Private: 5007 – Mars

Moscow, Summer '04. I was almost sixteen and spending the summer in the city with a friend who was a couple years older. In honor of being parentless in a sleepless metropolis, she took me to my first night club. My friend managed to coax the boy she liked into coming along, and around midnight it became clear that she would be taking him home, and needless to say, I didn't quite fit into the romantic picture of the "first time." Her apartment was a one bedroom, so I told her to go do her thing and not worry about me – I would find a way to dissolve into the city until the next afternoon.

The next thing I knew, I was alone in the midst of neon lights and loud, sweaty strangers. This quickly became overwhelming, so I stepped out for a smoke and some air. I saw a girl sitting on the steps in front of the club: long hair, short skirt, stilettos, cigarette. Her body language indicated that she wasn't having the best night. I went up and sat down next to her; she seemed upset and I had a lot of time to kill. I have always had an attraction to forlorn strangers.

We sat there quietly for awhile, smoking our cigarettes, until eventually I asked about her night and received a very long response that included break-ups, fiancés and other things I was too young to fully grasp, though I felt for her. I asked if she wanted to get out of there. She seemed to like that idea, and next thing I knew we were across the street buying two bottles of 3 Star Cognac, the cheapest and most vicious alcohol you could get your hands on. We walked to the park and sat there talking and passing the bottles back and forth, presumably for a number of hours, or at least until the world became very blurry.

I woke up the next morning with a splitting headache, fully dressed in a strange bed, cursing the cognac and spooning a woman. The sun hurt my eyes and the room seemed to be spinning. She woke up too, equally exhausted and weirded out by the situation, and promptly went to make coffee to dissipate the awkwardness, a good idea on her part. My desire to run away and hide slowly waned. We ended up spending that entire day together.

She was 22 and straight, I was 16 and clueless, but days apart from her paled in comparison to days with her, and though I wasn't too sure yet about orientations, I just gauged everything by how I felt. Somehow our days together turned into weeks, turned into months, turned into promises and first times and New Year's Eve kisses, and the rest of the world quickly became background noise.

The inevitable split came a year and a half later and it was neither quick nor painless, but I soon learned that shaking off a first heartbreak proved to be easier than shaking off the feeling of being in love with a woman. That realization was nothing that I could doubt or deny, so I did neither. I figured, if a woman could have enough power over me to break my heart, I had no choice but to "come out" to my own self, which, ultimately, is the only coming out that matters.


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