|Terry and Robert flank columnist Pollo Del Mar at her third-annual Labor Day: Recovery Party at Lookout.
Notorious Sainted Glamazon About Town
Some moments, though they might at first seem mundane, are meant to be remembered.
Just before 3 p.m. on a Monday, as Jose A. Guzman-Colon and I navigated my little silver Miata across Market Street, at exactly the point where 9th merges into Hayes, my iPhone registered a new text message. Glancing down at it, there was no caller ID, only a telephone number, but I recognized it immediately. Against my better judgment, I had memorized those ten digits several weeks before, the same night Dancer broke up with me.
â€śYouâ€™re giving this situation way too much power,â€ť Jose was telling me at that very moment. When I, yet again, brought up my recent heartbreak, he responded in the bossy-yet-loving way I had grown to know so well in the previous month. â€śYou need to focus your energy on something positive, Miss Thang!â€ť
When giving advice, Joseâ€™s Nuyorican â€“ thatâ€™s Puerto Rican by way of New York â€“ accent thickens, and he talks with his hands. The legendary photographer to San Franciscoâ€™s drag elite wagged a finger at me and said, â€śYou canâ€™t let that man get to you like this!â€ť
Little did Jose know, though, that I had just received a text from the very man in question. More importantly, he had no idea what it said, which is why he turned to stare at me as I, without taking my eyes off the road ahead, started to shake and cry.
â€śGirl,â€ť he asked incredulously, â€śWhatâ€™s wrong witâ€™chu?â€ť
It had been nearly a month since Iâ€™d been with Dancer, the man I followed to Southern California as his touring production of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical In the Heights played the historic Los Angeles Pantages Theatre. The last time I saw his face was the afternoon he unexpectedly severed our ties, sending me home to San Francisco in tears.
Though we only dated eight weeks, our time together was so memorable, so exciting, so filled with romance, it seemed significantly longer.
Certainly, by any account, it was long enough for me to fall head over heels and, when it ended so abruptly, long enough that I was crushed.
The weeks which followed were rough. Much of my time was spent hanging with Jose, often researching gay-owned stores across the country which might be willing to carry the coffee table book Glam Gender he recently published with fellow photographer Marianne LaRochelle. Each Friday we would pick up lighting equipment necessary for his weekend photoshoots; the following Monday, weâ€™d return everything. It kept me occupied and grounded.
Despite one lengthy conversation with Dancer, where I spent literally hours laying my feelings for him on the line, only to have him reassert his original decision to break things off, we had no contact. It was difficult, but as the days stretched into weeks, it got easier.
At first, I spent an extended time going through the motions, barely able to eat or function, waiting for the phone to ring and thinking he might eventually come to his senses. As that began to fade, I ultimately started to feel like myself again. I even went on a few dates. Though at best they reinforced just how much I was not over him, at least I was on my way.
And then that text message arrived.
It wasnâ€™t entirely out of the blue, of course. Earlier that same day, Dancer left a voicemail reminding me In the Heights headed for a three-week run in Japan the next morning. Email, he said, was the easiest way to reach himâ€¦if I needed.
â€śI hope itâ€™s OK that I called,â€ť his message concluded, â€śPlease call me back so I can say good-bye before we leave.â€ť
At first I was furious! That he felt it necessary to call and remind me of his schedule was ridiculous. From nearly the beginning, I knew his travel schedule, upcoming destinations and manipulated my own plans to allow us as much time together as possible. When we broke up, I mourned not visiting him in San Diego and Costa Mesa. Quite obviously, I knew exactly when the tour left for Japan.
That Dancer would suggest I might need to contact him while he was overseas, like someone too weak to manage on my own, further enraged me. I wanted to sarcastically blast his arrogance. Had I not resisted my many urges to call and say how much I missed him? Had I not allowed him the space he wanted, no matter how it broke my heart?
Rather than give in to my anger, I decided not to respond at all. He could deal with this apparent guilt about dumping me on his own, I thought. I was no longer obligated in the least, so fuck him!
Pulling up outside Joseâ€™s Hayes Valley apartment later that day, however, I reconsidered. When we parted ways, I told Dancer he could contact me any time, for any reason, and I genuinely meant it. So taking a deep breath, I used the minutes before Jose emerged from inside to call.
The conversation remained superficial and light. Dancer updated me on his castmates, while I did my best to mask the hurt which surfaced even in those few, short minutes. Just as I noticed a slight change in his tone â€“ did he suddenly sound more serious?!? â€“ Jose slid into the car next to me.
â€śTravel safely,â€ť I said, ending our conversation abruptly. â€śAnd to answer your question, itâ€™s perfectly fine that you contact me anytime.
Remember, I love you.â€ť
Before Dancer could respond or I could feel uncomfortable, I hung up. Jose looked at me and silently shook his head as we drove off.
We were barely a block away before it all came spilling out â€“ the voicemail, my anger, how I purposely used the brief window of opportunity to keep our call from becoming drawn out and awkward and, lastly, how my gut told me Dancer was on the verge of saying something â€“ something important, I was sure â€“ when I cut him off.
â€śGirl, youâ€™re making yourself crazy!â€ť Jose told me as we pulled up to return the photo equipment. â€śJust let it go.â€ť
Ten minutes later, as we drove into the intersection of Market and 9th, Jose lecturing me on taking back my power, everything seemed so incredibly bland, uneventful, like nothing might ever change â€” and then that text came in. Without thinking, I opened it (quite illegal while driving, of course), and could barely believe my eyes...
â€śIâ€™m sorry, Iâ€™m stupid, I love you and am scared and ashamed that Iâ€™m telling you this over text,â€ť Dancer said. â€śI donâ€™t want to go to Tokyo without you knowing that.â€ť
My heart raced as tears sprang to my eyes. These were the words I had been waiting a month â€“ longer, if Iâ€™m honest â€” to hear, but had given up hope I ever would. In a flash, everything seemed different, better, brighter.
It was 3 p.m. on a Monday, I was driving my car through a busy San Francisco intersection, and I was, once again, in love. The moment was anything but mundane, and itâ€™s one I hope to never, ever forget.
Follow â€śThe Glamazonâ€ť at Twitter.com/TheGlamazonPDM. Email her directly at Pollo_DelMar@Yahoo.com.