top of page

Across the Pond



Dublin, Ireland, March 17th, 2013

The tips of your hair dripping water as you come back from your shower and crawl in bed with me in your dimly lit room;

You, looking at me with pleading eyes at Hershey Park as the night falls and saying: “Don’t go back”;

You, making fun of my accent but being tolerant of my sometimes broken English;

You and I spooning in your bed as I kiss your neck slowly and repeatedly. “Did I tell you to stop?” You say, pretending to be mad;

You, cracking me up as you say: “We can’t wear black and brown. We are gay!”

Your feet rubbing against mine, in my bed, in your bed, anywhere...

Your hand resting momentarily on my knee as you drive me back to the airport in Philadelphia;

You and I pulling up at the gas station with your car blaring “Barbie Girl” and noticing the guys in the other car giving us suspicious looks;

You smoking in front of my house;

You smoking;

You drawing pictures on my body, either on your first day back in Dublin or in your bed in the USA;

You closing your car door and walking on Hershey’s Park parking lot;

You stroking my leg while we drink our pints with my friends in that pub;

You saying “He’s my boyfriend” to that girl at Barnaby’s who asked you if I was your brother;

You assuming your gayness with all your masculinity;

You cracking me up as you say: “It’s purely physical. We don’t even understand each other”;

You coming out of the liquor store and walking towards your car where I am waiting for you, handing me the cachaça as you get in;

You making a face as you drink the caipirinha in our motel room in the USA;

You bringing me Mac & Cheese after party;

You booping booping me, as we named it, when you lightly pat my crotch;

You cooking steak for me in your backyard;

You sending me a text message to say “move here, be friend and family”;

You worrying about me going to the movies by myself;

You on your knees in front of me, you on top of me, you on your stomach, naked, in front of me;

You asking “No more, baby” when I know you want more; “Just a little bit more”, I’d say, and that would become our favorite inside joke;

Above all, you crying on camera a few days after you went back to the States for the first time, saying “It’s so hard, babe”.

The memories. Only memories, now.

#

Where has all the love gone?

How could you? How dare you walk into my life and make me fall for you and then just check out, worst of all, being a douchebag? (No wonder it was the first word you taught me).

How could you fall out of love? Is that even true?

How could you break up with me by text message? “I think I’m done. Done with you.”

How could you erase me from your life just like that?

Do you ever reread our countless messages as I do?

Do you ever pick up your phone and consider calling or texting me?

Do you still go through our pictures and think how gorgeous a couple we were, so alike, twins, they would say?

Do you still have the giraffe bookmark I gave you, which you named after me?

Do you know that sometimes, when I miss you too much, I still sleep holding the stuffed giraffe you gave me, which I named after you?

Does it cross your mind that the anonymous calls you receive late at night (wee hours in Dublin when I can’t sleep) are from me?

Do you know I refused dates because I couldn’t bear the idea of being on a date and holding a pint with someone who wasn’t you?

Do you know that I threw our key ring on the floor, stepped on it until it broke and then tore our picture?

Do you have a new boyfriend?

Do you think of me when you are with other boys? Do you think of me when they touch you? Do you know that I do think of you every time?

Did you finally give up smoking?

Do you still go to tanning beds?

Did you mean it when you said “it had just been an exciting international trip and I was on a high. The only thing I loved was our amazing sex. Leave me and my friends alone”?

Why can we not be friends?

Were you really faithful - as I was – during the months we were apart?

Do you ever check ticket prices from Philadelphia to Dublin?

Will you ever know that, when I went to your favorite singer’s concert, Kelly Clarkson, she ironically sang “Nothing Compares to You”?

Have you ever considered apologizing?

Do you have an idea that I still wait for you?

Was it true when you said you never loved me?

The questions. So many. All unanswered.

#

Perhaps you are just waiting for DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) to be dropped so you can propose to me and we can get married, and I can finally move to the States.

Perhaps you just have too much baggage, as you said – you had much more experience in relationships than I did.

Perhaps it was only a dream from the very beginning.

Perhaps you were right when you said “we are just going to end up miserable in the end.”

Perhaps you regret breaking up with me but are too proud to admit it.

