I was a bit surprised he hadn’t asked. He’d gone back and read most, if not all of my posts, so Mr. Universe was very familiar with my previous relationship. We’d talked about it on a few occasions but he’d never asked who The Taste was until the other night.
We were out with Man of the Year when the question came up. Like most things with Mr. Universe, the manner in which he asked wasn’t typical. He didn’t say “Who was The Taste” or even hint around about wanting to know. He asked me straight up, “Is The Taste [insert his real name here].”
I tried to mask the shock of the question. I figured a day would come when he’d ask but I never expected Mr. Universe to name him in the question. Before answering I asked if he really wanted to know…because there are some things that once you know you’re left with the regret of knowing.
He asked again…using The Taste’s real name. I responded asking if he really wanted to know. He said he did. So I confirmed that he’d guessed correctly and asked how he’d managed to figure it out. He told me the method to his madness…I was impressed.
After a couple more drinks, he asked how our relationship compared to my previous one. Before I could even answer Man of the Year interjected. “It doesn’t compare”, he said. And he was spot on. It so doesn’t compare that it’s made me realize I didn’t actually have a relationship with The Taste.
I had something that more closely resembled an addiction. There was nothing healthy about it except for the fact that it prepared me for what followed….a relationship with Mr. Universe. It provided a framework for a pretend relationship that allowed me to move past several fears I’d been carrying around for far too long. It allowed me to step out of my shell…walk up to an edge I’d never visited…and find safety…strength…a desire to want more.
I distinctly remember wanting so badly to be able to hold hands and walk down the sidewalk with a boyfriend when I was “with” The Taste. That desire wasn’t about him, it was me preparing myself…preparing to be in a relationship with a man that was available…present…aware.
There’s no comparison between these two relationships. One is healthy…real…alive…out in the open. The other was none of those things. It was tucked away like a secret…a secret that eventually destroyed the people involved.
It’s funny. I’ve found myself in several situations with Mr. Universe…concerts, activities, conversations…that I’d been in with The Taste. At first it felt more like a deja vu experience but now I realize it was so I’d be fully present…aware…prepared for the moment with Mr. Universe. So I could feel the difference between pretend and real life.
For the record, real life is a million times better.