It was Swayze's birthday. He chose to spend it at Medieval Times and a buy-one-get-one-free offer made it the perfect opportunity to finally introduce Christopher to my friends.
We had a good afternoon getting ready and pre-gaming the event. Christopher made fun of the scarf I was wearing in the heat of the summer.
"Scarves are only meant to be worn when it's cold," he argued.
I thumbed the pink silk between my fingers. "I wore it the night I reconnected with you and you said you liked it," I said thoughtfully.
Christopher was silent.
"Were you lying when you said you liked it?" I asked. I remember thinking that Swayze made fun of my scarf, but Christopher had complimented it and it definitely put him up a notch in my book.
Christopher was still silent. So okay, he lied and didn't really like my summertime scarf.
"Why do you wear that thing anyways?" he eventually asked.
"First of all, I have not worn it since June. And I like the color," I justified. "And it covers my scar," I eventually admitted.
For some reason, the surgery scar across my neck that I acquired this year makes me extremely self-conscious. I feel like it greets people when I face them and I see their eyes travel downwards as they stare at it while they talk to me. Especially—especially—now that I've moved to the medical field for work. They know exactly what's wrong with me down to the disease I have just by looking at me, and it makes me feel vulnerable and exposed. And weak for not being perfectly healthy.
"So you wore it when you didn't want me to see your scar, and now you're wearing it again so your friends won't see? Why would you hide it from your friends?" he asked.
Because Harvey and Helen are perfect.
As we walked through the parking lot to the castle, I grabbed Christopher's hand. This was a huge moment for me because it was the first time, ever, in the history of the world that we held hands. He said he was an affectionate person when I asked him that one Sunday morning, but it ebbs and flows and it has been seriously ebbing the past few weeks. Christopher didn't protest or flinch and I inwardly cheered over my victory.
We headed to meet my friends, and when I reached for his hand again, Christopher basically slapped it down. He said he had to pee and I couldn't figure out what bearing that had on holding my hand. I summed it up to not being affectionate in front of my friends or people that would actually know him versus strangers.
Of the group that actually paid the hefty sum for Swayze's birthday outing, I only knew Harvey, her husband, and Swayze himself. Harvey courteously extended her hand to Christopher. She was the only one. The guys muttered "hey" with their hands in their pockets.
Afterwards we met up at our local bar and sat outside on the patio bricks. Helen and her boyfriend showed up. I sat next to Helen and listened as she told Harvey stories. Christopher obligingly sat next to me. And no one, no one, spoke to him. The husbands and boyfriends stood a distance away. Harvey and Helen never asked him anything about himself. In reality, they never really addressed me either. I would just jump in their conversations.
My friends aren't usually like this. They are outgoing and friendly and never cool and distant to someone new. I saw a side of Christopher that I never saw before as he sat silently next to me, following me if I went to the bar for another drink. He never tried to speak to them either, but I think it's harder being the outsider. I wondered if he is shy and I just never knew it, but then again all those times I took him up to my college town with me, he never had trouble talking to my guy friends.
I think I may have lost the faith of my friends. I feel like I ruined my character judgment with them through my last relationship. They were probably afraid of Christopher like they were afraid of my ex and it made me so sad.
He's not like that, I wanted to jump up and shout. He's not perfect and he has flaws and I don't know where this is going, but he is a safe person. He will not hit me or hurt me or spit on me and tell me I'm nothing. He is safe.
All of a sudden, I didn't want to be there anymore. My actions caused my friends to not be accepting towards someone who has done nothing wrong to them. Or me. I thought of my scar that I try to hide from them and once again I felt damaged and not up to snuff. I wanted to go home to the safety of my new apartment and cuddle up with my safe man who would finally talk once we were removed from this situation.
I stood up and announced we were leaving. Harvey once again shook Christopher's hand. "It was nice to finally meet you," she said. Only they never really met.