If I were a gerbil, my water bottle would be filled with Cherry Coke. If Dmitri were a gerbil, he'd be doing commercial modeling for Habitrail. If I were a gerbil, and Dmitri were a gerbil, we could have the kind of hot, kinky gerbil sex that doesn't invoke the urban myth of Richard Gere and an Emergency Room visit.
I'm not a gerbil, and neither is Dmitri. We are two humans who met through Livejournal, decided to hang out in person, and decided that a trip to an art exhibit would be fun. we hadn't anticipated that said "art exhibit" would be inside a warehouse that gave off serious Freddy Kreuger vibes. But there we were, on the wrong side of a swinging door. On our side of the door: wood chips, a fake hanging water bottle, large fake gerbil turds, a bowl full of water, another bowl full of stale crullers that were supposed to look like gerbil food, no other door, and the windows were barred. On the other side of the door, ominously approaching footsteps. Footsteps that never materialized into another human being.
During our moment of fear, I should have wrapped my arms protectively around Dmitri and maybe kissed him. I didn't. The two of us just sort of wandered around the giant cage making jokes about how bizarre it was that this exhibit was held inside a seemingly abandoned warehouse.
While I kicked fake turds, Dmitri swung on the giant bird swing, the only part of the exhibit that was out of place with the whole Gerbil Cage Mystique. I've owned several gerbils in my day, and never bought a trapeze swing for any of them. Gerbils would make shitty acrobats.
From the life-size gerbil cage, we made our way to The New England Aquarium. We were supposed to meet Zuzu there in the early afternoon, but like just about all my friends that I'd made plans with during Dmitri's visit, she failed to show. So we went in without her. On our way in, our photograph was taken. I would have liked a photograph of the time we spent together, but their photo looked like shit, I hated my hair, and they wanted like a bazillion bucks for a cheap ass picture that we hadn't been prepared for.
After making our way through the jellyfish exhibit, where Dmitri proved his skillz at video games by defeating a jellyfish game designed for six year olds, we arrived at The Giant Ocean Tank. As we circled the tank, Dmitri said some rather insightful things about sharks and giant turtles before jumping back about five feet and letting out a rather loud "Oh, gross!"
I imagined that if I looked hard enough, I'd see an amputated bloody hand floating in the tank. Then, I remembered how Dmitri felt about other human beings, and realized he'd be overjoyed to see that the Aquarium was feeding human beings to the fish. "What is it?" I asked.
"That fish. It's so huge and ugly. I hate giant things." I made a mental note not to show him my penis, then I made another mental note that I didn't have a giant penis, and we would both be safe should penis presentation time ever arrive.
At the top of the tank, an old lady was telling a young mom and her brood something interesting about sharks that I fully intended to remember and write about, but the goldfish part of my brain has since vanquished. Dmitri and I discussed how unhungry he was after the traumatizing giant fish situation, and headed back down around the tanks to check out The Penguin Pool.
For those of you just joining this journal, I love penguins so much, I am tempted to write I <3 Rockhoppers the most. Maybe it's the punk rock hair, maybe it's the way they honk for attention, I don't know. But it was at The Rockhopper exhibits that I had my first revelation concerning my feelings for Dmitri. Rockhoppers are incredibly territorial, and, while sociable, don't appear to be overly friendly. While we watched, one of the aquarium employees was moving around the pool doing something scientific. The Rockhoppers were taking turns honking at him. One would spend ten seconds "singing", then another would begin. There was never any overlap in the honking, and there as rarely a second between one penguin's honking and another. They were cute, obnoxious, and loud. Like Elvis. Like Alex. Like Dmitri. Nothing at all like MAMIP or Liam or Ryan; they were Magellanics.
I thought I'd passed through my Rockhopper phase, now preferring a less needy guy who loved me more than the attention I lavished on him.
Don't get me wrong, I am not and was not in love with Dmitri. I love his writing, the way he thinks, the way he blows into his own ear with a bendy straw when I accidentally stop paying attention to him for ten seconds while Clarissa asks me a question. I think he is mentally and physically amazingly beautiful, but I wasn't in love with him. I was just terrified by how easily I could have been in love with him if the scenario was a little different: say, we lived in the same city, or if I wasn't spending so much of his visit brooding over my irresponsible friends, or if he didn't have a boyfriend. I may be a naive, lust hungry, easy target for falling in love, but I have enough self-control to never allow myself to be in love with someone who is in a relationship already.
"He's not your type." Clarissa said well after Dmitri had left Boston.
"What is my type?" I asked in my vaguely annoyed tone of voice.
"I don't know. He's so Young. Don't get me wrong, he's adorable, and really sweet, but don't you think you'd be happier with someone older?" This from the thirty-eight year old, currently lusting after eighteen year old breakdancers.
"He doesn't write like he's Young. And, I mean, he does act Young, but he's so self-aware. I act Young all the time. It's what keeps me from being a depressed misanthrope like you."
Wisely, the topic of conversation changed at that point.
So what if he was is seven years and seventeen days younger than I am? He's...not available, so why bother finishing that particular line of logic?
"Do you want to go dancing?" He asked me, the night after our gerbil excursion.
The answer was Yes. I've never been a club kid, never spent much time at Manray or any of the clubs in Provincetown, but I've always secretly wanted to go, and now I had the opportunity to be guest listed at a club where I could dance with an insanely hot, nerdy, meglaphobic gay crush. So why didn't I go?