The reason for backdating the entry to this date is because I have no dates to reference. This is the date of Nathan's birthday, a date that I have never forgotten and have remembered each year that has passed since.
I met Nathan in September 2005, the beginning of my 1st year as a student at university. Nathan was a 2nd year student. I met him through the orchestra where we were playing alto saxophone together.
When we first met, he was gentle to me, he was kind and he made me feel welcome. I took to him instantly. I warmed to his natural sweetness and charm. I liked the way he made me feel when I was around him. Excited yet safe at the same time. He seemed like a friend with whom I could be safe. I remember seeing his name being put down on one of our peer mentoring groups and feeling relieved because I already knew that he was nice and we got on well. My volatile, reckless self felt balanced in his gracious, tranquil presence. He had a sensitive heart and a beautiful soul.
4/29/06, 6:03 PM
I could not figure out his orientation. He was cultured, well-spoken, poetic, articulate with words, well-read and intelligent. His ironic, carry-on comedy humour brimmed and bubbled away gently beneath the surface. His mind was always working, His banter was infectious. He had a theatrical, "caricature" countenance. When I was stewarding, he slyly commented on how dapper and smart my attire ("said the bishop to the actress!"). Even though I was only wearing a simple white shirt, black trousers and formal shoes. It was sensitive and funny. There seemed to be a repressed, homoerotic subtext. I longed to slip into something looser and more comfortable when I was around him. I felt like I was being undressed by him when he said "I do not want to go, but I have to". Or at the end of rehearsal when he humorously commented on my 'layers' [of clothing]. I told him that I have many layers. There was an unspoken energy, spark and attraction whenever we came into contact. Even at a distance. Another time, I was stewarding. He was walking across the mezzanine bridge into the auditorium to watch the concert for which I was stewarding. We caught one another's eyes. He widened his eyes and dropped his jaw in a look of mock, comic excitement (a look that told me he was about to dive into an immersive experience for the mind and senses, "how thrilling!") as he walked into the auditorium. I found this funny and cute.
Throughout the whole of my 1st year / his 2nd year we developed a deep emotional and physical bond, starting when I joined him and his friends for a Cèilidh @ Jabez Clegg one evening. He lived in Rusholme with fellow students.
Our personalities clicked. We caught one another's glance in Wind Orchestra rehearsals at the same moments as if we were having a similar intrusive, subversive thought about the way in which someone might have been behaving during those moments. One rehearsal, I was a bad boy and decided to avail myself of the magic and wonders of the Christmas Market instead of attending rehearsal. Nathan phoned me, asking me where I was. He was tactful and patient. It was the first time that we had spoken on the phone. I remember melting at the deep, sexy yet manly and protective voice. I told him how deep his voice is over MSN messenger.
We went out for drinks together next door in the bar another evening. Our stimulating conversations flowed naturally through the evening as we discussed music, books, movies and theatrical productions. We had a lot of common interests. We grabbed one another's arms when we realised that there was a musical that we both loved. Nathan had a wonderful sense of humour. He reminisced about how he used to sing in harmony with his sisters around the piano back at home, which painted a comical picture in my mind. A couple of times that evening, Nathan mentioned FF. He described my demeanour as becoming "melancholy". His words were "oh, no, Rory, you have gone melancholy on me again". That night, he texted me when I got back home, saying:
"I care about you a lot, Roz, and I want you to know, if you ever need to talk, about anything, I am here for you."
We developed pet names for one another. I was Roz, Rozzer or Rozman. He was Jonboy. He would always text me after we met, just to check that I got home safely. Or to express a nice sentiment. He was a true gentleman and a squire
5/24/06, 1:09 PM
In spring 2006, one of his closest friends, Mary, joked that Nathan & I were going on a "date". We were actually going to the cinema together to watch the Da Vinci Code movie released in May, 2006. During the movie's climactic moments, I sat there in the darkness, a feeling of thrill brimmed up inside of me. Nathan put a calming hand to steady my leg, which was trembling. He always had such a delicate yet steadying influence on me, light of touch yet strong and confident.
