My head was spinning. What did she want to ask me? She seemed so serious, her face was of concern, or nervousness. I couldn’t really tell but it seemed like what she wanted to ask was important. Even Patrick looked taken aback, he didn’t seem to know what she was on about either.
I leaned in closer, ready to receive whatever question this Blaire chick wanted to ask.
“I wanted to ask you if…” She trails off, like she’s about to ask something out-of-line, “… if you were gay.”
I sigh with relief, “Why do you ask that?”
“I don’t know, I just think I have a good gaydar. Don’t take offence if you’re not, I just thought I would ask.”
“Well it’s good that I am, then.” I say, a smile escaping the corner of my mouth.
“Oh my god! Thats wonderful! Sorry for the question, I just love gay people.” She says, a giant smile across her face, “You’ll love Sydney then! It’s like the gayest city in the world. Most of my friends are gay! You’ll really love it there.”
“Yeah that’s part of the reason I chose to travel to Sydney. I was actually supposed to only go to Asia and then I was supposed to go home. But I looked at my bank account and decided I didn’t want to go back, so booked a flight to Sydney and applied for a Work Holiday Visa instead.”
“Well you’ll love it, it will be amazing! And I live there so we can totally hangout once you’re there.”
I look at Patrick, who hadn’t said anything, I cheekily ask, “Are you gay?”
Patrick laughs, “No I’m not, but I don’t think anything wrong if you are.”
My food arrives, and I’m sure I almost scared Patrick and Blaire off when I inhaled the burger and fries at light-speed. They ordered some food as well, and we sat there for an hour chatting about our travels so far.
Blaire had been in South America with her now ex-boyfriend, and after she found out he was cheating on her there, they had split up, abandoning her in the country. She had fled to Southeast Asia, hoping to forget her heartbreak. She had been living in Sydney a few months before traveling.
Patrick was a photographer and a writer. He had spent two years in Australia, the last of which was working with children on Christmas Island, the place the Australian Government detains refugees trying to get to Australia by boat. He had recently won a photography competition in North America where he was going to spend a year being the official photographer for all the best festivals… including Burning Man, Woodstock, etc.
We spent the rest of the day together, and then we spent the whole time in Koh Tao together. We spent our nights partying hard, and our days getting Thai massages and sitting on the beach. Blaire and I grew close. I was supposed to spend 3 days in Koh Tao, but because of meeting Patrick and Blaire, I ended up staying 10 days. It wasn’t all fun and games, as one night Patrick got in a huge fight with a Swedish guy who was hitting on Blaire.
Blaire and Patrick had a complicated relationship. They met in Thailand, and they quickly connected and became friends, after a while they had sex, and then they started traveling together and sharing a bed. But Blaire was using him as a distraction for her own heartbreak, while Patrick grew more and more infatuated with her.
After the fight with the Swedish man, things got awkward. Blaire spent a few days with the Swedish guy while Patrick and I hung out. Patrick got obsessed, he started getting drunk and writing short stories about Blaire, saying that all the best writers write when they are drunk or heartbroken. Blaire and Patrick had lost their connection, so Blaire got her own room.
My last night in Koh Tao Blaire and I went to the outdoor cinema with the Swedish guy. We watched Machine Gun Preacher, and then went out clubbing at a beautiful beachside club.
“You need to make sure you contact me once I’m in Sydney,” Blaire said drunkenly, “You’ll be arriving there a few days before I do, but once I’m there you are welcome to stay at mine for a couple days while you look for a job.”
“That would be great!” I yelled, almost spilling my drink. It was hard to hear over the loud music, “I will message you once I arrive and we can go from there.”
“You’re a really great guy, Cody,” Blaire said, “And you and I will have so much fun!”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I had just landed in Sydney. After that last night of heavy drinking with Blaire, her and I said our goodbyes the next morning as I headed off to Bangkok to meet up with my friend from Canada, Nicki. Nicki and I spent the last 10 days of my Asia trip together, and then she left for Turkey while I got a flight to Sydney.
I fought my way through Australian customs, and managed to find my way through the train network to Kings Cross, an area in Sydney known for its nightclubs, strip bars, and brothels (all of which I didn’t know at the time). All I knew was that the hostel I had booked was located there. Miraculously, I managed to find my hostel without any help from a map. The hostel wasn’t on the main street in Kings Cross, so the street was quiet. I had booked a bed in a 6 person dorm. It was autumn, so the leaves were turning and beginning to fall off the trees.
I had grown used to the hot, humid weather of Asia, so the bitter cold of Sydney autumn caught me by surprise.
I had never really had a gay friend previously in my life, and the gay-scene back in my hometown in Canada was very small. When I had lived in Canada I tried to avoid the scene altogether, part of me was still coming to terms with being gay, so hanging out with gay people was awkward. Another part of me was scared, scared of what other gay people thought of me. I had a few relationships in Canada that hung in the awkward space of ‘not dating but more than friends‘, but either than that I was still new to the whole “scene” thing.
But that night, the first night I arrived in Sydney, I decided to do the unimaginable. I had looked at a map of Sydney in the hostel, and I noticed that I was staying close to the gay street in Sydney (called Oxford Street, which I grow to know well) and decided: I am going to go to a gay club. Tonight. By myself.