Purposeful misspelling, I promise.
Yesterday was Dore Alley, or Up Your Alley, or Leather Alley..whatever you want to label it as. I tend to go with “baby Folsom” because it’s the easiest way to explain it. It’s Folsom before Folsom. A taste of what is to come at the end of September. And going to it the last two years has made me very, very happy.
It was a harder day for me than it was a year ago. My sister, my best friend, is now 5800 miles away in Denmark. She left that morning, around the time that the event started…
I don’t really want to go into the details of my emotional state.. Rather the events resulting from it.
I found myself at Dore Alley, drying some tears after an intense last-stateside conversation with my sister. It seemed like just the therapy I needed.. I knew James would be there. My friends would be there. I wanted to be around my friends, out dressed in clothing that had me feeling more comfortable than any street clothing could.
It was right about then that I got nostalgic. I walked through the sea of half-naked bodies, assless chaps, and human puppies thinking about the previous Dore Alley, where Kane had met me after his wife left for the airport..
Kane and I have talked from time to time since we’ve split and had a habit of passively liking posts on Instagram, but other than that I had long ago stopped going out of my way to reach out to him. The year before Kane had been all that was on my mind. I took teasing photos for him at the event, begging him to come out and play, missing my boyfriend while I tried not to think about his wife.
Being the little show off that I am sometimes, I signed up for the naked dance contest. This, at the time, was extremely out of the ordinary for me. I still changed in the bathroom at the Citadel. I was never naked in public, never. I didn’t think anyone wanted to see chubby little me naked. I wanted to do something bawlsy and get lost in kink while I could. I had a vanilla job, Kane had no interest in the public scene, and the voyeuristic part of me that I refused to acknowledge most of the time wanted the attention of gyrating on stage in front of hundreds of people.
And so I stripped with Kane watching me, looking at me with the ‘I will fuck you later’ look. He held my bag and my clothes while I ran on stage, terrified and thrilled all at once. I stood in back, found him in the crowd, and danced like an idiot.. But it was fun. I kept locking eyes with him. I shimmied my hips and my ass and stuck my tongue out and just…enjoyed myself.
Somehow I ended up shoved in the front. I don’t know how. I still don’t like being in the front.. I like being the support, the background, but the spotlight and I still aren’t on speaking terms. I couldn’t find Kane in the crowd and wasn’t sure I wanted to still be on stage at all.
I looked down and locked eyes with my worse nightmare, a camera.
I vaguely recognized the person behind it. He took photos at some of the play parties I had gone to, and usually had a naked Asian woman in his lap. He was loud, with a big booming voice and over-the-top personality that scared the shit out of me. He had an easy power to take center stage, to make others notice him.
And he was watching me.
I kept dancing. I still couldn’t find Kane..and so I kept my eyes on the red headed camera guy. Saw the smirk on his face, the look of amusement as he took photos of everyone. I was attracted to him.. to strong hands, to the look of intensity he got when he worked, to the blue eyes I somehow hadn’t noticed before and the scruff… I have such a weakness for scruff.
Eventually we all stopped dancing and my viking collected me. We waited around to see who won the big prize, and I remember the red headed photo guy won even though he hadn’t danced. He knew everyone, was talking to everyone when I went home with Kane.
It’s amazing the difference a year can make. I ended up running into Kane amongst the latex and leather of Dore Alley. We talked..caught up, touched on why we ended and what we had become. He told me he was still pretty single. I finally told him I wasn’t. I confronted him about me being a secret..about him never fully letting me in his life. I wanted to meet his friends and his family, and he always kept me at arms length. I was never fully one of his people.
He looked started when I told him that, and then he smiled really sadly.
“Rena… I didn’t keep you from meeting my people. I don’t…have people.” He shrugged. In the middle of this clusters came over and chatted. They hugged, we talked. There were people from the Citadel, from BaGG, people I see week after week that I would call friends. When there was finally a break in the people and conversation he smiled. “Clearly, Rena, you have people now. You needed it.. It’s nice to see you finally happy.”
He’s right. I am happy.
We parted on good terms with plans to do a studio night together and hang out, just as friends. He went off to explore the rest of the festival, and I ended up kneeling next to my favorite red head with a camera. Yes, the same one that I finally noticed a year ago.
The same one that, during my conversation with Kane, was never too far away.
James still scares me.. but for entirely different reasons than that day I first noticed him. The chuckle doesn’t scare me..or the smirk.. The nails digging into my chest don’t scare me, and while I flinch when his hand comes down to hit me that doesn’t scare me either.
It’s when his voice gets soft and tender and his touch becomes feather-light that I become afraid. When he pulls me into his chest and kisses the top of my head so softly, so sweetly that I feel so entirely cherished and safe.. That is when he scares me.. Because this man has slowly captured more and more of my heart.
My life is changing.. for the better I think. I’m slowly getting myself un-stuck. Creatively I’m working again, financially I’ve collected another job that is slowly taking the place of unstable funds. Social wise I have friends… I go out, I see people. I smile a lot.
Romantically, he’s got me. I trust him, completely. I am his.
…It really is that simple
I am his. And I am happy.
Sometimes, doors closing can be an incredibly healthy thing. It can make you even more confident about your choices to open others.