Perhaps you never really loved me.

Perhaps it was my mistake because I should have never allowed you to be the most important thing in my life.

Perhaps…

The ponder. Interminable and oppressive.

#

Before you came into my life, I never liked blond boys that much. Before you, I never liked slim guys that much. Before you, I had never considered dating someone who smoked. Before you, I didn’t like Americans, for that matter. You changed everything.

“Mine” you once posted as a caption on a picture of me on your Facebook;

After all, you were the one who I wanted to be my family and friend. I was very lonely when you left. I pushed everybody away. It was hard to see your face in everybody’s eyes. And they still asked me about you, for fuck’s sake! “How’s the American guy?”; “How’s Cory?”; “Have you been in contact with your ex?”

And even now, one year and six months after the last time we were together, I still miss you and love you and want you as if you were still mine.

#

Red Carpet Inn, Ronks, Pennsylvania, USA, July 10th, 2011

I like to be sitting here and listening to the sound of the cars on the road right in front of the motel where we are staying. We had to check in as his parents were coming back from holidays and therefore, we could no longer stay at his family’s house. We spent a week there, with his sister, a sweet girl who I really got on well with, and his estranged brother. They don’t even talk to each other – it’s so weird.

I also liked being there, spending time in his room, imagining his routine. His room is almost as big as my little studio back in Dublin, his bed twice as big as mine; he has a big desk and, in his pencil holder, I saw the giraffe bookmark I gave him. I had thought about bringing the stuffed giraffe he gave me, but then decided it would be too much, too gay. It was nice to learn things I didn’t know about him: the electronic keyboard in a corner, the dumbbells at the bottom of his wardrobe, the poster behind the door, they all told me more than he ever did.

I like the idea of Cory coming back to me after work and the two of us making plans for our trip tomorrow. We are planning to go to New York. Not that I really want to go. I told him I didn’t come for tourism. I came for him.

I was so worried that I was going to have problems understanding his friends. After all, I still have problems understanding him sometimes. But after three years of living in Ireland and struggling to understand all kinds of Irish accents, it was pretty easy. Not that his friends talked to me much.

What to wear was also a concern for me. I didn’t want to look too fashionable or have my style differ from Cory’s too much – I didn’t want to look too gay and embarrass him in front of his friends, that’s it. When he went to Dublin for the second time, in May, he said my clothes were flashy, so I even went shopping for this trip, but Cory didn’t seem to pay much attention to my new clothes.

He was late to pick me up at the airport. And I swear to God for a moment I thought he wouldn’t show up. I almost panicked. At last, he came, got out of his car and walked slowly to me. I just wanted to run and hug and kiss him. It had been two months! He hugged me tight and said “I missed you.” I missed him too. So fucking much! And it was all right then. He didn’t have our key ring with his car keys, though – that was the first thing I noticed as I got into the car.

And just like that, I crossed three American states in a couple of hours as he drove us to O.C., Maryland. I’m going to be honest, I was a bit disappointed. He didn’t stop to take me to eat or anything. He just wanted to get to the beach. And he smoked in the car all the way, even after I said it bothered me. I was dying to make love to him, but it was as if he poured cold water all over me when he decided to see his friends soon after we checked in instead.

But I was trying to play cool, so I tagged along. And fuck, I was nervous. It was all right. We went out, we had fun, we drank, and we got drunk.

As I danced with his best friend, she asked me: “So what is the plan? Are you moving over here?” I thought Cory would have told her our plans. “Yep, I’m applying for a Master’s here so I can get a visa.” We went back to his friends’ room and we hung out there for a while, laughing and taking pictures and playing. I bit his neck and he bit my arm and we laughed about it. I whispered to his friend “He wanted to break up with me.”

As we left their room, he sulked as he does when he is really drunk. And he refused to have sex with me. “Don’t bitch about me to my friends.” I couldn’t believe it. After two months without seeing each other? He fell asleep. I was so fucking mad. I packed my things and slept in the bathroom. I decided I was leaving the next day. But we buried the hatchet the next morning. How couldn’t I? With that handsome face and boyish features. I’m crazy about him.

