Ivan the Terrible
The place was disgusting. The gray floor was accented with a layer of piss. Behind me there was a tweaker (a drug addict would be a softer term but I don't think he deserves such careful wording). Next to me, stood a man, 30-something, dressed in a way that conflicted with the surroundings. He looked like he'd just walked out of a business meeting. But that this very moment, he wasn't at all formal. How could one be formal with their dick hanging out? I could help but watch his instrument flip and flop about like a dying fish out of water. It excited me. Much like the atmosphere, the dick clashed with its owner, it was large and brutish. My own piece began to grow and stiffen as well, it was its way of saying “I'm not so bad either.” The man watched intently at my penis. He reached over and caressed it with his soft, well moisturized hand that knew not manual labor. Maybe it was the same hand he used to caress his wife's cheek. I looked at his face. He was handsome with features that teetered between delicate and masculine. He didn't look at me for one second. He remained fixated on my penis. If he were a straight man, I might as well could have had a pair of breasts hanging out of my pants. 'You just want my dick,' I thought to myself. Just like Ivan. I had to go, something made me feel uneasy. Maybe it was the junkie behind us who was acting a little too happy that there was finally some action going on in the public toilet. 'He'll probably rob me if I get too caught in the moment', I thought. Either way, I knew leaving was the best choice. Ivan was waiting for me at home.
His nickname was Ivan the Terrible, yes he was also Russian. It may seem to be culturally insensitive to give a man like him such a title, considering his birthplace, but he gave himself the name and he earned it.
“I'm an asshole.” he would tell me. “I know it.”
I told him that knowing you have an intense flaw doesn't make it any less valid. In fact, it makes it worse because you're dreadful and have no qualms about it. He would only laugh and say that I was right.
He loved rap music and hip-hop culture in general. He even quoted rapper 50-Cent in a birthday card he made for me once: “I love you like a fat kid loves cake.” Maybe he was telling me that he loved me too much, more like an obsession, a vice. That's how I felt sometimes when we made love. So deep inside of me that it felt like he wanted to crawl inside of me and wear my skin like an animal pelt. Outside, I felt more chinchilla than partner, like the final touch to his baggy jeans, sports jersey, and skinny platinum chain.
He was very confident, at least he acted the part. He was 5 years older than me, lived on his own since he was 14 years old, and had no issues with his sexuality. For a 19 year old who has never had a boyfriend prior this was very impressive. I remember the first time we held hands in public. He just grabbed my hand and didn't let go. He didn't ask permission which shocked me but made me respect him. He had presence and if my memory serves me well, only one guy had the guts to say something about our public displays of affection. Ivan made him physically regret ever opening his mouth.
Unfortunately, the assumed confidence and boldness had a negative aspect. He was very controlling. He didn't like me having friends male or female. He told me that my friends were against him and wanted to break us up. I was especially forbid to have black men as friends. It was clear that he felt that his duplication couldn't compete with authenticity.
I remember eating at KFC one day. We had just received our order and sat down at one of the tables. In the table behind Ivan, sat a man who with my luck, happened to be Black. I admit he was good-looking but I respected Ivan by trying to not pay attention to the gentleman. Ivan was running his mouth about his new workout routine and I could feel the gentleman's eyes burning into me.
“You want some sauce, babe?” Ivan asked.
“Uh, sure.” I replied.
“Be right back.”
He got up and left me with the staring gentleman. He smiled at me and I was reduced to an inexperienced schoolgirl. He motioned towards where Ivan was seated to ask if we were together. I shook my head yes. The stranger gave me a disappointed look and mouthed the words, “You can do much better” and pointed to himself. I laughed and shook my head.
Ivan returned with the sauce and looked me with a curious expression on his face.
“You OK, babe?”
“Yeah, I'm fine.”
Ivan didn't seem convinced, but continued on about his workout routine and how he swore his calves doubled in size in one week. I tried my best to stay with the conversation but it was totally boring. I felt the stranger's eyes on me again. I tried to sneak quick glances at the man while trying to engage in Ivan's vanity. Insecure men have an automatic infidelity detector built-into themselves. At any sign of disloyalty, it not only goes off, it explodes.
“What the fuck?!” he shouted, standing up. “If you wanna have lunch with dude over there, go right ahead and I'll leave your ass here!”
All eyes were on us. He knew that I hated when people around me made a scene and that was one of the many weapons he used against me. The stranger looked in the other direction, feeling totally uncomfortable. I was in a state of shock.
“Hey, dummy (snaps fingers in my face) you going to sit over there or not?! Go head and fuck him I am sure his dick is bigger than mine! Don't forget I was the only man who gave you the time of day when everybody else was ignoring your ass on CubChat! Oh now that you're getting play you think your too good for me?!”
I looked at my tray. I thought about how good it would look going across Ivan's face. Instead, I got up and exited the restaurant. As I walked out, I heard Ivan and the restaurant manager arguing back and forth.
