The Pick Me up Part two.

Humans have a tendency to believe what we hear when it comes to certain things, especially when we are at our most vulnerable. Dating is a kind of confessional. Two strangers meet only to reveal random facts about themselves as if they are applying for a job. The confessional comes in at all hours of the dating process, even, when someone such as I has a lonely night and texts Rodger because I just want a little TLC.

My fingers fly so fast on the keys that they type out nonsense at first. I want to have him come over. He agrees, and, soon, we’re in my bed holding each other talking about stuffed dogs and the epic movie Avatar. It’s a calm night for the both of us. We needed a simple night even though we don’t admit it out loud. Subsequent dates are just as calming and serene. We talk, of course, but the meetings are not about that. There about relishing in the fact that we have someone who enjoys each other.

Perceptions, however, have a way of falling. One night, Rodger sends me a text that says he’s going to pick me up and take me to dinner at a fancy restaurant. One, in which, he is going to pay for. I don’t trust anybody, however, and sneak my wallet in my pocket before he comes to whisk me away.

There are always conversations that lead up to the main one and both parties know when the other forces these conversations, including us. Rodger and I both know full well that the small talk about his job and new cat are a warning sign for the best conversation or the worst conversation, depending on how you look at it.

It isn’t until the dinner arrives and we’re masticating delicious meat that the throat clears and the napkin is placed on the table. For some reason I don’t brace myself. I am eating delicious food and I am enjoying every last swallow.

“So, Robert,” he begins, sounding as if he’s about to tell me a Deep dark secret about the US Army.

“Yeah?” I say with a gob full of potatoes with lavishly melted butter, “what’s up? Do you want to tell me that you don’t know the plot to the new Star Wars movie? Even with the internet?” he doesn’t laugh. This is a warning sign I don’t pay attention to. I’ve come to the conclusion I’m either, really desperate or really stupid. Either that or the voices in my head don’t give me dating advice or warning messages. They seem to only work when I’m writing fiction. How unfair.

“I’ve been thinking, actually, you know, about us?” I become excited. Elated, almost. Is he going to be the one to make me close the dating blog for good? Is my soul searching finally over? Is he going to ask me to share a bucket of ice cream with him? He’s crazy if he thinks I will share.

“Good. Usually, that comes before a really devastating piece of news!” I grin, but he doesn’t. Mine slowly wilts and I feel like I’ve just said that the air and the sun were the same, thing.

“Well, that’s just it, though, I’ve been thinking about us, and, well, I don’t know how I will keep doing this?”

“Doing what?” I ask, worried. My heart pounds and I’ve lost what little appetite I have.

“Well, just doing this… being restricted because of so many things to consider…” I am about to pick at a peace of steak on my plate but soon think about throwing the food all over him. I wouldn’t want to waste my bill on something this, well I can’t even think of a word to describe him. Instantly, my bullshit detector goes off.

“What do you mean, restricted?”

“I can’t just do something with you randomly like I want to… I can’t just do something nice for you randomly. I have to see if things are set in place and ready and…” he falters, but I know what he wants to say. Accommodating. Instead, he blurts out,

“I also have to make sure you’re not working or something.”

“But the good thing about writing, Rodger, is that I can do it whenever and wherever I want to do it. I set my own schedule. I can work nights if you want to plan a day. I can sleep in if you want to have an epic night.”

“It’s not just about your work.” he sniffs and I want to throw my fork at him. I’m done tiptoeing around the issue.

“You also need to make sure things are accessible to me. Right?”

“Well, yeah. I honestly don’t understand how anyone can plan a nice surprise for someone who always needs to plan ahead. I want to do something nice at the spur of the moment and I can’t. I don’t want to plan everything. I’m sorry but I’m just saying how I feel.”

“But Rodger, that’s, well, that’s narrow mindedness. We can have fun surprises. Is this about the lifestyle? Talking devices in the apartment? Talking phones, special movies with audio description?”

“I just can’t live in your world. I thought that I could but I can’t.” I can’t believe he ‘is ending it because of my disability. I am so stunned I just sit there with steak in my mouth. People near us turn and listen to this interesting daytime drama. I want to melt into a puddle and just slide out the door. I don’t know where this is coming from because he’s been so attentive and I’ve told him some of the deeper darker areas of my story, my past. We shared movies together. Sure, with audio description, but he didn’t seem to mind. None of this was a problem until now. He has never uttered a word about it until now. I can’t eat anymore. I want to punch him, slightly, as well, but I stand up and he grabs my cane as I start to leave.