At the end of year ball, we were sat together. Nathan expressed how much he would miss me over the summer holidays. We started embracing and caressing one another wildly, even in the presence of our other classmates. It felt like something inside of us was changing, like waking up. Something primal. Instinctive.
At the bar, after the symphony orchestra concert, I was a little drunk on vodka lemonade. I said something to my friend BS about wanting to tell him how I felt. She warned me against it. Nathan & I had not come into contact yet that evening. The moment was building and building. I was anticipating the moment where we would come into contact with one another. It would be explosive.
The moment finally arrived. I blurted out, "I cannot stop thinking about you." Nathan quickly grew serious. He asked me if I was thinking about him as a friend, or as something more than a friend. Realising my mistake, I immediately backtracked. I feigned that I think of him as a friend. But it was too late. Nathan already acknowledged my feelings for him. He apologised to me and said "I am really sorry, I do not feel the same way. I am sorry." He took me in his arms and gave me a tight hug.
That night, he texted me (as he always did after an evening spent together). In the text, he apologised for hurting my feelings and expressed his hope that we could still be friends. I was too arrogant. The following day, Nathan asked me if I wanted to join him in the sun for an ice cream and a chat. I did not reply. I never saw him until after summer. Early on in the summer holidays, Nathan sent me an email.
Basically, I like girls. And I thought that this was all there was to it. But over the past year, I realised I was starting to feel things for you that were exciting yet strange and unsettling because I'd never felt this way about a guy before.
We exchanged MSN messenger details and kept in contact over the summer, exchanging messages. Our conversations were long and extended into the night. I used to get a little thrill every time his name popped up on my screen. I used to gaze lovingly at his profile picture.
At the beginning of 2nd year, we had our first music social. Nathan was there. Later on in the party, Nathan gracefully shimmied over the top of the sofa towards me and took the initiative to strike up a conversation with me. But for some reason, I went cold on him.
I 'projected' my previous experiences of Andy and FF onto him.
On one occasion, I passed him walking along the road carrying a sports bag. We did not greet each other. The below are reconstructions of text messages he sent me over the following weeks.
Nathan: I wanted to talk to Rory but Rory did not want to talk to me.
Nathan: You have avoided me the last two times that we have seen each other. Can you let me know what is going on?
Nathan: I was really looking forward to seeing you and playing with you in Wind Orchestra again every Tuesday evening. It's such a shame that they've moved Wind Orchestra from Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening so that it clashes with Chamber Choir. But much as I'd like to see you and play with you in the Wind Orchestra, Chamber Choir has to take priority.
See how cold and brief my message in response to the warmth of his friendliness.
At some point, I must have acknowledged at some subconscious level that I had been "projecting" my previous experiences of Andy and FF onto Nathan. I realised the error of my ways. I could not understand what was happening inside me. I had tried to create respectful distance with Nathan but inadvertently ended up over-compensating, shooting to the other extreme, and giving him the cold shoulder.
10/7/06, 1:42 AM
11/6/06, 2:54 PM
In late Autumn, 2006, we went out for one drink in the bar. The atmosphere between us was strange and uncomfortable, like something had broken between us (compare Avi on 31/03/2019). The uncompromising part of me had already resigned in this friendship. At one point, he even said to me: "We have not been talking for an hour yet, and already we have run out of things to talk about."
That Christmas, he sent me an email saying:
I was looking forward to seeing you after the summer and getting closer to you, but the reality is that things have not been good at all. You have been avoiding me and the one time we did go out for a drink, we made small talk and then ran out of things to say to each other. I care about you a great deal and I want to get back to how we were before that talk we had at the beginning of summer.
I emailed back agreeing to be more friendly towards him in the spring.
Looking forward to picking up where we left off, and perhaps getting a little further too... ;)
I relayed to my friend, Jess, what Nathan had said in his email, about "getting a little further too" in the music library downstairs. Jess said she was worried that Nathan was leading me on.
The first time we met in the new year, Nathan gave me the biggest hug on the stairs of the department atrium, even in the presence of other people.
