Lou asked me to go with him to the Blue Angels Air Show at the Schenectady County Airport. Sounded like fun; no pressure for anything more than a casual outing. Or so I thought, until he handed me a single red rose after I got into his car. I simply said, “thank you,” and put it aside until much later when I got out of the car after he took me back home. It was awkward. I was awkward. I appreciate the simple gesture, but it seems out of line with our agreement to be just friends, and I don’t know how I feel about that, so I tried to forget about the subject entirely while we were together.

The beginning of the air show was awesome. Then, the demonstration was abruptly brought to a halt by a torrential rain pelting the audience and grounding the planes. The crowd of spectators herded into an open hangar for shelter from the storm. People coming in the wide-open front kept squeezing in, pushing the first-comers against the back wall, and pressing body against body throughout the space, like an oversized elevator packed far beyond its maximum capacity. I was not afraid of being trampled or groped, but Lou instinctively put his arm around me, and held me close to protect me from getting pushed around. Like the rose, it was a nice, but unnecessary gesture that unsettled me. I called Gino a few days ago, and he still doesn’t believe me when I tell him it’s just dating, not a relationship; he wanted to know if I f**ked my date.  I simply said that I had not and asked why he has to be that way. He is driving down to see me soon. Lou wanted me to go to some fraternity picnic with him and was obviously disappointed by my reply that I could not go because Gino would be visiting on that day. From the start, I told him that I have a boyfriend, so I don’t know why he is surprised. He said it is ok, but I can tell he expected me to go; his whole demeanor changed when he heard about my plans with Gino. It was no longer fun, and I was anxious to go home. Maybe I’m kidding myself thinking that you can just go out with someone as friends.

I wrote a new poem for my collection

Today you gave me this rose.
So perfect, so beautiful
It reminds me of you.
Nobody ever gives me flowers.
I want to treasure it forever
And I want to rip it up and throw it away.
Don’t ever tell me you love me
I’ll never answer you truly.