(Some part of this story has been altered, because, who knows, maybe YOU are reading it.)
Though the rain, I walked toward East on 42nd Street.
"Okay. I'm heading there."
I spoke to my cell phone.
"I'm stuck on the Express way. It's raining really hard. Go find place and hang out. Don't stand in the rain. I will call you when I'm near."
I folded my cell phone and place it in my pocket.
7:54PM - We are supposed to meet at 8:00PM, but due to the rain, I waited inside of Starbucks coffee until 8:35 PM, where he called again.
"Okay. I'm here."
"On my way."
"Wait, how am I going to recognize you?"
"Don't worry. I know how you look."
"Oh. Well, black pants, blue strip shirt."
"I'm at the corner right now."
Still on the phone with Normie (it's a fake name), I walked out of the Starbucks and headed to the corner.
The rain stopped. This was a good thing. I couldn't possibly held my cell phone with one hand, and both Macchiato and the umbrella with the other.
"White shirt, jeans, waving."
"I see you. See me? I'm crossing the lights right now. With that police car behind me."
"Yes Yes. I see you."
We finally met, shook hands, and he asked me to get in his car.
Normie, in his 40's, looked nervously at me.
"So, uh, are you disappointed?"
"Disappointed about what?" I asked.
He looked me up and down, and finally said..."You are exactly how you look in the picture."
"Then who else would be in the picture?" I look at him, funny.
"Well, okay, let's talk, let's talk."
I took a sip of my coffee, and said in a calm voice, "Didn't you have some questions that you want to know? I'm here to help."
On Tuesday, I received an email from a man who, claimed to be Bisexual. Or rather, just got out of a marriage with a woman. He questioned his sexuality and needed someone who he can speak to, to be open to. Someone who is willing to help him.
The thing is, I have no idea how he got my email address (Despite the fact that I'm all over the internet). And, why me?
But for some reason, I agreed to meet him. Maybe I wanted to help. Because, it took me a long way to feel comfortable with my own sexuality (What? I'm GAY? Heck YEAH!) - for someone who was married for years, battling the feeling of homosexuality, and struggling to find his own identity... It must have been really hard. Really really hard.
"I'm not hungry. Let's just chat here." I said.
I looked at him while he told me about how he has always been thinking about men. Even though he still have sexual feeling towards women. Confused and scared.
"Why don't you go to some gay bars and clubs, just to check thing out?"
"No. I will never do that. At least, not in New York."
"Fear of someone will recognize you?"
He didn't answer.
But I know exactly how he felt. It took me while to feel comfortable to stand in public under a Rainbow flag.
"Who ever bump into you at the bar, pretty much is gay or just very open minded."
"I maybe sound naive to say this, but we don't just accept who we are over night. At least, for me, it took me years. And, for those people who have been though the period of self-realization and understand... Know how difficult it can be. And we, respect each other. If I see someone I recognize from work, I'd go say 'Hi' - but less likely I will announce to the world that my fellow co-worker is gay. I don't see what purpose that would serve. In the community, being the minority in the society, we respect each other a lot."
He didn't answer.
"Or you can go online. There are chat rooms that you go, and talk with people. I think all you need, is to know more gay or bisexuals."
Then I went on, to tell him how relieved I felt, when I first attended the LGBTA (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Association) on campus.
"I realized, that I'm not the only one. I'm not "DIFFERENT" in any way. There are people who are just like me."
Normie, turned his head a little.
"So, it was like that you wake up, and you know you are gay."
"No. Of course not. After being involved in the group, there's NOT one day, I would thought myself of being 'GAY'. It's about living, and it was part of my life. I attended the meetings and was involved in the events for 4 years... They are just like every day activities. I don't do certain things to BE gay. We are not doing any of the events to BE gay. It was part of my life, and experience of growing up, of being me. My life."
Normie seemed confused.
"You are looking at homosexually as something, or some sort of characteristics. You can't just 'BECOME' gay. People just don't 'become' gay over night. When I was young, I have always been attracted to people of same sex. I just didn't know how to call it. I learned the word "GAY" when I was 16. Did I try to 'become' gay? No. I am gay, right from the moment I was born."
Normie asked if I ever find women attractive.
"Yes, of course. There are many gorgeous women out there. They are pretty, yes, but I'm not sexually aroused by them. I was, never, and never had any interests in having sex with a woman."
