I opened facebook to several messages from Burton. He said that was the most dramatic use of an ellipsis that he’d ever read. I responded by saying that if the tables were turned there was no way I could be fair to him. Surprisingly, he responded instantly and assured me that he was OK. He said that he had gone to lunch with his friend, Grace, the week before and when he talked about this situation Grace’s response was, “Wow. You’re really done.”
I agreed to get a bloody mary with him.
I arrived at the restaurant before Burton. I ordered a bloody mary while I waited. The bloody marys at Twisted Spoke were probably my favorite in Chicago, but they were dangerous. I remembered the last time I had one there, but only barely.
About five minutes after I sat down, Burton blew in, clearly tired but excited to see me. He walked up to me, wrapped his arms around me with one hand behind my head and kissed me. It was tranquilizing; my guard was down.
“Thank you for still being hot the next day,” he said as he sat down. I smiled. No one had described me “hot” in I didn’t know how long.
We drank, we talked, we shared, we connected. He told me very personal nuggets from his life.
-His mother had been abused as a child. She told Burton when he was young that at the age of five her father threatened her with a knife and a cutting board.
-He was married to a woman for three days to “save” her, but realized that she was beyond salvation when she came home with an ashtray in her back that the guy she was sleeping with on the side had put there.. so he dissolved the marriage.
-His ex-girlfriend was unwittingly married to a gay man who had been her high school sweetheart. It had fucked with her head enough that she wasn’t capable of having a relationship and Burton was no longer “in the business of saving people,” so he ended it.
It was a lot to take in and I was surprised he was dishing it out. He was an open book.
After a bloody mary and a beer we decided to order food to split. He ordered the corned beef hash, but I stopped him and told him to order the breakfast burrito.
We had about two bites each of the burrito before he laid his credit card down to settle up the bill.
Without a word, Burton took my hand and led me out of the restaurant and across the street. We walked through West Town and ended up at his apartment.
I knew what was going to happen. I knew it was a bad idea. I knew I wanted it.
Just short of consummation, I stopped so I could make it to coffee with my friend. I left him weak and unsated, but I was feeling confident. It had been years since I’d had any sort of romantic excitement of that caliber.
I walked out into the sunny afternoon to get my bike and meet a friend to tell her about my new dreamy find. What I really wanted to do was cancel my plans and experience this new love rather than talk about it. But temperance was nagging me and this time I acquiesced.
When I got home, Burton aggressively IMed me asking me to come over and watch a movie.
“No,” I wrote. “I need rest and I should go to bed early.”
“OK,” he wrote. “But I want to take you to dinner tomorrow.”
“Hmmm.. OK. But it will have to be on the early side as I work at 6am and I need to be in bed no later than 10:30pm.”
“I think I can do that. I’ll make a reservation for 7pm. Is that early enough?”
“Yes. I think I can do that.”
“I like anything but Irish food and I *really* like vegetables.”
“I got it. I know where we’re going.”
“Really? I just told you I love vegetables and you come up with a meat place?”
“Communal tables! Have you been?”
“OK.. wait. I know.”
“Reservation made. 7pm tomorrow. Green Zebra.”
“Ohhh I like that. Good work.”