I wasn’t sad to leave O.C., to be honest. His friends weren’t very nice or talkative, and I didn’t feel that comfortable. Thank God it was only a weekend. I had more fun the rest of the week, hanging around with his other friends, like the girl who travelled to Ireland with him.

He took me to his work. “Is that him?” a girl shouted from the middle of the car park and came running towards us. I felt much more at ease. Everybody wanted to meet me. We had so much fun during this week, doing simple things like playing badminton or going to bars or just having dinner and watching stupid TV programs. We like watching Judge Judy together and he makes fun of the way I say “Judgy Judgy”. We also watched Extreme Couponing a lot. And he loves watching Big Time Rush, a teenager program.

We managed to find cachaça, the traditional Brazilian liquor made from sugarcane, so I could prepare caipirinha for us, the Brazilian cocktail I had introduced to him and which he loves. I was surprised to find it in a store in rural Pennsylvania, since it’s so hard to find it in Dublin. We love getting drunk on caipirinha and then having sex. The sex has been amazing as usual. I get kind of nervous because I want to impress him all the time, but I don’t think he notices it.

We also went out a couple of times, mostly to local bars and to one nightclub. It cracked me up when this girl came to Cory, all smiley and flirty, and asked him, looking at me: “Hey, Cory, is that your brother?” and he replied curtly: “No, that is my boyfriend.” One day when we were lingering in his bed, we found out that we both have a mole, more or less on the same spot, on the long toe. Cory just chuckled and said that “We are probably gonna find out we are somehow related.” To me, it’s just another sign he is my soulmate.

The best part was to do things together and imagine what our life as a couple will be like. Simple things, like cooking together. We prepared Mac & Cheese, as he had promised me we would, and as I was draining the pasta, he warned me, a serious look on his face “Don’t drop any!” He is so funny. I think he feels the same way, because as we sat down on the couch to eat and watch TV, he blurted out: “Don’t go back to Ireland on Tuesday.”

“Cory, I have to.”

“No, you can stay as an illegal immigrant.”

“Let me do things the right way. I’ll come under a student visa and I’ll do a Master’s here.”

“I don’t want to have the responsibility of you rearranging your life to be with me. I don’t wanna feel guilty if things don’t work out. What if I meet someone else?”

“Can’t you meet someone else if I stay as an illegal immigrant?”

It not only discouraged me but also hurt me. I try to understand, because it’s hard for both of us.

Since yesterday, the idea that we have only a couple of days left hit us as a wave of reality and sadness.

Today I spent more than half of the day either sleeping or just lying in bed, as I sometimes do during many of my days in Dublin. When I finally went outside to the sunny and warm weather, I felt guilty for missing out on such a beautiful morning, which happens in Dublin as well – not that we have days as warm as this one in Ireland. That’s one of the things I miss most about Brazil, along with my family, of course. Will it be fair to be away from them another year doing a Master’s here? My mom is the one who misses me the most. I’ll have to tell her the real reason I’m moving to the States. They would have to know, sooner or later.

Am I depressed? Maybe. Lethargy hits me from time to time.

After leaving the room I felt this enthusiasm in doing everything at the same time. I walked on the road to a store where I bought something to eat, came back to the hotel – taking pictures of cornfields and Amish people on the way - and wrote a paper for Cory. I always refused to write anyone else’s assignments. But he works so much! And it was nice to practice a little. The assignment was on Astronomy, an elective module he chose. Not that I have a clue about Astronomy at all, but at the same time nothing that some research couldn’t sort out.

Had I woken earlier, I would have had time to dedicate to my book or to any other thing. I don’t feel like writing lately. I think it’s the pressure I’ve been feeling. It’s hard to be away from him.

What will happen to us?

What if I don’t get accepted at the university? Am I prepared to join a university in a foreign language? My English is all right, I know, but is that enough?

What if I don’t get a visa?

Isn’t it unfortunate that we love each other so much and are so far away and, worse than that, have so many other gaps such as bureaucratic and visa matters between us?

He met me in a bar and we’ve been together for four months now. It’s only the third time we’ve met. He says “it’s unrealistic.” For me unrealistic is staying here as an illegal immigrant, leaving my apartment, my books, my clothes, my job, leaving everything behind and never being able to leave and visit my family back home in Brazil.

