The Day the Party Ended

by Eric Machine 10 days ago in lgbtq

Part II of III: 2019

The Day the Party Ended
Photo by Kelsey Knight on Unsplash

2019: The Year of the Party (Part II of III)

The first month of us being "boyfriends" in January felt like I was on cloud 9. I couldn't imagine that I was going to feel this way again. All of those breathtakingly beautiful butterflies and gut wrenching feelings of happiness and excitement. The fact that we were long distance just sort of added to it. Not only were we both admitting to those feelings - but we couldn't see each other for a while and it added to the longing and the excitement and we decided our first trip we should spend as a couple would be in Cancun.

I found it comical that since we are both Tauruses, we both had a very similar approach to this and we decided we wanted to think of this almost like a contract. There were a few topics we wanted to cover and we both wanted to be sure there was open communication. As a long distance couple, would we be open/closed or somewhere in between? What were the big pet peeves of the other? What were the expectations for contact? Would he learn English if I continued to learn Spanish?

We emailed each other a list of topics we wanted to cover and told the other to think things over and we would talk about everything in detail while in Cancun.

We had decided Cancun at his request, and we had decided we would split the trip into two portions. The first would be just us, our first few days as a couple, being romantic and lounging by the pool, having steamy sessions in the bedroom, long intimate talks on the beach....but the other portion of the week he was going to take me to Arena - one of the world's biggest gay circuit parties in Mexico and there we would be splitting an AirBnb with 6 of his friends from Bogota and spend 4 days at the parties of Arena. (He had to explain to me that each day had a morning, afternoon, night and 'after hour' party - I just thought it was party per day?)

I should pause here and explain - I was the furthest thing from a circuit gay.

A Brief History...

I was fat in high school and played Chess and Magic the Gathering and played Saxophone for the Jazz and Wind bands. I was an introverted video gamer and the concepts of party-life were lost on me.

My 20s and 30s were marked with relatively amicable but far more domestic style relationships of several years. 4 years, 5.5 years and almost 6 years respectively to be exact. The relationships were usually low-key, other patient and stoic people. I usually earned more and paid the bills, they were usually a little more domestic and cooked/cleaned/decorated. (I want to be clear here I didn't expect this or demand it - it just seemed like natural roles for us)

I almost got married once but it didn't work out. Days would be spent working, and a few nights together at home playing video games or watching tv maybe eating out a night or two, one night was usually reserved for us to do our own thing independently to give us space and sex was reserved once or twice a week. Weekend plans were usually to hang out with a local friend or family member. Occasionally do a week in Chicago or San Francisco or Orlando for vacation.

As such, by the time I entered my early 40s, I had never drank alcohol, never done drugs and never attended a real gay party. The limits of my sexual exploration was with a couple visiting from Saudi Arabia that I met on Grindr one night in 2017. I went to clubs once or twice a year at most and it was usually only after being guilted by a friend for a birthday and after an hour I would try and find the quickest reason to leave. I didn't understand techno music, and the guys all just kind of bouncing from one foot to the other didn't really look fun. I also had to admit I also didn't feel "welcome" - as a fat teenager and into my early 20s, I learned the hard way how brutal the gay world could be when you don't confirm to the standards of body image and even after years of losing weight and exercising and getting into an "acceptable" weight range - I still never felt like I would belong and my only saving grace was (from what I am told) an "oddly compelling and very handsome" face.

So I mostly tried not to judge and just accepted everyone had "their thing" and that the gay circuit night life was not going to be something I would ever experience. Maybe in another life. Who knows.

I knew Pablo was "into it" from some of his social media posts. Topless pictures of him looking exhausted but happy next to a DJ, or arms around other hot topless Colombian friends - but we didn't really talk about it too much. I think he saw that I was a bit intimidated by it, and rather self-conscious, but he explained to me that he wanted us to go to Cancun and go to Arena so I could see this part of life. It was something that was important to him and his last 2 boyfriends didn't like it, and he wanted to experience a relationship of doing it together.

