I never meant to fall out of love with him, then again does anyone ever mean to fall out of love? There wasn’t a particular day, or an exact moment, it just happened. You are judging me. You think what I am saying is cliché, and it probably is. It wasn’t like one minute I was the happiest person in the world, and the next minute I wasn’t. And, it wasn’t like I had an affair, or even cheated. You are still judging. I can see you sitting there, your body becoming crossed, tangled, and tense. I don’t expect you to understand, no one understands unless you have fallen out of love. Everyone always tells their story of how they fell in love, that magical moment. So, I will tell you how one person, me, falls out of love.
First let me introduce myself. My name is Gustav. My parents had a fascination with the Kiss, from the painter Gustav Klimpt, and so they named me after him. The Kiss sums up my parents’ marriage, always kissing. My parents are still madly in love, which is why they didn’t understand why I left. I’m average looking, I look like anyone else. Another reason why I get the question, “Why would you leave him?” Jonah is very handsome. Quite the opposite of me. It seemed like we had everything. Remember how Jonah was humbled by the whale? Maybe I was Jonah’s whale. Not that I am large, but in the sense that I devoured him and took everything away from him. I saw it. I could see that I drained him, I was a burden. He won’t ever admit it, he doesn’t have to. I am the bad guy in this scenario. That is the thing about Jonah, was this amazing guy, full of passion and life. He slowly started to change as the years went by, and I could see that it was my fault.
Jonah, looked like a Jonah. Tall, sun kissed skin, big brown eyes, and slightly curly hair that moved in the wind. The first time I saw him I was taken back by how beautiful he was. It was like this Greek sculpture coming to life. That first time I saw him, he didn’t even notice me. It should have been a sign right? If it wasn’t love as first sight then it was never meant to be, right? I mean, it wasn’t like musical chairs and we were the last ones standing.
The first time I ever saw Jonah was at a birthday party for a mutual friend. It was in this awful little apartment in Williamsburg. It was the kind of apartment that had the lingering smell of weed. The kind of apartment that had old wall paper peeling off the walls, with ornate crown molding that had been chipped at. Gia was the type of girl who wore leotards and fur coats, big sunglasses and insisted that everything was art. She smoked too much for her age, and never drank enough. Her fashionable friends crowded into her little apartment, spread across miss matching wooden chairs, velvet couches, and leaning against walls. The air was filled with laughter and smoke, Gia’s voice was Jersey loud, “Darling this” and, “Darling that.” She was quite entertaining, watching her from the corner of the kitchen, she was quite the hostess.
I got there at 8:30, since the invite said 8:00. I figured to arrive on time was rude, and fifteen minutes late would be fashionably late. Since her friends are quite the fashionistas, I figured arriving at 8:30 was appropriate. I waited outside on the stoop till about 9:20 because Gia wasn’t even there yet. She was running late, why wasn’t I surprised. We were the only ones in the apartment until about 11:30, talking about everything. Her latest gallery exhibits, her sexual conquests, a great photograph she saw in the Post, and everything else that could have come up. Around 11:30 everyone showed up, a never ending line of the most beautiful, most eccentric people you will ever see. And they brought the most thoughtful, elegant gifts: a porcelain powder box, an enamel bracelet with little elephants dangling from it, and a jade comb. All gifts that Gia would ooze over, pet, and delicately stroke as if it was a crown jewel.
So, as the night turned into the start of morning hours, I found myself cozied up in the kitchen corner. I started dazing in and out of sleep, and that is when Jonah walked in. He tall physique and striking looks. His facial hair was slightly grown out, and his hair was tousled up and banded with a headband. Wearing a white v-neck, a fitted blazer, and jeans slightly rolled up showing off his bare ankles. Something that would have been so taboo for women back in the day, had now become a trend. He came in with a crowd of beautiful men and women. All of them looked like models from the pages of a European fashion magazine. Each one had something incredibly unique about them, and of course they were fawned over by all of the party guests. He walked right into the kitchen, opened the fridge to get out a bottle of champagne, and didn’t even notice me. Jonah smelled of cinnamon and oranges that night, dumb of me to remember. But he literally smelled like Christmas.
The whole night I stayed in the corner, watching him interact with all of the guests. His long arms would stretch out occasionally, and his hands would move fast when talking. Occasionally his eyes would grow and his mouth would drop open. Jonah was quite animated. My body grew tired, so I decided to leave. Kissing Gia on the cheek but looking at Jonah, that was my last impression of him of the night. As I walked towards the subway, the cold erased any memory of him. That was the first and last time I would see Jonah, well that year. Well, for a long while. The next time I would see him was at another one of Gia’s parties and we didn’t recognize each other, nor did we speak.
See, our story is really uneventful. At the second party, I was actually set up on a blind date by Gia. Alfred was really nice. He was exactly what you would expect one of Gia’s friends to be. Tall and lean, a yoga instructor, and had his Master’s degree in finance. Somewhere between UCLA and NYU he found yoga, and became obsessed. He didn’t smoke, he didn’t drink, he was on his own path towards enlightenment. He was entertaining and charismatic. In fact, I went home with him that night. His body would bend and twist, stretch and contract. He was so in tune with his body, he was so in tune with my body. It was great. I saw Alfred for a few weeks, but it didn’t last as he felt I was too materialistic.
