(damaged boys) 8

(damaged boys)85: Goodbye, Baltimore
There were five of them in the row of townhouses, and underneath the sheen of public normalcy and personal success lived the gaping damage within.
Goodbye, Baltimore
Ben hated saying goodbye. Forever it seemed. From the time he was twelve and Robbie left for Omaha, he’d learned to hate goodbyes, learned to hate the ebb and flow of people in and out of his life. Of course, there was no remedy. The more people he accumulated as friends and lovers, the more he said the word, two wrenching syllables that changed lives, the more he hated the final glance backwards, over the shoulder…the fading steps away.

For Ben, there was nothing after goodbye. It just all seemed to shut down. There had been promises of calls, letters and emails, but one by one, relationships faded into leaves of paper…cards at birthdays and holidays, returned and sometimes not. He lost track of loosing track. How many people was it now? Fifty? Sixty maybe? And what did it matter? He loved all of the friends and lovers…some more than others, and he could find any one of them with relative ease. And just what was it that stopped him? Maybe it was easier to say goodbye once. Yes, goodbye once was better…he was sure of it. He learned this from Adam. He learned it again and again with Adam. With Adam, there was always another goodbye. It’s just the way it was.
Ben met Adam the second semester at State, when they were enrolled in the same Biology class…a freshman requirement. Ben spotted Adam as soon as he’d walked into the lecture. At only 5′ 6″ he might have been easily overlooked, but Ben loved his infectious smile and his short, dark hair. He radiated energy. People gravitated toward him. People wanted to be around him. The women in class flirted and giggled and shot coy glances. Adam caught them sometimes, just smiling and shrugging. During a lab experiment he sat next to Ben.
“I don’t know why they do that. It’s so embarrassing…I mean, I’m gay, so I really don’t care…but I’m sure they’d feel foolish. What do you think? Hi, I’m Adam…I should have said that first.”
Ben and Adam dated, fell madly in love and spent the better part of three years together. They’d vacationed together, loved and were loved by each other’s families and came to know the intimacy and abundance of real love. There would never be a relationship more impactful, and Ben knew it, knew it deep down inside. At the end, there was an excruciating goodbye. A decision to part ways, pursue lives in different cities, lives with other people. Lives with replacements. It was like the taking of a limb, the searing amputation of a life and love. It all seemed impossible and horrific. There were no breaches of trust, no trespasses with others. In the end, it was just a simple decision to try something new.
Over the following six months, Ben and Adam lived in separate cities…negotiating their ending, apart. Ben flew to Baltimore three times…always looking for a way to repair, restart…to fix the confusing heap of emotions. He’d grown to love and hate Baltimore. It represented the end of the happiest part of his life…at least the small life he’d lived at the age of twenty-three. He hated Baltimore because Adam wanted to be in Baltimore more than he wanted to be with Ben, and that hurt the worst. But, he’d loved Baltimore for the change, for the mere fact that it was different…because it represented intoxicating opportunity. He’d hated that, too.
His visits to Baltimore were always electric…emotionally and sexually charged. There were no rules, Adam and Ben behaved as if they were still dating…long talks, sex, dinners and evenings out. The sex was even hotter now, and Ben loved the familiarity of fucking the man he loved. He loved knowing exactly what to do, and he loved that Adam knew how to drive him wild. Ben loved making love, feeling himself deep inside Adam and Adam moaning with each stroke. He loved getting fucked by Adam, who knew exactly how to get him off. And when the sex was over, there was always subterranean emotional chaos. Inside, Ben wanted to cry and scream and hold Adam forever. Outside, he smiled and relished his fleeting time…his weekend reprieve from singledom and his hated new life. At night, they’d fall asleep entwined like they always had…holding each other closely…drifting into a warm, lovely sleep together.
The third visit was the same. There was no difference at all. But something had changed inside Ben, something subtle and quiet. He kissed Adam full on the lips, said “I love you” one last time before heading down the jetway at gate D-12. He was halfway down when he realized he would never come back here…not for Adam. There would be no more fantasizing, no more romantic ideas of a reunion. There would be no more quick weekend trips to Baltimore…it was finished.
The 737 taxied onto the runway, and bolted down the length of concrete before leaping into the sky…banking north, away from Baltimore…away from the city of disappointment…away from his profound sadness. Tears welled in his eyes. And as the gentle hills of Glen Burnie, Maryland, faded beneath him…he said it.

Oct 30, 2005 By Todd 3 Comments