“At least we can still be friends right?” I say with a smile. He doesn’t smile. He’s made it clear. This is our final goodbye, all because I have a disability. Anger flashes through me as he says,

“I just can’t. I need someone who I can be equal with.” This does it. As I turn to leave, with a dozen people watching and listening, I grab the water on the table, the only free item, and throw it all over him. I then snatch my plate and grab a to go bag before flying out the door and into a cab, and speed away from this nightmare. I try and think about what a bullet I’ve just dodged, but I can’t stop crying, even though I’m really enjoying a chocolate Sunday he paid for.

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The Realistic New Yorker

We are both at a Holiday Inn, standing in my bathroom, looking at each other, wondering what the other will say next as conversation flows like a gushing waterfall.

We both are visually impaired, which probably makes the conversation flow even more. He’s a total, and he is dashingly handsome. To make matters even better, he is talking about the human perceptions next to a towel rack, while I am just a few feet from the toilet.

I’ve decided to meet him even if there is no sexual attraction to him. It would be nice to dive head first into a calming, collective, discussion. Jose, the effervescent charmer has me from the first phone conversation I have with him a few days before I fly away from the Windy City.

There’s a different kind of attraction to Jose than other men I’ve encountered. When he asks me questions, I feel as if I am making my life better by providing him detailed answers about myself and my thoughts on love and relationships. It’s a good thing he has yet to ask me what my favorite ice cream is, because, I am sure that would halt the evolution of mankind.

When we meet there’s flirtation, there’s learning, there’s verbal chemistry. My ears are locked into his articulate explanations, his attention is honed in on me as if his eyes are sniper scopes who have pegged a good catch. I can tell he’s genuinely interested in what I have to say. When I am giving a long explanation about the fallacies of Chicago Politics, his head cocks to one side, his mouth slowly slides into a peaceful grin, and his eyes nestle into a peacefully intense gaze.

When he talks, telling me about his dashing friend from the UK who’s straight but has so many gay mannerisms he could make a documentary for educational purposes, my hands, somehow, automatically rest in his and I listen with rapped attention. Everything I am experiencing is so calming I feel like I am chatting with an old friend, not someone who I just met a week ago.

Two hours pass by in a matter of seconds. He soon has to leave due to the late our. I have an event in the morning and really should be getting to bed myself. Before he leaves, we kiss. I don’t know what it’s like for him, but for me, it’s a tender smoldering of friendship.

He, however, must be getting a bit more excited than I am, because his lips become just a bit too eager. Perhaps if I weren’t so tired, I might give in. I am tired however, and want to go to bed. As he kisses more passionately, I pull away. I don’t want to look up at him but I do, registering the understanding on his face. He’s a bit disappointed, but he isn’t boiling mad.

There’s also something I haven’t told him, and I want to tell him now.

“I have something to tell you.” I say. I watch as his face questions my next sentence.

“Yes?” he says in his hypnotizing accent.

“there’s this guy that I’ve been talking to for five years. We’ve made such a connection over the phone that we both call each other once every day. I’ll get to see him soon. I don’t want to take this further than it is now, OK? Besides, I am tired. His name is Greg, and he’s a really wonderful guy.”

I can’t believe what I’ve just said. I’ve turned him down for a passionate connection over a phone line that I will meet for the first time, soon. I don’t know how to explain that I don’t want to do this with Jose because, well, I am waiting for something. I don’t know what that something is, but I know that something will be great.

As if to test my body, he checks my crotch to see if I am, indeed, hard. I’m not. I want to go to bed, but I wish that he could record an audiobook for me as well, just talking about his life and what he’s done. Perhaps I am the nut case. He could be a really great guy in bed, but I don’t want to find out. This is really weird for me, because usually, I am curious, at least. I am waiting on Greg. Poor Jose. I must be a complete buzz kill.

I show him out, and immediately want to follow him to make sure he gets home OK. I don’t make it very far however, as my tired body plops onto the bed for a quick rest.

Soon, the sun wakes me up, where I realize that, man, I had a wonderful night. I feel as if Jose has taught me something very profound but I don’t know what that is. I just want to hop in the shower and have some bacon.

The Boy on the Bus

Usually, I work from home, where a bathroom trip equals twenty steps and the effort it takes to pull my pants down and sit on the porcelain throne.

Since I started my new internship, however, I’ve become just as adventurous as a new prostitute. I suddenly decide to take the bus to work one day because I’ve always wanted to experience a catastrophic success.

