...so we arrive in San Francisco in the late afternoon/early evening. We didn't have a hotel reservation, but since I used to live in San Francisco, I knew we could easily find a room at one of the many boutique hotels. I drove straight to Nob Hill and found this great French hotel with vacancy on Bush Street. I knew my must have three beds policy would never hold since we were in the city, so I checked us into a room with two beds and figured I'd figure it out later.
Once inside, we all got ready to go to dinner. We had a reservation at The Slanted Door, one of The Ferry Buildings yummiest restaurants. We were a little dressed up as it was Kadin's official birthday dinner. I remember that we spared no expense and ordered a handful of plates to share and a few bottles of wine. We laughed and talked until our bellies were full. I kept thinking about the night before in Big Sur--about how Kadin and I slept together without sleeping together or even kissing and about his mini massage and what it all meant. There wasn't much flirting going on and we seemed to be a functional and platonic trio of friends having a perfectly excellent time.
Toward the end of dinner, we discussed whether we should head out to a bar or two in the Mission district or to a party in the same area. Our mutual friend had a friend who was having a party. He kept warning us about how different or unusual his friend was and said the party might be crazy but that he wanted to go. Kadin and I agreed and we headed to the Mission. When we got to the party, I realized it was a lesbian co-cop (a three-story house filled with rooms that were rented by mostly artsy lesbians). There was different music being played on each floor (hip hop, rock and funk/soul) and everyone was dressed in costume except for us (and by costume, I mean glitter, wings, masks, lingerie). Our mutual friend laughed and said he told us it would be wild. And immediately after doing so, an old friend of mine who lived at the house and was one of the hostesses came up and hugged me. Mutual friend's eyes popped out of his head because I think he thought he was more experienced or less conservative than I seemed.
But he was wrong. When I used to live in San Francisco, I lived in a house with a handful of male musicians, one of whom was a heroin addict who played in the band Brian Jonestown Massacre. And I worked at a progressive and experimental gallery called The Lab in the Mission district, where I met my artist and lesbian friend Zoe--the aforementioned hostess.
At some point during the party, Kadin, mutual friend and I all went our separate ways. There were a ton of people and it was difficult if unnecessary to stay together. I spent time catching up with Zoe, meeting many new sparkly, winged friends and drinking a lot of red wine. My fuzzy and tipsy brain soon began to wonder where the boys were so I wandered all three floors until I came to the funk/soul level, where Kadin was dancing alone to Prince. I had just enough liquid courage to start dancing, too. "Little Red Corvette" was playing and I stopped caring about how I looked and what everything meant and just danced because I love that song. Pretty soon, Kadin and I were dancing together. I mean, really together as in very close and suggestively. It felt like no one else was in the room.
Until I looked across the room and saw mutual friend dancing, too. I pulled away from Kadin a little and continued dancing nearby but on my own because I didn't want him to see Kadin and I. It shouldn't have been a problem but I was considering the past and the fact that I hadn't had a conversation with him about the possibility of romance between me and Kadin.
But after pulling away, I wanted to be close to Kadin again. It just felt right and magnetic and safe and electric and comforting all at the same time. It was like I belonged right there without any games or over thinking anything. It was that simple, that easy and that automatic. So in my head, I said fuck it and I kissed him. Next thing I knew he had moved while kissing so that his back was up against the wall and he could pull me to him.We stopped dancing and made out. For a long time. It felt like being incredibly thirsty for a long time and finally getting water but not being able to drink enough. Remember that at this point, it had been more than seven months of knowing and liking each other without any physical contact.
Without meaning to, Kadin moved so that his back hit the light switch and suddenly lit up the very dark room. Mutual friend looked over and saw us kissing. We stopped and saw him, too. He shook his head a little and left the room. We apologized, turned off the lights and ran out to look for him. When we found him he told us that it just felt weird to see and that he had no idea. He said he was okay with it but just surprised and didn't want anything awkward to happen or for us all not to be friends. I told him I felt the same way and hadn't let anything happen for months for that very reason.
The culmination of events had us feeling a little bit more sober so we grabbed a cab back to our hotel. It was understood once we got there that Kadin and I would be sharing one of the beds. But the three of us simply went to sleep. When I woke in the morning, Kadin started to cuddle and just held onto me. We just smiled at each other. I think we finally felt really happy to be able to be together without any fear. Mutual friend woke up, looked over at us, started laughing and said he couldn't believe that two of us his best friends had ended up together. When he got up to take a shower, Kadin and I talked a little. He said that when we first met and he told mutual friend that he was attracted to me, mutual friend told him I was jaded. I told him that around the same time, mutual friend warned me that Kadin was a player. Neither turned out to be true.
The ride home was much faster and less uncomfortable than you might think. Kadin and I weren't too mushy for the sake of our friend. But we did text each other in the car and stare via the rear view mirror. When we got back to my apartment, it was Sunday and Kadin needed to head home for work in the morning. I dropped him off at his car and we made out for awhile before saying goodbye. Unlike so many times before, I knew we would call each other and meet again soon. For the first time in years, I felt secure, sure, fearless and confident.
Mutual friend and I spent the next few hours talking and laughing with zero awkwardness before he had to leave on a red eye back to New York that night. When it was time for him to go, I dropped him off at the airport and we gave each other a bigger hug than usual. I was driving home from LAX--with all of the windows rolled down and Prince shamelessly blasting from the speakers, going over and over every single little moment and magnificent feeling from the night before in San Francisco--when my cell phone started ringing. I looked down at the screen and saw Kadin's name flashing. I smiled, welcomed the eighth-grade-girl butterflies into my belly and answered the phone.
|photos by Shannon Corr|