I didn’t want to meet Danny for brunch but I had postponed and cancelled on him too many times already. I got out of bed, threw on an uninspired outfit and walked the three blocks to Regional where I found him saddled up at the bar, already gulping down a mimosa. Danny liked to drink.
And I used to like Danny. We met on Twitter. Like me, Danny preferred the company of black men and Grey Goose. We became drunk-brunch buddies and our times together were always filled with debaucherous shenanigans. We’d playfully flirt with the same guys and dared each other to make out with strangers. On one vodka-fueled outing, I even let Danny’s hot friend, a popular radio show host, finger me in a booth at Gaslight Lounge. We were just two drunk boys out to have a naughty ole time.
Danny was funny enough and he seemed harmless. Although I never considered him a close friend, he seemed very invested in our friendship. When we’d meet on the street, Danny would affectionately lock his arm around mine, look at me with pouty puppy-dog eyes and say, “So, no, honey! How are you, really?” He wanted to get to know me and was always asking an abundant amount of odd, random questions. “Hey, how is your mom doing?” he’d arbitrarily ask, as if he knew her.
But after a while, I realized that Danny also liked to gossip. Danny always had the scoop on who was fucking who and where to buy cocaine. It seemed like Danny knew everyone. He had befriended, bedded or gotten high with all of the gay boys in Manhattan, and even some in the Bronx, too. Danny knew everyone’s story and was not afraid to blab it. No wonder he was always asking a shit-ton of questions.
When The Man and I broke up the first time, Danny insisted on taking me out for brunch. He comforted me but was quick to interject with a morsel of gossip that was disguised in sheep’s clothing. “You know, Tyler,” he said, on his fifth mimosa. “I shouldn’t tell you this because I was sworn to secrecy, but The Man told me he just tested HIV positive. I think he’s freaked out right now and that’s why he broke up with you.”
I was shocked by this news, but I was also floored that Danny would so willingly reveal The Man’s secret. I squirmed in my seat when I wondered what secrets of mine Danny had so willingly divulged to others. Did he tell people that I had a torturous crush on one of my best friends? Had he told them about the time I let his friend finger me in the booth at Gaslight Lounge? Would he tell them that I was sitting in a crowded restaurant, crying over The Man?
For these reasons, I decided to put some distance between Danny and I, especially when I got back together with The Man and confronted him with what Danny had said.
“Danny said you broke up with me because you tested positive for HIV. Is that true?”
The Man’s head quickly swiveled in my direction, his pretty eyes bulging with shock. “WHAT?! No! That’s not true!” He audibly exhaled and wrinkled his brow, incredulous and angry. “Why would Danny say-”
I cut him off. “Well, are you HIV positive? Just be honest.
“NO! No! I’m not! Why would Danny say that?!” The Man was visibly angry, and he seemed to shake in his seat.
I shrugged, not sure what to say. A part of me felt guilty for causing The Man to get upset. Then I became nervous, wondering if I had inadvertently started a chain of events that would result in a dramatic blow-out between Danny and The Man. While The Man fumed, I began to doubt myself. Maybe I misunderstood Danny? Maybe I misheard him?
“We can go get tested right now,” The Man blurted. “Or let’s call Danny right now and-”
“No, no, no!” I said, putting my hands up. “I don’t want to cause any drama.” I proceeded to talk The Man down from the ledge and the subject of Danny’s lie was never brought up again.
And then, several months later, The Man and I broke up again. Danny called, texted, emailed and tweeted, wanting to meet for brunch. I kept stalling, dreading his questions and the superficial concern. Finally, I caved and agreed to meet him.
To Be Continued…