During the spring/summer semester, 2007, I was more friendly towards Nathan. But my nerves increased in his presence. I felt aroused, euphoric, scared and vulnerable, all at the same time. Not relaxed and safe like I had done so previously.
On Valentine's night, I sat in the lounge of my house and drank myself into despair. I listened to the James Blunt album "Back To Bedlam". My housemate came back in with her boyfriend. They found me crying and listening to the song "Out Of My Mind". As she asked me what was wrong, the song "Cry" came on. I was so ashamed that I could not find the words to explain the depths of despair that I was feeling.
That same night, I knew that there was an "Anti- Valentine's" party at Mary's house. On the spur of the moment, I decided to attend. I attended the party. I became so anxious that I isolated myself in her back garden. Mary found me drunkenly trying to escape by climbing over a fence. She talked me into coming down. She took me into bed with her. She said to me, "I have always seen you as a happy person. But underneath it all, you are not a happy person, not really, are you?" We could not work out a specific reason for my unhappiness apart from a feeling of general loneliness.
One night, Nathan walked me out into the garden behind the department. I latched onto his arm. We sat on the bench together, I said something romantic about the stars in the sky. I caressed his face. He was somewhat awkward and uncomfortable. On the walk back to the department, I tried to latch onto his arm again but he broke off and asked if I minded if we did not do that in public.
Again, I started trying to distance myself from Nathan.
Despite my resistance, Nathan was nothing but a sweet and caring "big brother"-type figure towards me, who kept closely monitoring my feelings and emotions via email and MSN messenger throughout the spring and into the summer. He truly cared about me.
Nathan: That was an abrupt 'goodbye'. Hope I didn't say anything to cause it!
Rory: I want to love you in the way that feels most natural to me.
Throughout the spring, our feelings intensified. Every encounter was a private, intimate embrace.
One sunny day, I walked past him in the campus gardens approaching the University bridge. He was stood under a tree talking to a couple of girls. He looked relaxed and confident. I felt insecure. Although we acknowledged one another, I did not have the courage to go up and talk to him.
Shortly after he shaved his beard to commemorate completion of his dissertation (as he promised to everyone on Facebook that he would do), I was practising saxophone in the downstairs seminar room. Nathan came in. I had to physically sit down on the floor while I was talking to him. Emotionally, I was so imbalanced that I felt like I would fall forever. I used to gaze across at him in chorus rehearsals, wanting him intensely. Another day, we were alone in the changing room together when we both happened to change our shirts at the same time and had a private embrace.
As summer exams approached, we were in the computer room. There was only one other occupant. Our greeting was civil and restrained under public scrutiny. But as soon as the other occupant left the computer room, we instinctively swung our chairs towards each other and fell into a sensual embrace in our desk chairs. The transition was almost automatic. Nathan was graduating this year, and I was asking him about what he about his plans for next year. Nathan replied "Who knows".
A few moments later, we were kissing. Nathan, possibly realising that this could be a potentially awkward situation if someone walked in, ushered me out of the computer room and into the more private and secluded stairwell. We kissed passionately, 4x. We kept our eyes mostly closed, but butterflied one another for some of the kisses. I squeezed him and moaned "I love you". My proclamation was more an expression of grief than elation. At the end of the embrace, Nathan asked me if we could keep this between ourselves. He also mentioned that there was a girl he had been pursuing but that it was not fair on me.
I must be completely honest in my journal. I admit that, during a post-concert social, I told Jess that we kissed. She might have exclaimed "you kissed!" loudly in surprise. She definitely did not say the name of the lucky man. At the time, I thought that this must have jinxed my fate.
A few days later, in the atrium of the department, I saw Nathan with his fellow 3rd years. I tried to sit next to him. He was distant, cold and avoidant towards me.
Later on, I sent Nathan the following text that elicited no response.
Rory: What's happening with us? I love you. xxx
One summer afternoon, I went into a section of the library to study for my 2nd year exams. I found Nathan studying. He smiled up at me and continued studying. Shortly after I had taken up my position in the library, he upped and left. He smiled down at me and waved vaguely as he was leaving the library. I followed him out into the stairwell and grabbed his attention.
