I open the closet door. Inside are 50 Calvin Klien Y-front briefs and row upon row of white socks, all perfectly folded like I was observing a robot clothes folding machine that worked at Holt Renfrew. More like a obsessive compulsive Holtzys robot. I swear I could eat a bowl of soup off those socks and underwear and not tip it at all.
Just below is row upon row of VHS porn. More than I have ever seen in my life.
The breadmaker dings. I’m babysitting Richard’s apartment.
Its the spring of ’92 and I have just broken up with my reason for moving to Ottawa. I troll the clubs (all one of them) like some zombie homo, adrift and lonely, angry from the breakup, angry at the move. If any of you have spent more than a weekend in Ottawa you will know what I mean. There are two types of homos that reside in Ottawa: The bar trolling, angry bitter queen that wont talk to anyone they havent known over a year and the Government Employee who would not be caught dead in a gay bar. Both are extremely tight in their cliques and like all exclusive social clubs, entrance was by introduction. After I had spent a couple months of not speaking to anyone in the bar, Richard suddenly appears at my side and starts making low level jokes.
It was sort of like being Tom Hanks in Castaway. At first I didnt realize he was coming on to me, I had been so pick-up starved that his advances were alien. I was dumbfounded. Suspicious. Then I realized he wasnt going to kill/steal/make fun of me and he was actually talking to me, I warmed up to him.
Richard was from the East Coast. The kind of East Coast that was always ready with a smile, slow in speaking as if he was choosing his words carefully, correctly. And hairy. He had the hairiest back of anyone I have ever dated. He actually introduced me into the world of Bears the hard way. He always had a tuft of dark brown hair coming out of the top of his collar, even if he was wearing a turtleneck. He made me shave his neck once, which I found disturbing and erotic.
Richard had quirks. He could drink one can of Coke and be jolted awake in seconds. He was obsessive about his undergear. I think he owned only one pair of black socks and a bazillion all-white sport socks. He had a massive two bedroom condo overlooking the Ottawa river that must have cost him a bit. He created and managed databases for some boring division of the government and was good at what he did. In his spare time, he catagorized and catalogued his porn.
From my diary, Sept 8th, 94:
Richard says: 1) Dont be judgmental too soon. 2) Never give out your number unless asked and you want to. 3) have a pie on hand.
He was smarter than I ever realized at the time. When Richard and I stopped going out but yet were friends (friends that would cuddle naked but not do anything?) we would stand in Ottawa’s only gay club and make fun of people. Richard would tell me stories of people that would walk by and I would comment on their clothes. After the bitterfest, we would go to the 24hr grocery store and get a pie, go back to his and eat the whole thing with plenty of milk.
From my diary I remember that after we became friends I confessed to Richard I loved him and he confessed to going on Prozac. We continued to eat pie. I moved back to Toronto Jan ’94 and Richard would visit a couple times. He’s since moved to Maurin County, Calif. We drifted.
My last good memory of Richard, was coming out of the LeatherBall alone at 5am, suddenly find him and his new found friend running up behind me, shirts in hand, hair everywhere, wanting to share a cab. I look at them and point at their knees. They’re black. Richard is mortified as only an O/C could be.