I thought it would be easier to leave him instead of being the one left at the airport, but I’m not sure anymore.

Why does he treat me so badly sometimes? It makes me think about breaking up with him. It makes me think that it would be easier just to leave him. But then he comes saying something sweet and I forget his meanness and rudeness.

Yesterday he took me to a park, Hershey Park, and I finally got to go on a Ferris wheel. As a child, I’d never been on one and after growing up I had this silly idea that I would only go on a Ferris wheel with the love of my life. But once on the ride, after telling this to him and not having him sit beside me and giving me a so-desired kiss, I had this lump in my throat. Did this mean something? Did the fact that he does not have our key ring on his keychain mean something?

At the end of the day, as the night was falling, I sat down on a bench while he smoked in the smoking area of the park. I noticed his expression had changed. He looked pensive. When he finished, he walked slowly towards me and kept staring at me. “What’s the matter?” I asked. “Don’t go back” he said again. He looked miserable. It broke my heart.

Maybe he is right. Maybe everybody is right in thinking that our situation is unrealistic. I believe in love. I believe in the power of love. But I can’t fight by myself. Because love is not a road that can be walked by one person alone. If he doesn’t believe in us, what can I do to perpetuate our relationship?

#

Dublin, Ireland, April 20th, 2011

I didn’t want to go out on Sunday, March 6th. I hadn’t been to the gay scene in a while, but some of my straight friends wanted to go, and I thought “all right, let’s do it.” I started to feel impatient when the girls told me they were late. And it irritated me that they were drunk and wanted to stop for food before going to The George. By the time we got there, I had to pay to get in and I nearly gave up. I’m happy I didn’t. More than happy, I’m over the moon.

He was standing close to the bar and he caught my eye as soon as I got in. Man, he is handsome, I thought. He looked foreign. German, I guessed. He was wearing a grey jumper and, cheesy as it sounds, it seemed there was a halo around his head. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to be gay. Had we not been in a gay place, I wouldn’t have suspected he was. My girl friend noticed him too. Soon he started staring back and we were trying to figure out which of us he was staring at.

I had come back from Brazil a few weeks earlier. I was tanned and had put on a bit of weight (mom’s food), which in my case is a good thing and I knew I was looking good. Still, I couldn’t believe he was looking at me. He smiled and I smiled back. I wasn’t in a hurry. I was fed up with the whole ‘look, grab, kiss’ thing and I took my time. I enjoyed the flirting. I wasn’t desperate. We kept staring at each other for a long time until my friends decided to move to a different spot. When I went back, I couldn’t find him.

Later he would tell me how he elbowed me on purpose in the bathroom. I swear to God I don’t remember that. Luck was by my side and I spotted him again walking to the bar. I didn’t hesitate. I made my way quickly and measured my steps to get there exactly at the same time as him, and only slowed down when I was sure I got the time right. I leaned on the bar beside him. He looked at me and smiled.

“What’s up” was the first thing he said to me, pouting a little bit, a smile playing in the corner of his lips. I think we kissed then. And only later we introduced ourselves. When I told him I’m from Brazil, he said “How exotic!” I liked that. I wasn’t exotic in the eyes of gay Irish guys. Too many gay Brazilians in Dublin, they knew. He was American. I paid for his drink, and he grabbed my hand and took me to his table.

“I told all my friends I’d come to Ireland and meet the love of my life and take him back with me to the States.”

I think that was the moment I fell in love with him. I always longed to have someone to call “the love of my life.” He sat on my lap and asked his girl friend to take a picture of us. She found my accent cool. We kissed again. I invited him to come back over to my place. We exchanged phone numbers instead. I played with the fact that there is a “911” on my number and told him: “Call me if you have any emergency.” He loved the joke and said: “You probably say that to all the guys”.