The Party Started...

I was open to it and I could write books about all of my experiences with the first time at a circuit party - but suffice to say, it was like a whole new world opened up.

I learned quick that there was a very important element to parties that I had never considered or realized was the missing connection.


After spending most of my thirties in a quiet, self-righteous judgment for anyone who did drugs, the first few years of my 40s were spent revising my critical and judgmental notions and thinking about it with an almost gentle curiosity. I mean we only get one spin on this world, right? It's not like I would win a certificate for never having used drugs or drinking alcohol. I always had in the back of my head that at some point I would "try something". I had no idea what I would try, how I would get it or what it would be like and basically all I knew about drugs was cocaine was fairly easy to get and everyone did it and crack and heroin were bad - oh and that all gays loved Crystal Meth but it could ruin your life.

Luckily I was in the presence of Colombians, in which party life, celebration, drugs, music has a very large presence and unbeknownst to me, one of Pablo's friends was a pretty successful "mid tier" drug dealer and we had ample supplies for the week.

Talk about "things you have to learn about your new boyfriend".

After 45 minutes of arriving and telling Pablo and his friends "no" - I was finally convinced to try something. Pablo pulled me aside and explained gently that in these situations to really get the most of out if the group wants to roll together. That it would make me feel isolated and distant if I wasn't doing things with them. He made it very clear he wasn't forcing me and we would still have a good time, he just wanted to experience this with me and told me that it would be a lot more fun this way. I thought about it, looked around the sea of men dancing to black and green laser shows and shrugged. What the hell. But I made it clear to him to explain anything he gave me, what it did, what the risk was and what to be careful of.

To his credit - he was extremely responsible and very much did that. Even more so I appreciated that his friends were there and this was very clearly his life and he knew SO many people from all over the world - but never once did he leave my side for more than 15-20 minutes, and always left me with one of his friends to watch me, always came back and made sure I was okay, and anytime a guy tried to flirt with him or touch him, he would take his hand off and say "Hey - my boyfriend is here. Respect."

So began my new life.

To make things all the more symbolic, I had decided to move out on my own into a large studio in the Financial District and my company had relocated and opened a new building on Wall Street - so 2019 felt like the year of brand new beginnings.

I spent the whole week in a drug induced haze. The first time I tried a quarter of an ecstasy pill, within forty five minutes I suddenly understood why I had never felt a connection at parties or clubs. All my inhibitions were up, and while rolling on E, they all melted away and all I could feel was happiness and connection and joy and everyone was so happy and friendly and there were so many smiles and "hellos" to handsome strangers and people grabbed my ass or kissed my neck as I waded through the crowds. Within hours all of my pre-conceived notions about being "excluded" had evaporated. The problem was clearly me - not other people and with that insight came a wonderfully freeing feeling of letting go, and losing yourself into a high intensity set of music. Pulsing, sweating, feeling the surges of anticipation as the music grew and the beat was ready to drop and then this wild wave of release of when it did so.

There was such a strange connection to this. This wasn't a comfortable gay march, or a gay bar. This wasn't a quiet afternoon with your gay best friends, watching old reruns of 90s shows and playing boardgames. This was South American gay culture. This was far more tribal, it was freedom, it was expressive, it was feeling like you could be yourself and not the images you needed to be under the more religious and conservative rules. I found myself occasionally grabbing hands with someone and us just smiling at each other in the moment, watching the pure unbridled joy of just being yourself and connecting with others like you. It didn't matter that I was a little older or overweight or that I wore a basic old navy blue t shirt and white cargo shorts while everyone else was topless in speedos or cut off shorts. We were all the same. We were all there together and we were all connected.

I looked at Pablo and felt my heart surge over and over again. This was my boyfriend. He was topless, his shirt hanging around his belt loop. His cafe colored skin glistening with a light sweat. He was wearing my yankees cap and the band of his black CK briefs showed outside of his fitted jean shorts.

