I met Brian right after I broke up with Mike. He was funny, charming and cute. His smile filled the frame of his online profile, big green eyes that were warming to look at and a puka shell necklace around his neck; I was into him like crazy.

Brian and I had only ever spoken online, we hadn’t met in person and after talking for a while and getting along so well, he didn’t even know my name. I was still relatively in the closet at this point in time, so Brian never saw my face either. I lost touch with Brian after going home for Christmas during the semester break. In that time I reflected on my relationship with Mike and decided I wasn’t going to let that happen to me again.

Over the course of a few months I met a new guy who I fell in love with and ended up broken hearted – this would soon lead to a brief hospitalisation and dropping out of uni – but more on that later. After the break-up I made some new friends, unaware that we shared a mutual friend – Brian. Our paths had crossed for the first time in six months and I had no clue what to do as my new friends were introducing me to one of their closest friends. Meeting him in person, I was smitten. He offered me a drink, asked if I was gay and we bonded over our love of cheap alcohol. All in a space of about 15 minutes.

I spent that entire night getting to know the real Brian, we talked about things we had done, things we were going to do and things we dreamt of doing. I never knew if he’d picked up on the fact that we’d spoken before and I tried my hardest not to let it slip. Surely he didn’t know but I was still paranoid I’d be found out and the jig would be up.

By the end of the night I was like a love sick twelve year old. Brian was the first guy in a long time that took the time to get to know me. He made me laugh and he didn’t push me aside for other guys that were into him. About two weeks after getting to know him I decided to tell my friends that I was crushing – hard. It was then that I found out he had a boyfriend. They had been dating for six months and they were in love.
I was shattered, confused and angry. Angry that he never mentioned a boyfriend and at times (drunkenly) made out with me.

In the weeks that followed, although I knew about his boyfriend and Brian had told me all about him, nothing stopped us from flirting with each other. It only happened while we were drunk and it wasn’t anything serious. I enjoyed the attention and Brian just liked to be affectionate. I grew to love Brian as a friend and although I haven’t seen him in years, I still catch myself thinking about what could have happened but in retrospect I’m glad nothing ever happened. I’d rather have a friend than another ex.

I don’t know why Brian didn’t tell me about his boyfriend when we first met and I really won’t ever know. The same way he’ll never know that I was the guy who told him he was too cute to be wearing a puka shell necklace.