CHAPTER TWLEVE: FINDING THAT GREEN LIGHT

Dear diary, it happened again. I vowed to myself that I would never let a guy make me feel this way so quickly but here we are. 

He was the last person I thought I would catch feelings for. The first night we met, I thought he was so egoistical but he eventually won me over with his natural charm, his James Franco eyes, and his cheeky smile that could have my heart racing in a second. I felt nervous and vulnerable about feeling this way, but I also secretly loved it. I felt wanted and worthy again.

I was sitting on my bed procrastinating from packing for my flight to Sydney when I stumbled across Liam’s profile on Grindr. I instantly thought he was attractive and sent him a message asking how his day was. Flirty messages went back and forth, and I decided to do what every millennial does when you start talking to someone, I stalked him on Instagram. There I was scrolling through his summer soaked profile when this really retro looking shirt caught my eye. It was totally my style and I instantly fell in love (with it, not him). I took a screen-shot of the picture and sent it to him and was like “Dude, I love this shirt! I wish I had it with me to take to Sydney tomorrow”. He flirtatiously replied like “Would you like me to bring it around to you?” and let’s be honest, I couldn't say no to that offer.

I always thought Grindr was a bit like the Uber Eats of the gays. Because when you're “hungry” you scroll through the app like “hmmm what should I have for dinner? Mexican? oooh spicy. Chinese? oooh multicultural”. But then I’m usually like “Oh no no no, German sausage in my bun please”. It’s a bit superficial but that’s what the gay dating scene is like. At this point I thought I was so cool and smart because I’d managed to make a life hack and created Uber ASOS because I had this guy coming around to deliver me a shirt. I also knew he had other intentions for when he came over and so did I. I mean, he was super attractive, very much my type and seemed really confident and was easy to talk to. Not to mention I had a lot of sexual tension that I needed to unleash. So he came over with the shirt in his hand and I was instantly drawn to his cheeky smile that made me feel uncharacteristically calm. We sat on my bed throwing some flirty banter back and forth whilst talking about music we loved, our monotonous day jobs, and our dreams that we wanted to chase. However he had this over-confident aura around him that made me start to feel unattracted to him. He kept telling me he was a “no strings attached” type of guy and I told him that was totally okay because I wasn't looking for anything at the moment.So we kept talking and there was definitely chemistry between us, I was really intrigued because I usually don’t find those ego filled boys attractive. But he kept relaying the “non strings attached” message and I ended up saying “Are you trying to tell me that or are you trying to tell yourself?” He looked at me kind of shocked and kept reiterating why and I stopped him and said “dude, you’ve told me 15 times now so I think I get the message”. With him constantly relaying that fact it started to make me feel really cheap and even more unworthy of attention than I already did. Because at the end of the day, even if I wasn’t looking for a relationship at the time, we just want to keep the illusion alive. We want to believe in the magic of possibility and fate. We kept talking which eventually lead to making out and then our clothes were being ripped off, because after all, I was very attracted to him. But I decided I wasn't going to have sex with him, I was just going to tease him a little. So as he was trying to take it to the next level I was like “hmmm I’m not really feeling it tonight, sorry buddy. I have an early flight so I probably should go to sleep soon”. He looked at me shocked and disappointed. He started to beg a little and try to convince me that it was a good idea but I wasn't budging. I knew that we would have good sex, but I wasn't going to give in. After all his over the top “no strings attached” comments, I decided to play it safe and protect my feelings. One thing I’d learnt from my previous experiences was that no one should ever make you feel uncomfortable or make you feel less about yourself. For too long I let the aftermath of Nathan consume me. I walked him out of the house and said goodbye to him. He looked at me confused, intrigued and disappointed, but I didn't care because I had his shirt in my suitcase.

Over the next couple of days we had minimal back and forth conversations. However I started to freak out because I’d gotten an itch while I was away and I convinced myself that he’d given me Chlamydia, even though we didn't offically have sex. I started to feel depressed at the thought. As soon as I got back I went to the doctor to get some tests done and was freaking out that this was somehow happening again.

That weekend I went to the local gay club, Fluffy, to see Sasha Velour live. I was dancing near the stage when I noticed this guy and girl laughing and dancing enthusiastically. They looked like they were having the best time. It was refreshing to see because usually everyone acts too cool to dance the way they usually would in their bedrooms, but these two looked so free. It reminded me of my friends and I, because that’s how we act at the club. They started to move closer to where we were standing and I couldn't believe it, it was Liam. I quickly turned to my friend Courtney and was like “Oh my god that is the guy that gave me the shirt I wore to Sydney last week” and she tried to encourage me to go over and say hello, but there was no way I was doing that. I was sober and there was something about talking to guys at nightclubs that made me feel so uncomfortable and nervous. Not to mention I thought he had given me Chlamydia. We made awkward eye contact a few times and I didn't know what to do. Part of me really wanted to go up to him, but the other half of me thought I should let him come to me. I eventually talked myself into taking a leap of faith and started to walk towards him, but when I got halfway I freaked out and turned around and ran back to my friends. I couldn't do it. I started questioning why I was feeling like this, after all I didn't think I was even interested in the guy. It wasn’t until I saw another guy talking to him that sudden it felt like now or never. So I walked over to him and said hello and we just flirtatiously talked about my trip to Sydney and how excited we were for the show. As I was leaving the club I ran into him upstairs and we sat down and chatted a little more. He asked me about my first comedy show, which was the following night, and asked if I was excited. I said yes, and told him he should come along and watch if he wanted to. I never expected him to actually come and that was okay. We said goodbye but as I was walking away I couldn't stop thinking about his smile and the passionate kiss we shared at my house the week before. I told myself I was being silly and tried to knock the thought out of my mind. He messaged me minutes later telling me that he wished we’d kissed and that he wanted me to wait and let him come home with me. I played it cool and was like “I’m sorry I have work early in the morning and I need to prepare for my show tomorrow night so probably not the best idea”.