He was stunning with his chiseled body and deep expressive eyes. His macho determined walk, his neatly trimmed beard. I couldn't remember ever feeling that happy in my life and the party just kept going. From time to time he would come over to me and kiss me and whisper "novios" in my ear and he would grab my hand and lead me to another part of the party - I fell in love with him each time he did. Watching his confidence and strong masculine walk.

By 6:30am, I had taken 3/4 of a full E and the idea of going back to the AirBnb seemed depressing, luckily this is what after-parties were and sure enough due to Pablo and his friends' connections, we found one and were invited to one and we were there until about 1pm.

Each day I tried a new drug from the great big bag of supplies that we took turns watching. I liked E the most, though it killed your mood the next day. I was given K (ketamine), usually taken in the form of a small white powder that looks like coke and you snort. I tried coke once or twice but didn't like it and hated the metallic blood smell. I really liked Tusi which was basically K and E mixed in a bright pink powder that smelled of fruit and gave a pleasant dreamy feeling for a while, and then there was GHB. An acidic colorless, odorless liquid that you took with a drink and burned your tongue and made the idea of having any kind of sex absolutely incredible.

I was grateful when Sunday night finally arrived because I realized I had barely slept or eaten for days. Looking at the mirror, it felt like I was seeing a very exhausted and stressed version of myself, even though I felt very happy.

We said our goodbyes and 9 hours later I touched down in Manhattan and the next day I moved into my new apartment and so began 2019.

2019 In a Nutshell

I could go month by month into my new life, but that would take forever.

Suffice to say it was a pretty amazing experience and once I was back in NYC, I began craving the party life. It was like this hidden door that I had always wanted to know about and never had the chance to explore and someone had finally opened it and invited me in.

Pablo connected me with a few local Colombians and Chileans in NYC who hooked me up with my own supplies and started to take me out to parties locally. Funny enough Pablo would always get a little jealous about it, but he would never understand - he was this for me. Each time I went to one of those without him, I would just think about him in Cancun and miss him and send him texts and videos and pictures. I went to those parties because they reminded me of him and rolling with a big group of his friends would make me feel he was there - just walking around (ida una vuelta) and that he would come back shortly and grab me from behind and whisper "novio" in my ear before leading me to a bathroom for a bump of K or Tusi.

Our relationship was candidly volatile. I learned he was given to quick explosions of temper and had a moody side and a few days later he was completely fine. Our language barriers also prevented communication and though we agreed to be "open" sexually - we were both navigating the weird complexities between being honest and respecting a new relationship while also just feeling free to explore our mutual lives until we saw each other again.

I returned to Colombia in March for 10 days and as I reflect back, it feels like it was one of the best weeks of my life. He introduced me to all of his friends, we partied the entire week. He had class and work and I so I took care of the house and I felt an unimaginable thrill as I washed his underwear and dried our shirts together.

All of his friends were incredibly welcoming to me, but one was my favorite. Esteban was the shortest, one of the younger ones, the least intense, the least intimidating - yet he commanded an almost leadership of the group. Probably because he was a pretty high ranking drug dealer. We would always meet at his house before going out. He was our supplier and he'd give us great discounts and occasional gifts. We'd order take out from local restaurants, watch movies in his living room while playing with his huge dog and all of the texting and scheduling would start to coordinate for the party preparations. It is very possible to go out every night in Bogota. There is at least one party every day and over the weekends it can have 4-6. They party hard and most weekends started at 8pm and didn't stop until Sunday at 6pm. You just changed locations as one party stopped and the other started.

We traveled together to Chile for our birthdays and partied there in Santiago.

We did the same in Lima in June.

In August we went to Barcelona and spent the week doing one of his favorite circuits (after months I had began to learn that there were styles, brands, countries and guest stars to each DJ set and that there were rival party production companies)

We had our first "group sex" situation in Barcelona.

