I returned from the hospital after midnight, in major amounts of pain but armed with narcotic pain relievers. Part of me was glad for the distraction – finally I would have something beside Jeff to think and talk about.
“Hi Jeff, it’s Tom.” I called Jeff the following morning to break our date for later that day. “I broke my arm last night and it’s really throbbing so I’m going to need to cancel and stay in my room.”
“You broke your arm? What happened?” I explained the whole (stupid) story and was grateful for the sound of concern in Jeff's voice. “Wow Tom, that’s really too bad – I was looking forward to hanging out with you.”
“Well, if you don’t have your heart set on going downtown you can come hang out with me here. I don’t have any plans other than to do some reading and maybe smoke a bowl. I couldn’t have a better excuse!”
“Are you sure?”
What --- sure I don’t want a cute guy to come nurse me in my dorm room? Yeah, right.
“Yeah Jeff, come on over if you want. It would be nice to see you.”
“Ok Tom, see you later.”
Jeff came over in the early evening and made himself comfortable in one of our lounge chairs. I grabbed my mini water pipe and prepared to light up. Before the flame hit the weed, Jeff said “I’m not having any of that if that’s ok with you, Tom.”
“Oh, well ok….” I put the pipe down. I wasn’t going to blaze up alone, at least not right then. I wanted my full wits about me if Jeff was going to retain his.
“So Jeff, I’ve been wondering something. I’ve never told a straight guy about my feelings for other guys, because I always figured they would freak out. I’m so glad you haven’t done that with me. What’s up with that?” I asked, just trying to make conversation and bridge the awkwardness of our previous encounter.
“Well….actually Tom, I guess I haven’t been completely honest with you.”
“Um…..ok…..what do you mean?”
Jeff then proceeded to tell me that maybe, just maybe he’s had feelings like that before. And had even acted on them a few times, mainly at the college he attended prior to his transfer to St. Olaf.
I was dumbfounded. Numb. I didn’t even know what to say. I don’t actually recall saying much at all because I was so confused. Here I was, in pain with a busted arm, sitting with a guy I had obsessed over for months, a guy for whom I had risked everything, a guy who had told me he was straight. A guy who had inadvertently broken my heart. And now he’s telling me he likes guys.
What did this mean? When he said he couldn’t return my feelings did it mean he didn’t have feelings for guys, or did it mean he just didn’t have feelings for me? And now had he changed his mind?
It would take a while for me to figure this out.
------- to be continued ------------