Posted by Martin
England, my home.
Well, not really. But that’s how it felt when I stepped off the plane at Terminal Four, into that building that reminded me of a temporary shed, constructed to house refugees, the unloved, the unwanted. That’s how I’d been feeling all the way back from Delhi. I was undesirable, unloved and unlovable and that’s what I deserved.
And this in spite of an upgrade. Maybe it was the champagne. Champagne always makes me maudlin.
Delhi had been fantastic. I’d been there with Hari, meeting some of his cousins, doing a bit of travelling and a bit of sight seeing. We’d met the guy that first taught Hari massage, and he’d treated us both to a full tantric massage. We’d seen the sun rise over the Taj Mahal, and we’d drunk ourselves silly on gin and tonic as the evenings fell. I got a great tan. And then it all went horribly wrong.
We’re talking almost three months ago now, but it really hurts, still. I had to change terminal at Heathrow, and I had a long weight, so I went to WH Smith for something to read. And I started crying. Fuck it, a 27 year-old guy bursting in to tears in Smith’s for no good reason.
I think it was the familiarity, really. The feeling that I was home. The previous two weeks had been so great, so exciting, and at the end so awful. And it had all been going so well.
We’d had a drink or two. We were having dinner at the Oberoi, celebrating our last night in Delhi before we flew back to Scotland, and Hari had been ordering all sorts of things from the menu that I wouldn’t have picked for myself, but I loved every mouth full. Good food and good wine get me romantic, so I was doing the whole flirting thing, and I told him I loved him, and I was looking forward to a damn good session when we got back to our room. And over a spun sugar dessert I asked him to marry me.
And he didn’t say yes. He didn’t say no, either. He just took a big breath.
I don’t even know where the question came from. Civil partnerships had been all over the newspapers before we’d left, but until the words tumbled awkwardly from my mouth I hadn’t thought about them. And suddenly I was all excited, because it was actually what I wanted and I was just waiting for him to answer when he said nothing. And then he swigged down his wine. And then he said – and I remember these words better than any of the argument that followed them – “Where on earth did you get that idea from?”
And then the argument. I’ll distil it down because frankly I’m not certain I want to recreate it in my head. But. I wanted to make a commitment. He already was committed and didn’t need a piece of paper to prove it. I couldn’t believe that he didn’t want to marry me. He couldn’t believe it mattered. And after that, it got nasty, and it got personal, and he left. He told me to move out. I had no doubt that he meant it.
I went back to the room. I cried myself to something near sleep. I got up at three in the morning and cried my way to the airport, and downed my sorrows in cheap champagne.
By the time I got to Heathrow, my head was all over the place. Part of me was plotting how to get him back. Part of me never wanted to see him again. Part of me was still wanting that drunken shag that I’d been looking forward to, and I ended up satisfying that part with the help of a nineteen year old baggage handler. That didn’t help anything at all, and the flight back to Scotland was as awful as the flight from Delhi, but with extra guilt thrown in.
I’ve seen Hari once since then. From a distance. I moved out, and into the spare room at my friend Cal’s place until I can get myself somewhere new. It’s helped me get some perspective, I think. I’m not shagging Cal. I’m not shagging anyone except for solo practice sessions. It’s still Hari that I think about, but it’s Hari as he would be ten years from now if we were still together. I talk to Cal about it, though, and he kind of understands.
I thought I had it all, really I did. In a sense, I did have it all, but I wanted more. Before I met Hari I was pretty heavily in denial, and Hari showed me that I was a better person for being true to myself. In the end I was true to myself, and it left me here. Fucked up, pissed off, and bitter. And better? Who knows.
Is there a lesson to be learned from this, something for me to share with the lovely Mike and his lovely readers? I think there is, and it’s not about me, or about Hari, or about the sweet baggage handler at Heathrow whose skin tastes of honey. It’s about the press, about tabloids, about hype, and about following celebrity trends. Because they’re not real people, they don’t live in the real world, and although they probably have the same fights and tears and hugs and ineptitudes as the rest of us, we don’t see them. We see their airbrushed lives where two men can promise to commit and it all works out fine and makes the front page and turns the head of impressionable guys like me. Everyone’s different, and I wish them the best of luck for the future. But part of me still blames Elton John and David Furnish for the end of the best relationship I have ever had.