Completely unplanned and after spending a night at a party, we were heading back to the hotel in a taxi with 3 other men, one local and one couple from Egypt. At some point after taking too much G I passed out and woke up an hour later on the side of the bed, head hung over on a pillow and watching in the mirror as one of the Egyptian guy's ass and legs bounced firmly against my ass as he was fucked me. Pablo was fucking the other Egyptian while the local jerked off.

Turns out I had bottomed for each of them, Pablo recorded some of it and showed it to me later.

I didn't feel the least bit violated. It all just felt fun and weird and fascinating. I felt in love and loved and like a brand new world was open and that I was included in it.

His best friend Esteban arrived in Barcelona the next day and we kept going to the parties. Large warehouses. small clubs, water parks. There is something so surreal to be in a large family water park at 3pm on a Wednesday in Barcelona, surrounded by thousands of sexy topless guys from all over the world, dancing and connecting to each other. Secretly taking shots of G, snorting white and pink powders from small bags, with tiny metal spoons being passed around.

I felt so in love I couldn't believe it. Nothing else mattered. My work suffered, my friendships were somewhat rocky and I had missed out on a few family occasions - but nothing mattered. I was in love, someone was in love with me, we were traveling the world together and having the greatest time of my life.

A Whole New Level of Sex

After the group session in Barcelona, I started to explore some sexual urges by myself in NYC. I had always found sex so incredible, but sex while high was unbelievable and after years of being the dominant top, I loved going to a quiet sex party in NYC and under the spell of a half-dose of G, and walking to a quiet dark area, being groped, bent over a table or against a wall, feeling my pants and underwear being pulled down and a hard wet dick being shoved inside me as I teetered in and out a sex-filled cloud of consciousness. I found the idea of exhibitionism extremely hot and more than once I found myself so turned on at being watched by a group of turned on guys while being fucked by a stranger. Telling me to "take it good" and offering me hits of poppers or occasionally holding my head down or onto their dick to suck them.

Pablo had made it clear he had no interest in wanting to know any details. When we were together, we were closed, aside from our first "group" activity and he would get extremely jealous and possessive if he asked any series of questions that led to me admitting that I had sex with someone else.

On my side, I used to be jealous and possessive, but one of the plus sides to all of the drugs was a very hard look at myself. I never thought I would say this, but drugs had given me a new and happier perspective on things. I felt like I had spent so much time afraid of life. Quietly holding a reality together of what life "should be" and not what life "is" and any deviance from that perspective would be immediately dismissed. But I concluded that everyone in the world was just trying their best, and that when we hurt someone else it's almost always incidental - we are just looking for our small corners of happiness and that love is real and that pain is real and that human being just go through cycles, each time hoping to learn a little more.

I would ask him occasionally to tell me about his hookups or guys he liked and he would always get angry and defensive - like he didn't want to reveal that side of him. I wanted to do it to learn how to manage through the jealousy to see if I could find a part of me that was so in love with him, and get turned on to the idea of him being sexually aroused with another guy.

By my fourth trip to Colombia - I had realized our sex life was really not good.

Pablo was a sexy man, and he knew it. He was also a very strong willed and disciplined man - and he liked talking about sex, and liked being wanted - but the truth was he never really felt that horny. Over time, my dominant nature started to emerge and even though we started with him as the top, by the third or fourth visit together I began to do most of the fucking.

The problem was Pablo always wanted sex to be perfect and he was extremely paranoid and terrified of any "mishaps". While I understood and respected it, I had told him several times as long as we were showered and he felt okay, let's give it a shot. If not, we just stop and try again another time.

He couldn't bear it and when he was going to bottom, he would need to prepare the entire day. He would carefully watch his food intake. He would buy tons of cleaning supplies and would spend hours in the bathroom - once we started, he would still get paranoid and every few moments would stop and sniff around and the biggest mistake I ever made was pulling out because I wanted to shift positions. This freaked him out and he said anytime I pulled out it was signalling the end because we couldn't go back into it.

