- The Thirteenth Encounter -
Insomnia is one of those things in life that either
causes insanity or insane productivity. Thankfully, I
chose the latter and I worked nearly non-stop for a
whole week before I collapsed like a pile of rotten
potatoes on Saturday. Why did I choose to run myself
to the ground, working hours that made my colleagues
worry and my friends crazy?
Easy answer would be that I wanted to run away from
the memory of my last phone conversation with Heero.
Hard answer would be that I am an unmitigated coward.
Neither are entirely correct, but they'll have to do
Heero and I have not spoken since that last phone
conversation and that happened a week ago today. Yes,
I'm lying on my bed, exhausted and miserable, thinking
about what I had done. The week of harsh work had not
diminished my guilt or pain any, but only had served
to add a tired body to a tired mind.
I lie here and wonder for the millionth time, why had
I said those things? Why couldn't I have just kept
quiet, let things be, let things go?
The hardest thing to think about is the fact that I
had meant what I had said. I had not wanted him
sauntering into my office, confident and beautiful,
letting my entire firm know that we were an item of
sorts. It had taken some time for me to admit it to
my friends who I knew would accept me no matter what.
But to let the world know? I have not the courage nor
My friends kept tabs on me, knowing for a fact that
something was wrong, but they had not pushed too hard.
I think they knew that the harder they pushed, the
further I would withdrawal. Whoever said that misery
loved company obviously has not met me just yet.
Heero had said he understood. But did he really
understand where I was coming from, what I was trying
to say? Honestly, I doubt it. Unlike me who had to
discover that I liked men in a very strange way late
in life, Heero had time to get used to that facet of
his life. He had time to adjust, to let others know
and the like. I'm just barely muddling through what
we have, knowing that it is special but not wanting
anyone else to figure that out about me.
I wish I could sleep some tonight, because I am tired
of thinking. I am tired of being sorry for what I
said, sick of feeling this goddamned guilt for saying
something that was on my mind, and most of all, I am
fucking sick and tired of bearing all the blame for
It sounds awfully selfish, does it not? After all,
who was it that blurted out insensitive things to his
boyfriend? Who was the one that caused this rift in
the relationship? Who was the one that decided to
ruin something special?
Believe me, I can already hear the recriminations.
Let me tell you, I have been telling that to myself
all week. I have called myself idiot, jerk, any and
all bad names that women have called me until I met
Heero. But now that I really think about it without
work to distract me, I have to admit that I cannot be
entirely at fault all by myself.
It takes two to make a relationship work, so the logic
must be that it takes two to ruin it as well. Yes, I
said things that I should not have, but I was being
honest. I was absolutely horrendous in my phrasings,
yes, but the truth was that I was voicing my concerns.
Did I not have a right to be afraid about my work
environment? Did I not have a right to say that
thinking about him all the time was making me crazy?
And most of all, out of all people, couldn?t Heero, a
trained psychiatrist and my first boyfriend,
understand that I could not make a flying leap into
society announcing my ambiguous sexual preference?
Damn it, I am making sense in a way that it is not
Surprisingly, the next thing I know is that it is
morning. The sun is streaming through my open
curtains invitingly, tempting me to go outside even
when I knew that the temperature was far below what it
seemed. Damn the sun. When I'm this miserable, I
expect the weather to cater to my heavy heart, not
mock me with bright sunshiny days.
Sunday, is it? A day engaged in watching a favorite
sport on television, a day designated as a rest day by
most religions and governments, a day designed to make
you relax or have fun.
A day when I have nothing to do to escape my frantic
I think I can learn to hate Sundays with an intense
Right after my declaration of hatred against Sundays
is a brief thought that maybe I should call Heero
today. Maybe I should apologize, I think, but for
what, being honest? Maybe I should explain myself
more clearly, I ponder, but I scratch that.
Explanations are for the guilty, not for the not so
And he could call me, I think with indignant bravado,
at least to check on me or something. It was Heero
who pursued me in the first place. He had been the
one to take the first step in everything in our
relationship because he was sure and I wasn't. In the
least, he should call and tell me what I should say to
him before I drive myself into a frothing insanity.
I think on this tangent for a while, laying in my bed
and watching the day go by out the window. A part of
me wants to take the initiative and call Heero to
clear the air, but a bigger part of me, the part that
is filled with pride, refuses to take that integral
first step to reconciliation. It is a tight bind and
it is no wonder that I do not make an effort to move.
