There’s a quote by, Charles A. Lindbergh, (the first American aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean) that goes, “What kind of person would live where there is no daring? I don’t believe in taking foolish chances, but nothing can be accomplished without taking any chance at all.” I often replay this quote in my head over and over again when I’m unsure, nervous or scared to move forward. It’s a quote about something we like to call…Risk.
Every single day of our lives, we play with risk. That moment you decide that you only had a few drinks and decide you are perfectly capable of driving home. Or, perhaps, that time you were so caught up in the heat of the moment that you decide not to use a condom. The list goes on and on about the risks we play with in this game of life. All these risks are a reflection on the physical dangers but what about the other side of risks? The risk of a potential broken heart, or the risk of making yet another mistake. The times when you are simply too afraid to take a chance and have the potential to let an opportunity pass you by. When it comes to relationships…is it worth the risk?
In case you haven’t heard, New York and basically the entire Midwest/East Coast has been getting hit with one snow storm after another. Suffice to say, it has been taking its toll on just about everyone and everything. After my last date with the guy that only wanted a sex buddy, I was fully prepared and ready to go back into hibernation. Even though the year has barely gotten started, I just didn’t have the energy to get excited for, to get ready for or run the risk of having another potential heinous date. So, I decided at the beginning of last week, that I was going to just lay low and focus on work and my friends. Both work and my friends run no risk at all for causing any type of drama, so I knew that I would be safe.
By the time Wednesday rolled around, I had begun messaging with this guy from SCRUFF. It was fine, it was innocent and nothing was coming from it; which again I was totally fine with. On Thursday, the city was hit again with another nasty storm. Work was shut down but that evening was a party for a friend of mine’s agency, Factory 360. It’s always a nice party because it’s basically Fire Island only everyone is wearing sweaters instead of speedos. I could tell my body was starting to feel run down but I was determined to push through. So, I took a nap, showered and went down to Chelsea to pick up my friend, Feathers. We waited for a few other friends to arrive and after that, we all got in a cab and went to Fifth Avenue where the party was being held at.
In typical fashion, the party was a success. Everyone was there, the drinks and music were flowing. It was also so nice to see some faces that I haven’t seen since the summer. Suffice to say, everyone there was getting rather drunk and after the party was over with; a few of us decided to walk over to the bar, Boxers. There, from what I can remember, we had a few drinks and I even knocked down an entire beer over a complete stranger. That was my signal that it was time to go home. A friend of mine and I, shared a cab home and between my body slowly starting to feel tired, the drunken state that I was in and the nasty weather; I was rather delighted to finally be in my apartment.
The next morning, I woke up and I felt ill. Not because of my alcohol intake but I felt like I was coming down with something. I called in sick from work and decided to get rest because I had a best friend’s birthday party on Saturday that I just couldn’t miss. I decided my best bet was to get plenty of fluids and rest. Well, I had to buy those fluids and when I tried to find my wallet that was when I realized that I must’ve lost my wallet between where the taxi had dropped me off and my apartment. This day, also known as Valentine’s Day, was turning into an utter disaster. Not to mention, that I was drunk texting with the guy from SCRUFF the night before and somehow we agreed to meet that night for drinks. I didn’t want to cancel because in this city, if you miss someone’s schedule the likely hood of meeting them or rescheduling is most likely not going to happen. So, I had to walk around the city, replacing my debit card, trying to get as much rest as possible and figure out that evenings details. Not exactly how I wanted to spend a sick day but it was my own fault for losing my wallet. After I got my debit card replaced, some fluids/medicine and figured out my plans for the evening; I took a long nap and went to pushing myself to get ready for my date.
We had agreed to meet around 8:30 at the bar, Therapy. I had just walked in right around the same time that he did. Instantly, I found him attractive, I couldn’t tell if he felt the same way about me but we sat at the bar and ordered our drinks. He stuck with a beer and I went for the vodka (figured the vodka would kill some of my germs). We talked and updated each other on our days. Finally, after the first drink, we ordered another and that is where we discussed our age. You see, I still don’t know how the hell to add my age on my profile. Not that I’m embarrassed by my age but I didn’t want it to become an issue either. So, I told him, “Shall we discuss my age?” And he said, “Well, when you mentioned earlier that you moved here at 18 and how long you’ve lived here…I did the math.” I asked him, “So, is that an issue for you? My age?” I was relieved when he said that it didn’t. He’s the first guy I’ve ever been out with that is younger than myself. He will be 28 and I will be 36. I told myself that this was just a first date and to just relax. Then he said to me, “Now that we have the age thing behind us, what other deal breakers do you have?” I didn’t feel ready to answer that question yet plus between the medicine I was on and the booze; I was feeling a bit buzzed. That was when he decided to slip into the conversation that he’s a smoker. That isn’t a deal breaker for me, we all have our vices and I was just happy that he didn’t say he was on heroin or had to get back to his wife. So, I walked outside with him and stood while he had his cigarette. There he said, “Would you mind if we changed locations? I know some people that work at Southern Hospitality and they can hook us up.” Who was I to deny a hook up? I agreed and we walked and talked some more. I was surprised that not only was this Valentine’s Day but that I was on a date with a nice guy. Maybe this was worth the risk of going out on this holiday and on a Friday night.
