Our Gay Modern Love Essay Contest continues! In this essay, by Gay Matt, our hero finds, and leaves, love on a Newark-to-Los Angeles red-eye: "My twenties were about as romantic as taking steel wool and rubbing it on your balls, then soaking them in grain alcohol. Sure, I had a long-term relationship, but it ended with even more than the usual gay drama..."
Though my relationships didn't flourish, my career did. Now that my income has finally caught up with my attitude, I am much more relaxed and easygoing than you could ever tell looking at my travel attitude. Traveling is a huge part of my job, and I find myself on a plane four times a week.
Being an accustomed road warrior, I have OCD travel idiosyncrasies akin to the manic behavior of our beloved Brit-Brit. I sit in seat 1A on every flight. I have a vodka tonic prior to take off, and water with lemon with my plane fare dinner. I have had about 210 people sit next to me in 1B in 2007. Normally, I don't even look at them.
Then today's 1B came along. I was flying from LA to Newark, and was already in a bad mood because I hate LA, I hate red eyes, and I can't even remember where I parked my car because I've been on the road for two weeks. Early in my travel days, I used to pray to the travel gods for the hot guy to sit next to me. Unfortunately, that never happened.
500,000 frequent flyer miles, it did. I ordered my vodka tonic, and noticed that someone was putting up a Tumi computer bag identical to mine. This of course, piqued my shallow interest, and I looked up to see a tanned wonder in True Religion jeans putting his luggage away. Not that I'm totally one of those standard label queens or anything. He of course, had my vacuous Valley Girl side at Tumi.
He had the cutest smile, which was enough for me. He sat down, gave me a cute half smile like the one Katie Holmes used to sport before she went apeshit crazy and married that freak. Then he promptly ignored me. I returned a "bitch please, you ain't all that" with my eyes and we sat in contemptuous Issey Miyake-soaked silence. I leaned over as to see what silence he was steeping in, and it was Prada Amber. Figures.
Preparing for flight, I reached down into my flight bag stashed illegally next to my seat and pulled out my latest trendy travel book, The Average American Male. I heard a "hey", and looked up to see 1B with a goofy smile on his face holding up a copy of the same book. It was actually endearing, and enough to crack my facade and make me smile warmly, losing the whole bitch armor.
We treated each other like old friends from that point on. We giggled so much we were getting dirty looks from 2F. We didn't touch our food when it came, we just coyly pushed it around and batted our eyelashes, it was just like Lady and the Tramp, that Disney love shit.
We talked about our lives. He too was in my industry and worked for a partner company, so we talked about our clients, what we did, where we were from. Hell, it was better than any planned first date I had ever been on. He felt the same way.
A few hours into it, we were whispering as not to wake the sleeping passengers. I told him more than if I was coked out at an ecstasy party. At 30,000 feet, I had no more dating inhibitions and was the most honest and open I had ever been, and it felt great. We talked and laughed the entire flight, even though it was a red eye.
I looked down and noticed we were passing PA, and that we would descend soon. We intertwined hands and, no words spoken, we kissed, up until the scary last call lights came on. It was the sweetest, most romantic kiss I ever had, even after being in the air 6 hours. It was gentle yet strong all at once, and it communicated to us just as much as it would if we were talking. Or lesbians. It was definitely my first "I'm wishing a U-Haul was waiting outside" kiss. It took my breath, and manhood away. We didn't say a word. There was nothing to be said.
We landed, knowing we both made the connection of a lifetime, but knowing it didn't fit into our schedules. My client is in Oklahoma and his is in Kentucky. He lives in Connecticut, and I live in Philadelphia. We de-planed, pulled our matching Tumis down and walked silently down and out into the terminal. We got on the AirTrain, rode it to P4, and loaded up our quintessential German rides. Mine Audi, his BMW, both new, both fabulous.
We smiled that unrequited "What the fuck do we do now?" smile, and left each other. At 30,000 feet, we were soulmates. On the ground, we had lives, deadlines, awful travel schedules.
Every flight since my heart skips a beat when I remember that night and I sit wistfully every week, a part of me hoping that the possible potential love of my life will light up my world again with his half smile. Yeah, I puked a little too. Get over it.