Normie then told me that he is sexually attracted to women, and have been thinking about men for a very long time.
"So, what's the problem with that? There's nothing wrong of being Bisexual. If you like girls, go for it. If you like guys, go for it. No one is here to tell you what you have to be. It's your life, and do whatever you need to make it worth living. Why would you let other people telling you how to live your own life? - But remember to play safe."
"I want that experience. I really want to do it."
"If you want something. You've got to reach out and get it. You will not get anything by locking yourself up behind doors."
He leaned back to the chair. Let out a little sigh.
"You know what I really want to do?"
"Let's go back to my place."
Normie, looked at me in the eyes... "I want you to help me."
"Help me with that experience."
"I want to do it with you."
"It? You want to have SEX with ME?!"
"No, not sex. No intercourse or anything. Just touching, feeling... Being naked."
"And how is that going to help you?!"
"After I have done it with a guy, I will know what I am."
I shook my head. "Oh, believe me. It's not that easy. You will want more."
"If I done it, I will know if I'm interested in men or not."
"You have been THINKING about it for almost your entire life time. 'Thinking' is having an 'Interest,' don't you get it?" I was running out of breath.
"So, come on, what do you say?"
"Why not? We'll do it in front of nice fire place, I'll place soft music...and..."
"Apparently, you and I came to this meeting with different intention." I cut him off.
He didn't say anything.
"I came, to offer you my advice, as someone, who you can talk about your concerns that you cannot discuss with your family. You, on the other hand, expect this 'help' to come from sexual experience. I'm sorry, but it takes more than just physical experience to really identify your sexuality."
"It will be very good."
"There are emotion involved. Attraction comes in different forms. I can be attracted to a woman, because of her looks, personality, or just the over all package. Sometimes, a woman will totally make me want to kiss her on the cheek. But, emotionally, that doesn't lead me to physically wanting her in the more intimate way. There are different levels..."
"I can picture myself rubbing my hands all over your body..."
"Listen, I'm not done yet."
"I like your body...."
"I gained 5 lbs, damn it. But here is the deal. You should have addressed what exactly you are seeking when we first exchange email. You didn't even write anything much over the email."
"I know. Sorry."
"You should have made it clear, that you are curious, and looking for your first sexual whatever experience with a man."
"I know, but you have been really helpful. I learned so much in the last 15 minutes, that I had never thought in the last 20 years."
"I'm sorry, but I cannot help you with that experience you are looking for."
"Please help me..."
"I have a boyfriend you know."
"Come on you didn't tell me?"
"Did you tell me that you are looking for sex in the email? No. You didn't. You said you needed help. You needed someone to talk to."
"Life is like two way streets. You need to make both sides agree in the direction that will promote smooth traffic flow. You need to make your motive clear, in order to find someone who will agree upon your intention."
"It takes two to tango. I'm sure there are many other men out there, who are into curious man, or even, curious themselves. You guys can go and explore all you want."
"You are right... How about, you and you boyfriend, both come to my place and..."
"You crazy?! That's never going to happen."
I took a deep breath, the said..."Anything else?"
"Let me drive you home."
"No. Thank you. I got my monthly pass."
"You came to help me, I want to something back in appreciation."
"Play safe. Use condom whenever you go on your little exploration trip."
Then I started to give him lectures on HIV and Safe Sex.
"Now I'm scared. I don't think I'll do it with a man." He said.
"You told me you had sex with a woman two weeks ago."
"Where you met her?"
"At the club."
"And she's HIV negative, STD Free?"
He got quiet.
"It's not just a 'gay' thing you know. It can happen to anyone. Straight, Gay, Bi... Anyone."
Then I continue my lecture on Safe Sex and HIV testing, and other resources that are available.
"You know, this didn't end up being what I expected. You are like, sent from God... I really thank you for all this."
"Don't flatter me. I'm just finishing up what I came for."
I grabbed my bag.
"Anything else that I can help you with?"
He extended his hand to shake my hand.
"So, are you clean?" He said.
"None of your beeswax."
I opened the door and walked out.
Half way down the street, I realized that I have left my umbrella in his car.
I called his cell phone... But the answering machine picked up. After a brief message, it beeped.
"Hi, it's Wayne. You know, I left my umbrella in your car... So if you are still in the city..."
Then I thought about it a little...
"Never mind. Throw it away. It's broken anyway."