We went on a date the following night. It had been a while since I had one. Actually, I couldn’t really remember the last time. He walked into the bar and I walked to him and kissed him. He seemed uncomfortable. I was too eager. We drank and kissed and talked, trying to understand each other. American accents were always easier for me to understand but he mumbled so much I could barely make out the words he was saying. He taught me the word “douchebag” which we would soon start using to call each other, affectionately. As we left the bar, the bartender asked us: “Are you twins?” I replied: “If we were, this would be incest” and kissed him. He invited me back to his hotel room which he was sharing with his friend. We slept together. And later he would tell me how, in the middle of the night, he woke his friend up, lifted the duvet, and told her to check out my body. He is a character!

We met again on Tuesday night and went to a nightclub. We were both in love by then. It’s funny how people get interested in you when they see that you are taken. A guy walked to us and said “High five for an Irish Brokeback Mountain threesome.” We both stared at him in disbelief. It never crossed our minds to share each other with someone else. “I would never have a threesome with someone I care for,” he told me and earned brownie points for that. It was that night that I asked one of the Asian girls who walk around taking pictures for key rings to take a picture of us. At the end of the night we both had the key rings with our picture. He went back to my place with me. We held each other tightly and he quoted a biblical passage to me. Ruth 1:16: “But Ruth replied ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me’.” I cried. I think he did, too. He slept fully clothed and, in the morning, when I woke up, he was holding my penis over my underwear. I thought it was cute. We were so lost in love!

We lingered in bed and talked. I found out he had written a note to me:

“Dear Douchebag,

…What’s up? You’re the cutest guy I ever met. Seriously, America rocks and is the greatest country in the world!!! You should come to Pennsylvania with me. Maybe we could have a relationship, for a month and three-quarters. You look good in yellow and you should start smoking. I like your mole and giraffe bookmark. You should stop liking Madonna. She’s awful. My life would suck without you. You’re very cute when you sleep. I’m really glad I met you even though we’re just going to end up miserable in the end :-( (that’s a sad face). You’re sleeping so I’m going to join you now. Cory”

When I finished reading the note I remember thinking “I’m never moving to the States. This guy is going to move here.”

To me it all made sense. That was the reason I had never had a boyfriend. Well, I had had one, for a month and three-quarters, a long time ago. Cory was my soulmate.

Of course, we hung out together on Wednesday again and I stayed the night with him and his friend back in the hotel. I don’t like the fact he smokes but I found it endearing that he kept asking me to go outside with him to keep him company while he did. On Thursday night I took him and his friend for dinner. We went to a pub in Temple Bar to drink afterwards. “You are so dapper” he said to me. I thanked him and later looked the word up in the dictionary. Back in the hotel, his friend left us alone in the room for a while. Our sex was urgent, awkward and perfect at the same time. His body is gorgeous. He is so fit and tanned and wonderful. Yeah, I’m head over heels.

He promised me he would come back. He said we will eat Mac & Cheese. I said I will make caipirinha for him.

He gave me one of his pajama bottoms and I gave him the giraffe bookmark he liked and my Havaianas flip-flops. I went to the airport with them on Friday morning. I cried, of course. I kissed him, not worrying about what people would say. “I’ll be back” he said again.

It was one of the best weeks of my life (five days, to be precise). As sad as I felt to see him go, I was happy I had met him. I was sure he would come back to me. And I knew I was going to apply for a visa to the U.S.A. and I could at least visit him. I’ll start looking up alternatives. I must find a way. It’ll be hard in the beginning but what do months mean for someone who has waited his whole life? I waited my whole life for Cory.

It is overwhelming.

People see our pictures and say how much we look alike.

Yesterday I got a package from him. A stuffed giraffe with a Pennsylvania State University t-shirt. The cutest thing ever. Actually, as cute as the video he posted on my Facebook, just saying “Hey, I miss you, babe.” He has his tickets already. He is coming back on the 11th of May. I can’t wait. I hope he knows how much I miss him too.

We are a very “unlikely-to-happen-couple.” I’m aware of that. We are gay. A Brazilian guy who lives in Ireland and an American guy who was out of his country on holiday for the first time in his life. I’m 30, he is 24 and we celebrate our love as teenagers. No, we believe in our love as teenagers. And that’s why we can overcome the ocean and miles that separate us. Because of love. Love changes everything.



By Rodrigo Schönardie

Comentarios


bottom of page