It’s a Monday when I step onto the CTA bus that carries me to my work. As soon as I sit down I can feel someone staring at me as if I am a new kid of tongue depressor. I look up and about the small cabin where people clamber as they await their destinations, wondering where the other is going, as every head fixates on a mobile device.

My eye finally spots a dark face looking at me to my right. Immediately, I wonder if he’s going to give me an Xbox One, because that would be the only logical conclusion an attractive black boy is staring at me, inches away from me.

His shirt is a dark blue shirt with white buttons on it, complete with a collar and speckles of wrinkles. His shirt looks as if it had been ironed by a depressed kangaroo. his face however, is drop dead gorgeous. Big brown eyes rest on a friendly open smile. He has thin cheek bones.

“hi,” I say, instructively. I wonder if he’s as observant as his shirt illustrates. To my delight, a smile creeps on his lips and he scoots closer to me with a hand outstretched, determined to pump up my attraction.

“hi there sir!” a powerful voice bellows, sounding like a weatherman announcing a storm of kittens, “the name is Jason, yup, it’s Jason. What it do my fine fellow!” the bus lurches over a pothole in the sidewalk, causing our hands to bounce in each other. I take the ear-buds out of my ears because I figure he can tell me the weather instead of the internet radio. His smile is infectious, and his nerdy voice intrigues me slightly.

“you know,” he questions, staring at me as if I am a confused meteorite. “I’m a curious feller. I always have been, so, my fine looking person, what are you listening to?” I decide to open up to him and show my propensity for nerd culture.

“A Star Wars radio drama.”

“really? As an MP3 or on an actual FM frequency.” as he talks I am conscious of other people looking up from their mobile devices to smile at us. They think, either, we’re deranged ice cream robbers or a very cute couple. His interest in what I’m listening to excites me, and his powerful voice captures my attention as well. We both know the other is gay. There’s a flash in his eye as he scoots closer to me, the wrinkles in his shirt disappearing as he slides closer to me. For some reason, being around him makes me want to watch the Weather Channel.

“as an MP3. Duh! they provide a good alternative if anyone hasn’t seen the movies, and can’t see, or, a bit extra for a nerd like me.” he pops one ear-bud out of my lobe and listens without asking me. Somehow, he looks utterly cute. Since I’m staring at his face, I notice that his ears are regular sized, resting on a balled head. Immediately I feel sorry for him, because in a minute he will have to deal with my weird way of flirting.

“you know what there dude?” he says, sounding exactly like a white surfer with no black accent, “these are the same people who played in the movie. They sound the same, anyway.” I confirm that he is correct, and he beams, and this makes me lose it. To my shock, he holds out a bud to a woman who’s tapping her IPhone like she’d tap a candy depressor, or something else.

“check this out! The drama is even more impressive when you’re wearing headphones! Ain’t it cool how the characters bring more life into the drama than on screen?” she listens with a smile, stretching my cord to it’s limit.

After a few minutes, we’re laughing and giggling as if we are little schoolgirls. Our interests lie in almost everything the other is into. We like video games. He likes Pokemon. I like Star Wars. He loves Shrek. I love books. He loves audio books. Whatever we like, the other likes as well and this makes conversations soar. What’s more, he works for Dell. Today, he has done something very strange to see if anyone will call him out on it.

“I decorated my office like the inside of the first Death Star. I don’t think anyone will notice, but it was definitely a blast doing it!” his energy is infectious. I want to kiss him right here, right now. As the bus lurches to a stop, however, he rises slowly, as if this is the last scene in a horror movie.

“this is my stop.” he informs. I blurt out, without thinking, “do you have a car?” my heart skips a beat waiting on the answer. He smiles, leans in close, and says with a twinkle in his eye,

“nope. I fly to work on a privileged society. I use the power of the white man to propel myself to work every day.” his sense of humor is really wonderful. I love it.

“Well,” I admonish. “Don’t trip on oppression.”

For days, I ride the bus, meeting James on the same route every day for a hole week. He brings me hot tea one morning, I bring him a doughnut and a classic paperback book another morning. Roots, of course. He loves my sick humor.

Soon, it’s as if we have our own routine. we settle down side by side, day after day, being nerdy and brightening others day with our lively conversations. He isn’t possessive, which I love, and he isn’t needy, which I love even more. He even suggests we go out for sodas one afternoon, and this makes me swoon that he just gets I’d rather ditch alcohol for a soda. My eye gleams when I say, “on the bus? I take it? Or using the power of the white man to propel ourselves to a food court in a mall. ”

He usually wears T shirts and nicely ironed pants, which accentuate his muscles resting on his thin arms. I like the fact that he doesn’t offer to take me to a bar. He seems to just automatically understand I’d say fuck alcohol, even on a good day. One morning, he wears a batman T shirt, and a Graphic Audio T shirt after that. This makes me want to marry him even more, and I’m scared of marriage.