He also needed to be in the right mood - sex with him became a frustrating cycle of me always wanting it, and him being annoyed with me always wanting it. No matter what we did, he wouldn't cum because once he came he would need to wait about 3-4 days before wanting to think about trying again - so our sex life was usually a very passionate make out and grope session when I arrived. Occasional blow jobs in the living room, fucking him once or twice for about 10 minutes and then needing to stop when he would get paranoid that something was wrong or he was too close to cumming and then an hour of cleaning after sex with him taking multiple showers as though trying to scrub every potential piece of bacteria I may have shared with him.

Yet still even now, as I think back - some of the sex with him I had was the most incredible and about a year ago while in Mexico, I can remember the night we got separated and he came to the AirBnb a few hours later, and feeling bad for getting lost and feeling scared for what had happened to me, one thing turned into another and an hour later I was fucking him doggy style after ripping his white briefs open and cumming the biggest orgasm in my life - the first time I had cum inside him.

I hadn't learned it from my previous relationships, but there was an important lesson with Pablo - there was definitely a HUGE increase to sex with elements of delayed gratification

My Brother's Gentle Warning

When we reached October, Pablo and I planned another visit for Bogota. I would come for the last week, during the Halloween parties. I loved the idea and it reminded me of how we got our start as boyfriends and the night I fell asleep and woke up the next morning feeling in love with him.

As the day grew closer, I got a text from my younger brother asking to meet for dinner. I was surprised - he is one of my favorite family members but we never hang out live, just texts and calls and we see each other on family gatherings or to take trips to visit our Mom together.

We met and spoke and after making some small talk - he got to the heart of the matter. For the first time in our life he didn't let me cut him off or wave away my explanations. He held his hand up and told me quietly to let him finish.

He told me that he was seeing all of the signs - and to remember that he had some pretty big drug problems in his mid 20s that he hadn't kicked until his early 30s. I had forgotten all of that.

He talked to me about how much fun the life style is, and that he had a few crazy nights in Atlantic City, Las Vegas and London until 11am on hotel rooftops with scantily clad female escorts.

He said the family was getting worried about me. I had lost a huge amount of weight and barely answered calls. I hadn't been to the last few family events and my entire social media was dedicated to traveling with Pablo. He said the family was excited to meet him and they were happy I was happy, but they were getting a little worried - especially because it was clear to him that I was at least a little high in some of the text groups, like sending the family a picture of a sunset on an NYC rooftop rolling on E and telling them that the sunrise was like a big hug for all of us.

I decided to be honest and asked his advice. It surprised me - I thought he was going to say that I needed to clean up my life or dial it back, and instead he encouraged me. He said he knew one day this might happen and that he secretly wanted me to do this. To let go of all my inhibitions and have a crazy chemical fueled experience and travel the world - but he said naturally to be careful and not put my life in stupid risk, to stay with the drugs I was trying since they didn't have chemical addictions and were known to be "light" party drugs and not get involved with the hard hitters like crystal, heroin or crack - but the biggest piece of advice he saved for the end:

"I want you to do this. You deserve it. You are living your BEST life. Don't worry about the family, I'm taking PR for you and I'll keep telling them that you that you are fine and not to worry.

But bro. This is the one piece of advice Im going to tell you, and after I say this, I don't want you to think about it until it happens.

Enjoy it. Love it. Experiment, explore, have the time of your LIFE.

But remember, one day the party ends. And when it ends, you gotta let it go.

People will always try to hold onto the magic of a good party -now you know what that's like. It gets to be 2 in the afternoon and nobody wants to go home, but the magic isn't there anymore. People are exhausted and drugged and clinging. You gotta let the party go, take some time for yourself to work, recover, connect with family, pursue personal hobbies and then go to the next party- but once this one ends. Let it go and be grateful for the amazing experience, but never try to cling to it."