Nathan turned around. His smile had faded.
"Rory, about the other day... It was a mistake," he said, his voice flat.
"Do not say that!" I exclaimed.
"I am sorry," he said.
I tried to embrace him but he shook me off again and asked me not to.
When he saw he had hurt me, he pleaded:
"Rory... Please, do not..."
I sunk against the wall. Nathan turned and left the library casting a nervous glance back in my direction. I walked to the other side of the music section and sat at the bottom of the stairwell. I tried to cry. I could not. I might have been in shock. After a while, Catherine found me there and asked me if I am OK. I was a little spaced out. I feigned to her that I was OK.
That evening, I accompanied some friends to see a play. I had started drinking. One of my classmates, Davina, noticed that I was acting a little erratically. She said that she had never seen me so happy before. One of my other classmates Theo (who I had grown up with at school) tried to hug me from behind. I violently shook him off and demanded him not to touch me.
Facebook & Email:
Rory is numb.
Something broke between us. Whenever I passed Nathan in the department, I could not look at him, let alone speak to him. On one occasion, I was sat on the floor of the corridor outside a practice room. He passed and greeted me kindly. I did not return the greeting but I looked at him this time. I was outside in the corridor when I heard him sing the culminating notes of his final recital.
At the end of year ball, we avoided one another. At one point, we did slide past each other in close proximity. After the ball, I was sat on the front steps outside with Mary. She was slightly drunk and emotional. She asked me who I loved, which was somewhat ironic. At that moment, I took the opportunity to be whisked away with some other friends in the nearest taxi. Looking out of the taxi window, I saw that Mary seemed to have descended into hysterical, drunken sobs and was being consoled by Nathan. I do not know what she was crying about. It could be that she had sensed something in my energy. It could be simply that she was feeling nostalgic about graduating. University was coming to an end and everyone was moving on. Nathan looked through the taxi window, saw me and our eyes met.
At the symphony orchestra afterparty - the same party at the bar, and exactly one year after I admitted to Nathan how I felt about him - I was drinking heavily and trying to avoid all eye contact with him. Towards the end of the night, I was drunk and our eyes locked for one last time outside in the courtyard. For a minute or so, we simply stood and stared at one another from opposite sides of the courtyard. Nathan broke eye contact, grimaced and turned away.
Afterwards, we ended up at the same restaurant when everyone migrated there to sober up.
That summer, I found out via my housemate that Nathan had achieved a First Class accreditation for his degree. I was not surprised. He was not only incredibly bright but also highly creative with a genuine passion for the subject.
In the summer, Nathan sent me an email that read something along the lines of:
I can't hide that I still dream of you, I fantasise about holding you in my arms, loving you. I hope we can bridge the gap that has formed between us.
I replied to Nathan saying that I was not emotionally prepared to go back. I expressed to Nathan that I was unable to give him another chance and risk getting hurt again. Nathan's reply was hurt. He had a family bereavement. He was finding it hard to concentrate on all of this relationship stuff. He said that he has spent the whole of this year trying to work out his feelings towards me. My response to him only proved to him that I did not really know him at all.
We had always promised one another that we would go and see The Lion King musical together in London. Mainly down to me, the dream never materialised. Our friendship ended in summer, 2007.
Out paths would cross:
On both occasions, I was unable to go up and speak to him.
I loved him. He touched my heart in so many ways.
I have always had this vision in my mind that in future, or in some other life or alternate reality, our paths would cross again. I have always held onto that belief. That I might have the confidence to go up and talk to him. That we might sit down together and be able to have some sort of civil, tranquil conversation and talk openly about our feelings. Without inhibition. He was someone who touched my spirit beyond all imagining. I have wanted to have that secret meeting, outside of our bodies and minds, if not in this life, in the next life. He was an angel.
Rory spent the first few years of his life in an ice cave, carving out his palace of wonder. He's a bit of a love doll, but he who melts the ice shall have their reward.
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I have been recommended to acknowledge and process all that I have been though, where it all started from how it has affected me.