When we got to the restaurant, I had no idea what time it was and didn’t care. He actually did know the bartender and boy did she hook us up. The beers continued to flow and she even provided us with a few shots. Before I knew it, we closed the restaurant down. After that, things were one hundred percent fuzzy for me. I do know that he asked me where I lived (later on he would tell me that we stopped at another bar and that was where we had the conversation) and I told him that I don’t bring men back to my place and so I asked him where he lived. He told me where he lived but I didn’t quite remember and next thing I know, a cab is dropping us off in Harlem. I do remember him telling me that he was moving next week and that he was moving to Brooklyn with a friend of his. Next thing I know, we are in his bedroom and when I looked at the clock after talking endlessly and even sleeping together; the clock read 5:00 a.m. I offered to go home and he said, “That’s nonsense and shut up.”
The next morning, Saturday, I woke up and it was official…I had the flu. I had body aches, a fever and the whole nine yards. We had slept for ten hours and I was still determined to make it to my friend’s birthday party. However, my body was telling me something else. We stayed in bed, watched movies, took another nap and I just couldn’t rest anymore. However, the city was a mess, another snow storm was falling from the sky and there we were walking around. He showed me this gorgeous cathedral, we talked a bit about our past and we were actually getting to know each other really well. I was having fun despite my condition. We ended up going to this bar where he used to bartend called, Suite. There, he introduced me to some of the “regulars” there. They were all so kind to me and for some strange reason, I was still thinking I was in a condition to attend the party. I told the guy that I was going to leave and that maybe we could hang out again sometime. He said, “Well, text me after your party, maybe you can come back and you can get rest.” I gave him a kiss and he told me which subway to get on in order to get home. On the subway ride home, my body was just shutting down. The idea of drinking and partying, while it usually is my medicine that wasn’t the cure for me that night. I got home and took the longest shower. When I got out, I sent a message to the guy saying that I simply can’t make it to the party. He said for me to come back to his place. It sounded nice and comforting; plus he has a nice big bed. I sent a message to all my friends that that I was not making it and packed a bag. When I got back to his place, we ordered food and I took some medicine that knocked me out while he watched a movie.
On Sunday, I woke up after sleeping for which felt like a hundred years and still was not feeling good. He didn’t have any plans that day and neither did I. I already canceled everything for the rest of the weekend in order to get better. So, we stayed in bed, watched movies and got rest. Finally, I couldn’t take being horizontal anymore and suggested we at least go out and see a movie or walk around. We ran some errands for him for his moving day and then I treated him to a movie in which he held my hand! After the movie, we walked and talked more. Things got deeper with our conversation and it just felt nice getting to know someone. In my head, I still felt like it was risky hanging out with someone younger than myself but I have also met people older that don’t have their acts together so what was right and what was wrong at this point? We ended up back at his old bar and we had a couple of drinks before retiring back to his apartment where we watched another movie and I, once again, passed out from being too weak. All three nights that we spent together, he never let me go. He checked on my fever, he opened my medicine for me and rubbed my back. It was nice to not be alone during that time. Not that none of my friends didn’t offer to stop by or take care of me but for some reason, I felt ok with this guy seeing me in my worse state.
Yesterday, I woke up before he did and I sat and began to feel a bit better but also I began to analyze. While he held and was fast asleep, I began thinking of all the potential things that could go wrong. How I just spent three nights in a row with him, how we had sex so quickly, how there might be signs that I need to pay attention to and how this entire thing was all one big risk. Finally, he started to wake up and when he did, he gave me a kiss and a hug. It felt comforting but my guard went up, that was also when I knew I was starting to feel better. He got ready for work and I did my best to shut my brain off. We took the subway downtown and on the ride we talked about when we would see each other next, how what a nice and unexpected time we had and I decided that while it’s all a risk…to just go with the flow. I won’t be seeing him for awhile due to my schedule, plus he’s moving today to Brooklyn so if it ends with a romantic three day weekend then so be it. That alone, was worth the risk. He hugged me goodbye and his last words to me were, “Sad that you have to leave. I’ll text you later.”
True to his word, he did text and asked how I was doing. It was sweet and we kept the messaging to light banter and nothing heavy; which I was satisfied with. I focused on getting ready for the week ahead and also didn’t want to risk over doing anything and getting sick again.
Every single day of our lives, we play with risk. Of course, we need to protect ourselves, our loved ones and even the strangers that walk amongst us. Risk is there and designed to push us out of our comfort zones because if we stay in our comfort zones than nothing ever happens. There is a fine line between risk and foolishness and it’s our jobs to make that determination. We have all the tools we need, it’s up to us how we build the life that we want and to that end; I’d like to bookend this entry with another quote for good old, Charles A. Lindbergh, “I don’t believe in taking unnecessary risks, but a life without risk isn’t worth living.”
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