I promised him I would be careful - we embraced and I made plans to go back to Bogota.

2019: Last Call

The last week of October was essentially a mirror of each of my other trips. I would arrive, book an Airbnb - Pablo would arrive and we would hug and kiss and mess around a little. We would go to Estaban's house and upon arriving Estaban would race up and throw his hands around me and I would sometimes pick him up in a big bear hug and swing him around. He would lead me to the kitchen and dance with me and try to teach me Colombian styles while laughing uproariously and gently whacking my hand with a large spatula when I made mistakes. He did all of this while simultaneously cooking a chicken on one side of the oven, while microwaving and preparing pounds of ketamine on the other side that he would later distribute to his employees to sell at all of the bars and clubs.

Pablo and I would eat and catch up with whatever local gays were at Estaban's house, buy our supplies for the week and then go back to the AirBnb, get showered and ready and then go out to the party life.

Each time we entered one of those parties, it was like my whole life was a dream I was waiting to wake up from and now I was awake. I began to see familiar faces. I knew of the 2 guys from Iowa who had fallen in love with a couple from Cali and had relocated down there and they all lived together in a large apartment as some sort of polyamorous grouping. I loved seeing them because they were a tie into the USA and spoke English and knew what it was like to be introduced to this scene and the magical allure of the Colombian lifestyle.

Pablo and I would sometimes dance together like a couple who was so madly in love you couldn't tell where one stopped and the other began. Occasionally we would sneak into a bathroom and exchange quick blowjobs or even a quick fuck session. I was respectful of his space and learned to read his cues for when he wanted to be alone or with his friends and he learned to respect mine that sometimes I just wanted some time to wander around and enjoy the party by myself.

The rest of the trip was essentially the same - we saw Estaban nearly every day - either going to his house or him stopping by our AirBnb. We took turns doing romantic things for the other - I surprised him once with a big breakfast in bed and he surprised me the next night with with a hand-written letter he wrote while on the plane back from Mexico and how much it had hurt to see me leave each time.

Before we knew it, the last night arrived and after an explosive sex session ending with us both cumming within seconds of each other, we passed out, woke up and it was time for me to go to back to NYC.

In November, Pablo and I decided we were both in this for the long haul. We both agreed we wanted to make this work and realized the vital next step for him was to obtain a VISA to visit the USA. I wanted to introduce him to my family. I wanted to take him to Disney World. I wanted to wake up with him in my bed in New York City and play video games and introduce him to my cat. I wanted to dance in the New York city clubs with him and one night I even spilled I wanted to marry him.

To his credit, he didn't get weird or shocked and instead hugged me and we talked about what last names the other one would take.

Everything came to a rushing head in December.

One morning I woke up with an incredible business idea. Never before in my LIFE had I wanted to go into business for myself - but now all of a sudden it was the only thing I could think of. I had all of this tremendous experience with well known tech companies - I knew exactly how to package and offer a wide variety of solutions for other companies that would pay huge values for it. The companies of the names I had worked with alone captured a large market value and I was fortunate enough that every week I was sent at least 2-3 messages on LinkedIn for opportunities to work for other companies.

I couldn't stop thinking about it and the more I thought about it, the more excited I got. I was almost heady with the rush of adrenaline from creativity and I decided in January during the usual lull of my company I would sit down and work out how it would all work together and that maybe by the fall of 2020, I could resign from my job.

A week later - December 9th, I walked into work and was let go. No performance issues, just an end of the year restructuring - though my boss mentioned I had seemed a little distant the last few months, but he offered a relatively nice severance plan and after a day or so of being shocked - I started to see it as a sign. This was exactly what I needed to do. I began to think of how big my business could grow and the untapped possibilities on being able to launch and live off of this within 3 months, and have it be fully income generating within a year - at least 5-6x what I was already making.

