been bouncing around for two hours. Nathaniel had suggested we venture round the side of the venue and try hailing a taxi, his treat as he couldn’t be bothered hiking it back to town. He got no complaints from me.
As we headed round the corner of the building I suddenly had Nathaniel on my back and wrapping his arms round my neck and his legs round my waist.
“You’ll need to do until we get in the nice warm taxi!” He exclaimed.
“Aye right! I aint hefting your arse around until a taxi arrives! Get!”
He continued laughing and wouldn’t let go.
“Cant exactly phone a taxi when your legs are clamped over the pocket my phone is in, can I?!” I protested.
“Ah shush you or I’ll tighten my grip!”
A small laugh escaped me “You sir, are an arse and you’re sounding like you’re enjoying being attached to me!”
“Maybe I am…maybe I’m not…!” he said as he bent his neck round and fired a crazy look at me.
I laughed “I’d say you were, you gay tart!”
“I’ll gay you!” he replied
“Oh that’s a good come back!” I then began spinning him round in circles as he clenched onto my back, which due to our drunken states nearly landed us on the ground at every turn.
I could feel him laughing still. “STOP STOP!!” he spluttered.
When I brought us to a halt his head draped round the curve of my neck. “Man, this has been a good night!”
“Yea…long over due for me.”
“Me too…” he replied.
I knew in that moment if I was going to have an opportunity it wasn’t going to get much better than here and now and with that I slowly turned my head and gently kissed his cheek.
He slowly released his grip on me and slid down my back. When I knew he was completely free I turned to face him, my heart pounding so much I thought it shatter it the ribs that encased it.
“I…I…Ryan…I’m not…you know…” he lifted his head “…I love you and our time together but I don’t think…”
“Nor I Nathan…It’s …I don’t know…It just seemed right…?” My stomach now felt like a tornado hot spot.
“What’s freaking me more is I wouldn’t totally disagree with you…”
When I approached to hug him and apologise for pushing such a matter on him he didn’t act like some crazed homophobe that you’d see on Jerry Springer. He embraced me as much as I him. As our arms fell away from one another we turned and headed back to town on foot.
Looking back I know why I believed I was in love. Nathaniel done more for me in a few months than anyone had in my lifetime. As for our moment outside the concert venue, well, we’ve never really built on that but we have never really dismissed it.
I’d always had this perception of love; man and woman glowing with joy, hand in hand and soon comes the arrival of a baby girl or baby boy. Nowadays I have a new outlook on love. Rather than feeling it’s a mandatory chore that should be fulfilled or chased I’d now rather allow love to blossom without outside pressure or inner doubt. Never was a fan of pressure or doubt anyways.