When the phone rings, my heart drops into my stomach
and starts beating at a dangerous pace. Could it be
Heero, calling to say.. something, I don't know what
and I don't care what. Or is it Quatre, or maybe even
Wufei, calling to check up on me?
Should I let the voice mail service pick it up or
At about the fourth ring, I roll over in my bed and
reach for the phone to check the caller I.D. at least.
Technology has its good points.
The number is familiar, but it is neither Heero or any
of my friends. Instead, it belongs to someone I have
not talked to in a long while.
"Hello, Mom. How are you?"
I can feel it coming, the inevitable guilt trip for
not calling in a while. My mother, as much as I adore
the woman, has a doctorate in making me feel like I
am a five year old with skinned knees.
"Duo! Thank goodness! I thought you might be sick,
not calling for so long. You aren't working yourself
to death, are you my little pumpkin?"
"I'm fine, Mom," I reply, rolling my eyes and shaking
my head, "so don't worry so much. I'm just resting
My mother and I talk for a while, discussing such
wonderful things as the weather, neighborhood gossip
in her area and what she has been doing for the past
few weeks. I get an earful about my father and his
obsessive lawn war with Mr. Herick, their cranky next
door neighbor. I also hear about Hilde, my mother's
best friends daughter who is dying to meet me and date
me. That is where I put a stop to the conversation.
"Look, Mom, I'm really glad you found someone for me,
but I'm seeing someone, okay?"
Now, what possessed me to say that to my mother of all
people? I must be losing it in a heinous way if I can
say that to my mother without thinking about the
"You are?" my mother shrieks, "and you didn't tell me?
Who is she? Does she work with you? What does she
do? Her name? How long?"
My head whirls a bit from the amount of question my
mother just presented in less than five seconds. Some
people have told me that I take after my mother in
speech patterns, but I don't think I can achieve her
level of speed even if I tried.
"I'll tell you later, Mom. I have to go," I say,
madly thinking about an excuse that would let her
release me from the interrogation, "because I have a
date. With the person I'm seeing. Don't want to be
My mother lets me go reluctantly, but I can feel the
questions humming around her head, not to mention the
happy little grandchildren dancing around her brain
pan. She is most likely thinking about how I will
marry this girl she thinks I am seeing and give her a
passel of grandkids she could spoil rotten.
I feel a bit nauseous. I hate kids.
Even so, after I hung up with my mom, I suddenly felt
better. If I had told my mother that I was seeing
someone, I must be serious about it, right? It is
true that I did not tell her that I was seeing a man,
but I have good reasons. My mother and father are
devout Catholics, even if they don't act like it
sometimes. They'd die if they found out.
Shit, yet another problem to add to my growing number
But first things first. Patch things up with Heero.
Then worry about the world.
It sounds deceptively simple, but apologizing or
explaining anything to a significant other is hard.
The words become mangled in your throat and you feel
as if everything you say is the wrong thing. At
least, that's how I was feeling as I shakily dialed up
His voice sounded wonderful. I had not heard it in a
week and I admit that I really did miss it.
"Heero.. I thought we should talk."
"Fine," Heero replied, sounding awfully formal, "I'll
be over in a moment."
I have approximately thirty minutes now to gather my
wits and figure out what I want to say to Heero. I
can do this, damn it, I have prepared closing
statements in shorter time than that.
But you know, being a good lawyer has nothing to do
with being a good boyfriend. As smart, talkative and
persuasive as I am in the court room, it helps me none
when dealing with a hurt boyfriend.
How funny is this, that my most trusted skill of
verbal persuasion would choose to desert me when I
needed it the most?
I was still in the process of formulating a suitable
set of strategies when there was a knock on my door,
effectively putting a stop to my planning. Damn it, I
only had a few strategies laid out at this point, but
what could I do now? Therefore, like the man I am, I
took a deep breath, cleared my throat, girded up my
proverbial loins and courageously opened the door.
And there he stood, looking rather marvelous in his
tan slacks and an all purpose but still sexy white
shirt with a leather jacket thrown over it all. His
hair was slightly wind-blown, the brown strands wild
and lawless on his head. But I believe that his eyes
took my breath away all over again, just like the
first time we met. Blue within the blue, so intense,
so missed, and so pissed.
Okay. Time to start Operation Make-up with your
Strategy one: invite Heero in, be polite and distant.
When he is formally ensconced on the couch, lead into
a carefully constructed explanation of my behavior.
At least, that is what I was supposed to do but my
body took over my brain's rational functions and
decided to hug Heero before he even entered the
Strategy one, failure.