I didn't speak with him for nearly a week after. It was difficult for me to understand what kind of environment would someone have to grow up in in order to feel justified in behaving in such a manner. He sensed my refusal to speak with him because of my one-word answers. At first he reacted with anger. “Oh so you check out another guy right in front of me and now I'm the bad guy?” When he realized that wasn't going to work, he approached me with kindness.
He knew I was a sucker for a sweetheart so eventually the flowers, chocolates, and poorly-pitched serenades in public won me over. I invited him to a family cookout and he managed to get along with even my most homophobic extended family. Although, I was always a low key sort of guy, my family could notice some slightly effeminate ways about me. But Ivan was what you would call butch and the men in my family liked that. It hurt me to see that some of the men in my family that I have known all my life felt more comfortable making conversation with a guy they've just met because he liked sports and rap music. One of my uncles even tried to fix Ivan up with one of his female co-workers. I set my own jealousy aside to appreciate that my family approved of Ivan. Things seemed to be so perfect. Seemed.
Ivan's way of suggesting something is imposing his decision on the both of us. The following is an example of this:
“You know what, babe? I was thinkin' once you graduate university. We can married, you know? Domestic partnership. I mean, my job don't offer health care and I'm sure once you finish studying, you'll get a good ass job that would offer good health care. And let's face it, we've been together for two years and I'm the best you've ever had. So it's settled, we'll get married. What do you think?
“What we'll do is make your graduation party into a commitment celebration so your family doesn't have to make two separate trips. Also, the ones who don't like the gay thing can pay attention to the graduation part of it. So we will go shopping for rings next week. I need you to be careful 'cause you know your weight goes up and down, I don't wanna go through the drama of having your ring re-sized if your fingers get too fat.”
“Ivan, I... don't know. I mean I am not sure if I'm ready for marriage.”
“What you mean you don't know? We've been together, you and I, for two years. For all I know you ain't been with anybody else. I mean, I get guys who wanna talk to me all the time and I stay with you. They look way better than you too, but that's called sacrifice. Maybe you're too immature to understand that. You still wanna be a little slut and fuck every guy who feels like giving you some mercy dick. Is that it? Or maybe you don't love me. You're just glad I'm dumb enough to fuck with your ungrateful ass! You selfish son of a bitch you never fucking loved me!”
“Whoa, Ivan. I do love you. I am just saying marriage is a big step and you didn't ask me to marry you, you told me it was going to happen!”
“Only cause your too damn slow. You can't make decisions for yourself. If you was running this relationship, we wouldn't be anywhere today!
Flashbacks of our relationship history ran through my head. It was Ivan who first sent me a message on Cubchat after I spent weeks visiting his profile without sending a single text. It was his idea that we started dating. He decided that we were going to move in together and found the apartment. He had a point, our relationship was based on his dominance and my compliance. I simply didn't get it. I used to be the outspoken brain back in high school and now look at me. I knew I had to defy him just this once.
“I need to go for a walk.” I told him.
“You're not going anywhere! We gotta talk about this!” He demanded.
He continued shouting and as his shouts got louder I began to drown him completely out. I rose from the table and grabbed my keys and walked out of the door. I expected him to grab me from behind, but he didn't. Whatever he did while I made my exit is anybody's guess because I didn't look back.
While walking, I realized what a subservient fool I had been. For this man, I had turned my back on all of my friends, ran away from any other man who even bothered to look at me, and followed every command he spoke. My insecurities were staring me in my face and something had to be done. But, what would a seemingly secure man profit by dating and thereby taking over the life of an inexperienced younger man? The answer was plain to see. Ivan was not only terrible, but terribly more insecure than I.
My feet carried me to a park with a public restroom. The high traffic of men standing outside of the restrooms told me this place meant trouble. After two years of being the perfect and long-suffering boyfriend, I figured that I had a right to be bad.
I left the restroom, still semi-erect. I started to run a little bit with the excitement of knowing that I kind of cheated on Ivan. Or did I? I didn't even come close to climaxing and the place totally turned me off. But the guy did touch my dick, so close enough.
I was too busy relishing in my mischievousness to notice that I was very close to our apartment. I saw Ivan sitting on the stairs of the patio with his head down, buried in his arms. He seemed to be crying. I felt that old feeling again. Guilt. And yes, love. I felt the responsibility to take care of my teddy bear and assure him that I would never leave him. I just had to make it all better. I began to blame myself for this whole ordeal, I mean why not marry the man that loves you even if the relationship is a little abusive? Maybe if I loved him a little harder, he'll change? I was kidding myself. The only way the relationship was going to have a future is if we both made some serious changes. He was not going to control me, he was not going to tell me with whom I can hang out, and he was not going to mistreat me no longer.
I stood before him, face to face. His baby blues floated in a red sea of tear-stained eyes. I was going to tell him everything that I wanted to say. But I had to hug him first, let him cry on my shoulder, take him inside our apartment, make love to him once more, and then sleep in each others arms. At the right moment, I would tell him how I really feel.
But when will that moment come?