Our rides turn into daily meetings, where we laugh, talk about things that bother us, debate, even causing people to root for one or the other, and enjoy Graphic Audio titles together. Soon, however, my CP is too much on me, and I have to stop riding the bus.

On my last day on the bus, I get on expecting to see Jason. Instead, an old lady who smells like carpets occupies his seat. She glares as I sit in the designated handicapped seat. She pokes me with her cane, telling me to move, but I scan for Jason. I don’t see him or hear him the whole way to work. This causes me to ride for a few more weeks until my legs can’t take it. I don’t see Jason again.

One afternoon, there’s an announcement over the intercom saying that my ride is here. It’s a good twenty minutes before I clock out, so I am amazed they are even here on time. I pack everything up and head down to the lobby, ready to endure another evening of Chicago touring on the short bus.

Instead, I bump into a dark skinned man standing by the elevator.

“I’m sorry,” I mumble as I fixate on where I’m going.

“that’s OK dude!” a familiar voice sings. I look up, daring to hope. Jason stands there with a big grin, his stance straight as an arrow. I fleetingly notice his shirt with the Grinch on it. I can’t believe it.

I am so happy to see him that I hug him in the lobby. Straight people be damned. Fuck all them homophobes. I begin to ask how he knew where I worked but remember he seen me get off here when I rode the bus.

“you done riding the bus?” he asks.

“yes. I’m done.” I say.

“really? That totally sucks… worse than the directors of Star Wars explaining the Force.”

“ditto, but my CP won’t let me handle it.”

“I think I have a solution, captain nerd!”

“what’s that?” he fixes my backpack before jutting his elbow in my direction. I presume he’s going to take me to a jet pack store, so I eagerly follow him.

Instead, he takes me to a car. A black Mercedes parked outside. I grin as my eye rests on the image on the side of the car. It’s the Star Wars X wing fighter, taking off. He goes to his side of the car and opens the door, before queuing a song on Spotify. It’s the Power Rangers theme song, the heavy metal version.

“well, you gonna get in the front, or the back?”

naturally, I choose shotgun.

The Job applicant

If someone tells you to always expect the unexpected when dating, believe them with every inch of your soul. It isn’t that people will fall out of the sky unexpectedly, but people will definitely do some weird things. To them, however, everything is utterly normal. Poodles could be laughing about the end of the world and to some people, that’s utterly normal.

As I’m sitting in a rickety old chair in an apartment complex that could be the birth child of a direct hurricane hit, I am comparing my own level of weirdness as I watch a very attractive brown head look for something in his bag. I assume that we’re going to have sex, just as I assume Denzel will come out of the closet so I can marry him, but neither prove to be coming true at the moment.

The brown head belongs to a striking fellow named Anthony. Anthony had a basic profile, just like all of the rest of the contestants I haven’t wheedled out yet, but his writing is utterly stellar. It’s actually something that keeps me writing messages to him, back and forth. Our longest debate has been about Gummy Bears and if they would be good on pizza.

The phone conversations were just as flawless, even though he sounds as if he has stepped out of a stereotypical sperm. usually, I have to check in with guys when we want to meet and or, even, if they want to keep talking to me, despite my gummy bear love and other weird thoughts.

Anthony, however, immediately makes me like him because he has been checking up on me when he does not hear from me for a day or so. The texts are polite, and sincere, which makes me feel guilty and immediately want to buy him gummy bears as a thank you.

Hey Robbie. I hope you’re doing OK. I am good. I am just relaxing at home and thinking about the book I will read next, text me back when you can. I hope you have a good day.

XOXO

It’s a rare feet that someone can have me so starstruck via text messages but I can’t help it. Something inside of me swoons when he sends me a message.

It didn’t take me long to give him my Google voice number. His picture emphasizes his words beautifully. He displays photos of casual poses, with a slight smile in every one of them. He always has a hat on, and his muscles are a bit larger than I’d expect in a guy that is 6.5.

What draws me to him are the pictures of him engaging in various activities. There’s one where he is smiling with a PS4 controller in one hand, sporting white teeth that accentuate the slight mustache. His eyes are big and inviting. They scream friendliness. There’s another picture where he and a great Dane are laying down in the grass at a park. These entrance me, because it demonstrates that he is active and he engages in many types of discussions.