There wasn’t a lot that I owned. My apartment was simple. I just happened to like a lot of different things. It wasn’t materialism, it was experiencing different things. I had an okay job, it wasn’t something to brag about. My apartment is rent controlled, so that is awesome. I like to do things that aren’t in my character. It is why I like Gia so much. If you really knew me, you wouldn’t ever think I was this hip cool person. The reality is, I am quite plain, and quite average in every regard. It is why I try really hard to familiarize myself in every subject possible. If I am going to be plain, at least I can be interesting to talk to. It was that trait of mine that started the first conversation with Jonah. Well, he was eves dropping and invited himself into the conversation. Because I didn’t recognize his voice, as it came over my shoulder, I was quite irritated.
Sitting at a coffee quaint coffee shop, drinking coffee and talking with another friend of mine, Lupita. She was this short, thin, fiery broadway singer. We were talking about New York City Ballet’s new premier. His voiced slid over my shoulder, “It was quite fantastic if you ask me.”
Lupita fired off quickly, “Who asked you?”
I turned, and didn’t recognize him, as his hair was now shorter, combed over and his face was shaved. “You didn’t, but I am just saying that it was a brilliant performance.”
“A brilliant performance? Were you even there?” Lupita’s patience was wearing thin.
“You didn’t think that it was long and drawn out?” I chimed in, trying to break up the conversation. Lupita wanted the logistics, I just wanted him to present his opinion on why it was so fantastic.
“Nope. Not one bit. The girl was so graceful-”
“They are all graceful, they are ballet dancers. If they weren’t graceful it wouldn’t be ballet. You obviously don’t know what you are talking. And before you go on any more, eves dropping and butting into someone else’s conversation is rude. You parents ovio didn’t teach you manners.”
“Lupita, that is a little harsh,” my irritation was swallowed by embarrassment.
“She is right. It was rude of me. Sorry to interrupt,” he turned back around, as did I. I could feel his ego laying on the floor, slain by a 5’4”, Queens born firecracker.
“Well on the sour note, I have to get running to rehearsal. I will call you later. Maybe we can catch a movie. Love you Gustav,” she kissed me on the cheek and buttoned up her coat. She walked away, her curly hair bouncing up and down. I sat there looking down at my half empty cappuccino and as I looked up, Jonah was sitting across from me.
“I wanted to apologize for eves dropping. I am not normally like that. I just love theatre.”
“Oh, it’ okay. Lupita is just really opinionated.”
“I could tell. I’m Jonah.”
“Pleasure, I am Gustav.”
“Like the painter?”
“Exactly like the painter.”
We talked about nothing important, but touched on a variety of subjects. It wasn’t anything serious. As I excused myself because I had to go pick up my dry cleaning before it closed, we said our good byes. Walking down the labyrinth of streets, I finally got to my dry cleaners. After picking it up and leaving the store, Jonah was standing outside smoking, “I didn’t mean to follow you, not trying to scare you. Or be creepy stalker, I just didn’t get your number.”
“Oh, my number?”
“You are very interesting.”
“Thanks, I think. Here is my number,” ripping off the dry cleaning tag, and handing it to him.
“Okay, well have a good evening,” starting to walk away, and turning the corner, my phone started to ring.
“This is Jonah.”
I started to laugh.
“Do you want to grab dinner right now?”
“I need to drop off my dry cleaning.”
“Oh, are you brushing me off.”
“Nope. Not at all. I just don’t want to be carrying dry cleaning to dinner.”
“That make sense. Wait there, I’ll walk you home.”
We never made it to dinner. Instead we ended up having sex on my couch. That is what I thought of it all, just a one night stand. The crazy part was, he never left. We both fell asleep, and then the next morning, I woke up to him making pancakes. I went to work, and so did he. By the time I had gotten home from work he was standing outside of my building with take out, “I owed you dinner.” And that is how Jonah and I got together.
Just like how we fell in love, we fell out of love the same way. This small gradual process that happened day by day. We had been together for five years, and everything seemed normal. From getting a bigger place together, to vacations, and meeting each other's families. It all seemed great. Jonah got a promotion at work to be the director of marketing, so he started to work longer hours and his stress level was raised. I was already putting in 60 hours work weeks, and was constantly tired. Our first major fight happened that year. It was bound to happen, as we never really fought in five years. And it seems that gay relationships expire after five years, or so we had been told.
“You couldn’t have picked up the dry cleaning? It is literally on your way home from work.”
“Seriously, I am not your assistant, and don’t raise your voice at me.”
“I am not raising my voice, I am just pointing out that I have nothing to wear for tomorrow now.”
“Look, you should have picked up the dry cleaning yesterday when I reminded you.”
“I’m so fuckin’ busy. You wanted me to cross all of manhattan to go get it!”
“I’m not busy? You are the one who wanted me to make more money and go after the promotion at work.”
“I could care less how much money you make. It isn’t like we use your money to pay bills anyways.”
“So, it is about money then? Because you pay for everything, I should be your servant?”
“I never said that. You are twisting what I am saying.”
“You know what, I am going to Richard’s. Have a good fuckin’ night!” He slammed the door an left. I didn’t call him, and he didn’t call me. I didn’t see or hear from him for two weeks.
The day he came home, I was sitting in the kitchen drinking my coffee and doing the crossword puzzle. He opened the door, and walked into the bedroom, “I was thinking we should go have thai for dinner?”
“What about that place in Midtown. You really liked that place.”
“We can, or we can just order in from the place you like around the corner.”
“You don’t like their noodles. Remember?”
“Oh yeah, but I could order massuman.”
“Okay, lets do that.”