I quickly removed myself from Heero's personal space,
but I did notice a look of shock intermingled with
softness. He followed me in, his steps swift and
sure, but he refused to sit anywhere. Instead, he
stood in the middle of my living room and stared at
me. Perhaps, it was time that I moved onto Strategy
Strategy two was much friendlier than strategy one,
involving tea, soft words and calming hand gestures.
Maybe my impromptu hug had set the stage for it, I
"Heero," I begin, intending to ask him to sit and take
some tea, 'I can't believe you didn't call me for a
week. It wasn't as if I was insulting you or
Did I just say that? Looking at the pole axed
expression on his face, I think I just flushed
strategy two down the crapper.
"Shit!" I exclaim, waving my arms in the air, "I can't
believe this! I invite you over so I can apologize or
explain or something so that we can get back to being
nice to each other and I blow it. That does it, I'm
going into the kitchen and cutting out my blasted
tongue before it does more damage."
Resolutely, I march towards my kitchen with every
intention of doing as I said, but Heero's hand on my
arm stops me.
"Duo," he says, his voice so much softer than what it
had been over the phone, "I'm very sorry."
Well, I have been rendered speechless and I haven't
even cut the offending organ of speech out of my
mouth. Heero had just.. apologized to me. And he is
still speaking so I better pay attention.
"I know that you are not yet used to having a
boyfriend. I also understand that your work place is
not the most friendly place for being.. um.. you.
But I was hurt when you said it because I thought that
you were ashamed of us."
"Jesus, no, Heero," I say, my words tumbling out, "why
would I be ashamed of you? You are wonderful. I'm
scared to death of you, but ashamed? No."
We smile at each other, both of us trying to dispel
the tension. I lightly drag him to the couch and
settle us down on the soft cushions, leaving a bit of
space between our bodies so that we can discuss things
like civilized people.
"If you want to know, I admitted to my mother today
that I was seeing you."
Heero quirks his left eyebrow at me in a questioning
"Your mother knows that you're dating a guy?"
"Not.." I trail off, trying to phrase it so that
there's no misunderstanding, "exactly.. I told her
that I was seeing someone. And you know, I've never
said that to her before so it's a big deal for me."
"Thank you," Heero replies, a genuine smile lighting
his face, "I know it's hard telling others, especially
your parents. My mother cried for a week when I told
her and my father didn't speak to me for months.
Those were rough times."
"Well.. I hope my parents take it as well as yours,
"It is going to be that bad when they find out, won't
I nod and twist my lips in a semblance of a grimace.
"Even I can't imagine how bad it will be when I tell
my parents about you. And as for my firm knowing.. I
I hang my head at that, knowing that it was true and
being sad about it. I am not ashamed of what we have,
but I'm afraid of what will happen to my career.
After all, love cannot fix everything and it is always
more complicated in real life than it is in novels.
Not everyone will understand what I feel for Heero.
In fact, not even a quarter of everyone will try to
understand what we have. With those odds, how can I
risk everything I have worked for my entire life?
"You know, Heero," I continue, needing to explain,
"it's not a question of whether or not I think what we
have is worth more than everything else in my life.
You are not the kind of person who would ask me to
give up what I have so that I can be with you. You
won't make me choose."
Now, where did that come from? Perhaps it came from
something that has been bred into every human being
longing for romance by society at large. Movies,
novels, television, all those big influences of our
lives tell us that love is the most important thing
and one should be ready and willing to sacrifice all
for it. But that's not real. Love, in that form,
cannot be real.
"I would never ask anything of you that would force
you to give up what you hold dear, Duo. However, I
will not stand by if somehow I am pushed aside for
other goals in your life."
"Thanks, Heero. Maybe one day, I will tell everyone
about us. I don't know yet. And I promise, in the
future, I'll try to say things less bluntly so we
don't go a week without speaking."
"Deal," he chuckles as he pulls me into his arms in a
loose embrace, "and since it has been a week, I
believe I'm allowed to say that I missed you."
We hold each other, comfortable in our newly found
understanding. I know for a fact that we have not
resolved every problem plaguing our minds, but for
now, we let go of those nagging concerns and just
enjoy being with each other.
Being special.. what an odd thing, really. From the
way I heard of it, I'm supposed to have met Heero and
then have a happily ever after and a goddamned sunset.
Instead, I have the reality of it.
I wish someone could have told me that it would take a
load of effort. I wish someone could tell me if it is
really worth it.
But I put those wishes aside and let myself relax.
It's Sunday and I'm tired still from my hellish week.
I should really get some rest before I tackle this
beautiful, painful, silly and emotional thing called