It isn’t long before I agree to step into his studio apartment, the apartment I am in now, watching Anthony dig around in his bag as if it holds a can of string cheese.

so,” I say, looking a bit closer at my surroundings. “what you looking for?”

i almost gots it.” he trills, lowering his head deeper into the bag. I feel as if I am being punked, so I look around for some hidden cameras or a roommate to play his video game system with. I have been sitting here for almost twenty minutes. This isn’t what Anthony promised me. I was sure we wouldn’t be having sex right away, but I didn’t expect him to sort out his mail, muttering to himself as he reads the envelopes, all of which he has to pay soon. I don’t listen to this red flag, however, as I think he’s been really busy at work and didn’t have much time to fill anything out.

Even though I didn’t ask, I assumed he had a job. As his head goes even deeper into the tenth compartment in his bag, I stand up and have a walk around the apartment.

The apartment is really bland. There’s a 30 inch TV set with an entertainment center resting across a love seat that sits against a white wall. My journey takes me to a very clean kitchen. In fact, it’s so clean, it looks as if it hasn’t been occupied at all. The black counter tops are so glossy that the overhead light bounces off of the surface and onto a gray wall near the refrigerator.

Because I am very adventurous, I open the refrigerator. What I see in there is all sorts of healthy foods, such as yogurts. the cabinets show clean plates that have been stacked carelessly on top of each other. Dog food rests on the counter. This is for his dog who greeted me with more attention and affection than Anthony had once I stepped in the door. The dog barrels me over as soon as I step in the apartment and Anthony has to rescue me from having to force that dog to attend my funeral.

I make my way into the bedroom, where it is an utter pigsty. Clothes cover the bed in a pile that’s as tall as my stomach. There’s a spot with a pile of clothes surrounding it, like it’s a reserved seat in a public bathroom. I wonder if he sleeps with his backpack. The room can’t hold much, just a bed and a few dressers, all of which have a huge array of colognes and deodorants lined up, as if I am at the store or something.

Next, I make my way into the bathroom. I look in everywhere I can think of, but I can’t find anything of the sort. There’s a note with math equations scribbled on it resting on the toilet. I have no idea what that’s for. In the dining room, I can actually hear him talking to himself as he starts opening another bag. I am amazed he isn’t looking for me. I know I’d be watching anyone who enters my house.

I flush the toilet, just so I can have an excuse to my disappearance. Though, something tells me that he does not notice and will never notice, even if I strip down to my boxers in front of him with a backpack on.

The dog meets me at the bathroom door and it stares at me with eyes that make me instantly melt inside. When I start petting the dog, it immediately snuggles up to me, almost knocking me over. The longer I scratch and pet, the happier the dog becomes. It even smiles.

My hand travels down the thin body, where I can even feel his ribs. This definitely isn’t the same dog I saw in the pictures. This one is thinner and looks a bit older. I stand up again and return to where Anthony is returning from the center of the earth.

yo dawg. Hea it iz yo!” he plops down a piece of paper on the table before smiling at me. “i be finding it!”

Due to my limited vision, I peek at the paper with a magnifying glass. It’s a McDonald job application. Holy shit. Taxes will never go down in this country.

great. You can leave that here, and we can finally hang out!” I say, unable to hide my annoyance at being left to snoop his home for almost an hour.

but first I gots to fill dis out.”

“do you need any help?” I ask. I am sure he doesn’t need any help, and I am correct because he shakes his head. I want to spend some time with him though. that’s why I came here, after all. As soon as he bends over to begin the application, I immediately race into his room, grab one of his socks from the bed, and turn to the sad looking dog trotting behind me.

“you want to play fetch?” I ask. The dog nearly yips with excitement.

For about twenty more minutes, we’re playing fetch with his sock when I have the urge to check in on Anthony. I have no doubt that our tax dollars will be worth him working. After all, McDonald has health benefits.

I approach the employee of the year and gently take a hold of the application. To my shock, it’s complete.

“totally cool!” can I read it?” I ask.

“yeah!” he exclaims, as if I asked him if I could teach him how to give oral sex. I start reading.

NAME: ANTHONY DIXON

DATE OF BIRTH. 09/09/1984

SEX. NOT AT WORK PLEASE.

Five minutes later, I am in a cab, speeding away from the best employee I have ever met. Before I leave, however, I give the dog a dozen of his socks to play with. I know he will need them.