Left work, hit the grocery store, got home, took a nap, woke up, made dinner for my father, and headed west to Pottstown, PA to attend the Christmas party at the home of JPZapper and DogTopper. I got there a little later than planned and the party was in full swing, but there was still plenty of ham and shrimp cocktail left. (Y'know that Tanqueray commercial where the guy is unbecomingly scarfing down shrimp cocktail by the wee fistful? That's me. That's so me. I have no idea what it is about shrimp cocktail. Not like it's hard to come by or anything. They sell these shrimp rings at my local
And I got to hang out with the other guys that I know from there. Male of Datt and Male fame grabbed me under the mistletoe and wanted a kiss. I happily obliged, and then said, "And I also have a spring of mistletoe on my belt buckle!" (I didn't, but I might look into that.) Male asked me what was up, and I told him excitedly about a chain bondage demo I did at this trans nightclub down in Philadelphia, interjecting, "Oh right! You were there, too!" Because honestly, other than the joys of Ho(t)me(n) Depot, there isn't a lot going on. But such is life.
When I gobbled up the last of the potstickers (yum!) I realized that I hadn't checked out the food in the parlor sufficiently, and headed in to correct that. Alas, only brie and swiss cheese, not my favorites. I know I know I know, because I'm a gay man I'm supposed to like brie, because apparently it tastes Just Like Cum. But I don't. And I'm not too wild about the taste of cum either.
But I noticed a guy sitting in the corner, and I realized I knew him.
It was Warrior.
I first met Warrior and his Master, Hammer, years ago when I went through GMSMA's Novices Special Interest Group. During one of the final sessions, we visited Hammer and Warrior to see the scene they did so well: strapping. While Warrior warmed up with various stretches, Hammer told us about his love of applying a leather strap to a lean, muscular man. For him, there was nothing better. And into his life, the leathergods saw fit to bring Warrior, a lean and muscular man (a dancer and choreographer of great renown, in fact), who loved to get strapped. Hammer restrained Warrior with his arms akimbo and went to work on him, using the end of a thick leather belt with the end doubled back on itself to form a sort of handle. The strap was about a foot long, maybe less. When Hammer got going, the sound was rhythmic, like someone clapping his hands. He was constantly circling Warrior, changing his focus from arms to chest to thighs to butt to back. It was beautiful. It struck me at the time that it was like watching a virtuoso play a musical instrument. And indeed it was.
Hammer and Warrior also made a huge impression on me in that when they met, two men in the fullness of life, they found in each other so much of what they were each seeking. For every pot, there's a lid, but only once in a great while do the respective pot and lid find themselves in the same place at the same time. But in the case of Hammer and Warrior, they did.
And that gave me great hope.
It was great seeing Warrior. I sat in the chair next to him (with some conveniently place M&Ms), and we talked. Mostly about travel, the places we'd been and what we did there. Warrior has traveled much more than I have as his dancing has taken him all over the world. But I, of course, have only seen the sights a guy can see from Brooklyn Heights. Well, not quite. Warrior mentioned that Hammer hated the fact that Warrior had to be on the road so much, but reconciled himself to that. He mentioned that he was hoping to get to Taiwan, which seems to be towards the top of his list of The Best Places I've Been the way Moscow is with me. Possibly a teaching engagement, which would mean that he'd be there for an extended period of time.
"Oh gosh," I said, "Poor Hammer! Does he know you'll be off in Taiwan?"
"Oh," Warrior answered, "You don't know. Hammer died in November. Prostate cancer."
I didn't know. And I was pretty floored by that. In a way, it didn't seem possible, for a number of reasons.
I said all the things that you say to someone who has recently experienced a terrible loss. Warrior said all the things you say when you've recently experienced a terrible loss.
And then, Warrior mentioned just how grateful he felt, deep down under his grief was this profound feeling of gratitude. For twelve wonderful years, he and Hammer had been together, pot and lid, lid and pot. And not everyone gets that. At all, little less twelve years of it.
I told him about Special Guy, whose picture I still carry in my wallet. We were together for five months. Five wonderful months. I may not have Special Guy anymore, but I'll always have those five wonderful months. And that's more than a lot of people ever get in life. Some people don't get much more than a week. Or a night. Or nothing at all.
During my five months with Special Guy, I wasn't quite aware of what was going down. I just knew that I was dating this really great guy. This guy who liked me. This guy who I liked spending time with, even if that meant lying next to him in bed talking because his back was out. For Hammer and Warrior though, it was different. They did know. I don't doubt that every blessed day they thought, "Holy Cow! Another day with him!"
Right up until the last day.
Pot and lid, lid and pot.
Life is pretty interesting when you think about it, huh?