New Years Eve

I called Pablo and we talked about it - since I was no longer chained to an office in New York, I made an offer. What if I came to Bogota for a month? Right after Christmas and I could stay until January. It would be the longest time we'd ever spend together. I could start building the concepts of my business, we could see how we do as a couple living together for a month while taking the time to put together the ideas and concepts.

He loved the idea and we planned and planned.

I would spend the week of Christmas visiting my family in California and on December 29th I would head down to Bogota and bring in New Years with Pablo. We both loved the idea - it was so symbolic - we hadn't been able to be together for when we started in 2019, this was going to make up for it.

The entire time I was with my family over Christmas, I couldn't stop thinking about my ideas and would sneak off for a few hours with my laptop to put timelines and outlines together.

Suddenly it was December 28th and my family was getting ready to say goodbye.

I landed back in New York on December 29th, I packed my bag and spoke to Pablo and he asked for us to meet instead in Cartagena. There was a huge New Years Eve party there and most of his friends were already there. I looked over the flights and Cartagena was about 4o minutes north and extremely easy to get to from Bogota. I booked a connection flight that would have me in Cartagena by 6pm on December 30th.

I woke up on 2pm on December 30th. I had overslept and missed my flight.

I checked my phone in a panicked rush and had seen at least 50 calls and texts from Pablo. I called him and explained - he was in an agonized fury. He had waited for me as a surprise and had purchased a ticket to the same flight so we could go together. I apologized and apologized and told him I needed him to stop yelling and let me call the airlines so I could make arrangements.

There were no other flights out to Bogota that night.

The next flight was out was 12pm on New Years Eve. I paid the massive change fees and then booked the connecting flight to Cartagena at 8pm, I would arrive by 9 in Cartagena. Pablo had booked the nice AirBnb for us.

I called Pablo and explained - he was calmer and just felt like we needed to be together by New Years. If we didn't spend New Year's together, it meant that we would break up in 2020. I told him he was being silly but not to worry - I would be there soon.

I spent the rest of the night cleaning my apartment, packing my bags and looking over my finances for the new business venture.

I woke up on New Years eve - feeling a strange sensation of excitement and wonder. I was so unimaginably grateful and excited. I called an Uber and arrived at the airport 2 hours ahead of schedule.

The flight was delayed by 2 hours. We took off around 4 and landed around 9. I missed my connection flight. There was one final one at 10:30 and naturally since I was no longer covered my by company's cell phone plan - I didn't have international service and couldn't connect to WhatsApp.

I did everything possible, but was held up in customs for almost 2 hours. At 11:20pm I reached the main terminal of El Dorado airport. I went to both kiosks for airlines to Cartagena and both said there were no other flights, I would need to go the next morning.

I sadly walked out - remembering all of the times that El Dorado airport carried such a magical weight for me - knowing Pablo was furious and alone and worried. I decided to do something a little nostalgic and took a taxi to our hotel. The one I always booked for us. The one I booked the second time we hung out. The one I fell in love with him in. The one I had woken up one morning and saw him as my future. I thought at the very least we could do a FaceTime call with this hotel that meant so much for us. While I knew he would be devastated by this, a part of me still felt huge relief. It seemed like an obstacle course making it to Colombia, but I did it, and I did it in 2019. The fact we were in separate cities was a tiny detail. We would see each other the next day.

I arrived at almost 1am at the hotel, checked in, connected to the wifi and didn't even read the 193 messages Pablo had written, ranging from sarcastic to angry, worried to furious. I could imagine everything he had felt and after a half-hour of us FaceTiming he was finally calm. He asked plaintively - was there anything we could do. I didn't see any options. I couldn't rent a car, it made no sense to drive the nearly 4 hours - we would just wait and see each other tomorrow instead.

Pablo showed me the decorations he had put up, the food he had made, a small card he had prepared - my heart broke, I apologized again and again and finally at 2am we both just wished each other a Happy New Years and I went to sleep, ready to start 2020.

To be Continued in Part III

Eric Machine
Eric Machine
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