That next night I was in a nervous panic. I was about to officially debut my first comedy set in front of a massive crowd and I was beginning to doubt my punchlines. And then 10 minutes before my show Liam walked into the venue with a friend, and I was delightfully surprised. He actually turned up. He gave me a hug, wished me luck, and said he couldn't wait to see me perform. It was rather cute and caught me completely off guard. The most awkward part was that I was wearing his shirt and I had a joke in my set about him but luckily he was a good sport and went along with it. The show went incredibly well and the crowd seemed to really get into the jokes. After the show he congratulated me and left, and for some reason I was a little disappointed that he didn't ask to hang out after.

Later that week I finally got my doctors results back and it turns out I didn't catch Chlamydia from him and instead it was actually a self inflicted injury. So I was apparently the epitome of single.

Over the next two weeks we talked every now and then but it was always him who would initiate the conversation. I was still really unsure about him and felt like if he was really interested he would make the effort and I was correct. He started to message me more and asked to come over and hang out. I’d become more interested so I started inviting him over, and while we were very flirtatious and intimate we still hadn't had sex. It was like a game of who would crack first. He seemed to just understand me on a deeper level and actually care about everything that was happening in my life, it was a nice change. He had me swooning everyday with the way he would smile at me or by the messages he would send, he made me feel special. One night he came over and we were having our regular deep chats at two in the morning, when he said something that caught me completely off guard. Leading up to this moment we had been open and honest with each other and it was really nice. Even though I knew he didn't want a relationship, it was the thought that he genuinely cared about me that made me stay.I was really lonely at that time, and he started to make me feel worthy again. But in amongst our chats he blurted out “I feel like you’ve come into my life for a reason Thomas. Not for a long time but just for right now”. As those words soaked in I started to feel sick and emotionally used, it triggered something inside of me. I turned to him and was like “what are we doing then? If you only see me in your life temporarily, why are you putting so much effort in?” I ended up telling him that he should probably go home because I wasn't in the mood to cuddle anymore. He messaged me the next day apologising for his comments and explained that they’d come out wrong and he understands why I got so upset.

After Nathan I vowed that I would never let someone emotionally use me ever again and I was standing by that. We continued to hang out and things started to get a little serious. He moved house and was excited for me to stay over during the first weekend and officially meet his housemate, who I’d briefly met at my first comedy show. However I had a rule. I never stayed at guys houses and I don’t meet friends. I just don’t feel comfortable sleeping in someone else's bed and I always prefer to feel like I’m in control. But I nervously said yes. That night we got high and just laughed about random things and I felt super comfortable. I began to have some of the best sleeps I’d ever had and that made me nervous as it was all because I was laying in his arms. In the back of my mind I knew it was just a temporary thing but I started to hope maybe he was feeling the same way as I was. Our connection was pure and honest. He made me smile when I didn't want to smile, made me comfortable when I was anxious. And when I was with him, it was as if nothing else mattered. I had officially caught feelings. ABORT!

One night we were standing in his kitchen making dinner and listening to music when Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere” came on shuffle. There was just something about that moment that was so intimate and passionate. He grabbed me around the waist, pushed me against the pantry and started to kiss me slow and passionately. He picked me up and continued to kiss me for the whole duration of the song and as we locked eyes there was this undeniable spark that sent goosebumps across my whole body. Those are the moments you live for. That raw passion and intimacy can’t be replicated.

Christmas and New Years approached and the conversation came up about if we were going to spend New Years Eve together. It felt too official and I’d never had a New Years kiss before so I was a little hesitant. But it was obvious that both of us wanted to and he ended up coming along to a club with my work friends and I. There was something special about that night. The whole time we were in our own zone, and it was as if there was no one else in the club. We were running around singing song lyrics back to each other and being over the top ridiculous. We couldn't stop smiling and laughing. As the countdown to midnight begun I started to get nervous. What if he didn't kiss me? What if someone else tried to kiss him? What if the moment was disappointing? But as the crowd started to scream 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 he grabbed me and turned me around and kissed me passionately and affectionately. He then looked into my eyes and said “Happy New Years Thomas”. I’d never felt the way I did in that moment. My heart was racing and while it was a totally cheesy moment, it felt so genuine and special. I went back to his that night with the biggest smile on my face and woke up so scared and happy.

Things started to get more and more serious. I met some of his friends and he started to meet more of my friends. He even began coming to work events and gigs with me. Then I had this crazy idea. I needed photographers for my website and Liam and his housemate ran their own photography business as a hobby so why not mix the two? It seemed like a good idea and they were stoked. So we began to work together and by this stage we were dating each other without the label and everything just started to feel right. It was a weird in-between where he was still adamant that he didn’t want a relationship and wanted to see other people, but he also hadn't seen other people because he had those feelings and didn't want to hurt me.

I’d already started to fall for him harder than I had with Nathan, and I noticed that I was beginning to be a lot more confident within myself. I seemed to have a better understanding of what I wanted out of life and I was genuinely the happiest I’d been in years. He was bringing out the better version of myself that I buried after Nathan broke up with me. I finally started to pick up all the pieces and realised I’d found my green light, that signal it was okay to move on and open up to someone again. I allowed myself to be vulnerable again and while I was super anxious and cautious, something about him felt so right. He was in my life for a reason and I was so grateful. I started to believe that maybe hearts aren't always meant to break.