Excerpt: Chapter 9 | Playing the Wild Card

Shortly after moving to San Francisco, I met Danny, who was the first man I had sex with after my breakup. Having sex with Danny was a big deal for me at the time and I’ll always remember him for being so kind to me when I was so emotionally fragile. Danny was Hispanic, very cute, and younger than me. He was looking for a boyfriend when we met and I was certainly not in a position to offer him a healthy relationship due to my emotional baggage. We hooked up on several occasions for fun, but I always kept my distance to refrain from getting emotionally involved. I was leery of most gay men and questioned their true intentions. He and I eventually drifted away from one another, although on occasion we would run into each other when we both were out clubbing. 


One Saturday evening, I ran into Danny at Club Universe, my favorite gay dance club in San Francisco that I frequented. It was my home away from home every Saturday evening and sometimes on Sundays. I loved Club Universe. It was an amazing venue in what was then the city’s warehouse district. It was a joyous place where I could escape and lose myself in the rhythm of the dance music that played until the early hours of the morning. All good things frequently come to an end and the club is now gone and, if it still stood today, its backside would be across the street from AT&T stadium. While the club is no longer in existence, the outstanding memories and the phenomenal times I spent there will stay with me for the rest of my life.


Danny had met a man that he had been dating for some time, but on this occasion, he was out alone and I suspected they might have had an argument. He approached me on the dance floor and while we were both high, we were very much coherent and embraced one another with a big hug. He began to tell me about an argument that he and his boyfriend had that night. Danny believed that when a couple is in a relationship the love that they have for one another should be unconditional and the boyfriend disagreed with his philosophy. I thought that Danny must have done something inappropriate and was looking for his boyfriend to forgive him. Based on what I had been through with Alex, I felt like I could offer Danny some advice when it came to boundaries surrounding relationships. 


I probed his definition of unconditional love and posed a question to him. If he and his partner had children – I asked him – and his partner intentionally harmed their children in some physical way, would Danny still love him unconditionally? Danny replied that yes, he would, without a doubt. I then corrected him on his answer. I told him that I concurred with his belief that there’re truly no limits to the level of love that we can experience with another, although there are certain boundaries within that love that should not be crossed. Intentionally harming one’s children was one of those boundaries that should never be crossed—and that should be a condition of any relationship involving children, one that must be honored. Danny went on to reiterate that he would still love his boyfriend unconditionally even if the boyfriend harmed their children. Even though I was high, I felt that Danny’s thought process was fucked up. I knew he was not a bad person, he was just looking for a way to justify his poor behavior with his boyfriend. At that moment, I walked away and left him standing on the dance floor alone after our conversation ended abruptly. I never saw or spoke to him again.


I recall being very upset over my encounter with Danny and I relayed the conversation that had just taken place to Rick, who was out with me, as he was most of the time. As always, Rick indulged me and listened to my ranting and raving over Danny while nodding his head as if he agreed with what I was saying. He was high himself and the music was so loud in the club most of the time that he really could not understand me or hear me clearly. Although, being the good friend that he was he would politely nod his head, as if he agreed with whatever I was telling him. I was still dealing with my many demons and this frequently resulted in a confrontation with someone at the club, on many of our nights out. Today, Rick and I laugh about these evenings and we mostly remember the fun we had.  


On the night I saw Danny for the last time, I believe I experienced a spiritual encounter of some kind. I had been coming to Club Universe every Saturday night for years—when something happened that never took place before that night or since. I was a regular at the club and I was extremely familiar with the lay of the land and the things that management would allow to take place inside and outside the club. Rick and I left the venue that night at three o’clock in the morning and I saw a flower stand outside the club’s entrance, as we exited. It consisted of three rows of buckets. There were about five or six buckets in each row and each bucket had its own type of flower, with fifteen to eighteen different types of flowers or bouquets.


The flower stand had never been outside the club prior to that evening nor did it ever show up again in the years that I patronized the venue. I approached the flower stand and discovered that the flowers being sold were to generate money for abused children. Seeing this stand at the club and its timing blew my mind at that moment and the situation still amazes me to this day. Some will argue that this was a simple coincidence and nothing more. However, I would have to say, it was not a coincidence in any way, shape, or form. Possibly it was a happenstance and I happened to be standing exactly where God wanted me to be standing, at the exact time he wanted me to be standing there. I wholeheartedly believe that some divine presence was sending me a message of confirmation, as if heaven was in agreement with my belief that true love is not without conditions.