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Header: Jess Anderson in Madison Wisconsin
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Roger
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I've only fallen in love at first sight once, and this was the person. We went together for six months to the day. He'd been carrying the torch the whole time for this other guy, and in the end, that's where he went.

I should have known, which I don't mean in a cynical way. I did know about this other person, after all, and Roger was about the jumpiest of all my lovers anyway, constantly roaming around or, as I thought, looking for opportunities to. I don't mean to imply that he was cynical either, but in a way I was a means to an end, one that was available -- too available, really -- and who met certain objectives of his. I was his first real lover, and it was something he was curious about. I remember one night his saying "So this is what it's all about!" after a particularly close evening capped by spirited and very releasing sex.

One relevant factor was his relative inexperience in sexual matters. Looking back on it, I can see that he very much liked our sexual relationship, and I have to say I did too, for he had talents that made up for the inexperience.

Emotionally, though, this was the most fucked-up of all my pecadillos, because I was from day first to day last in a state of very great anxiety about being abandoned, if not for this other guy, then for someone who would turn up. And someone did turn up (whom I met quite a while later, and like Roger he was one of the best-looking men on the planet, I thought), long enough for Roger to decide that he and I had no future. What I felt when it finally happened was an immense relief, freedom from anxiety that it might happen, even though I was sad that it had happened.

I'm sure it's a fairly common pattern -- it certainly has been with me -- to swear off all this at the end of a love affair. But when it was all up with Roger, I really did swear off and for more than 10 years it stuck. I met a few people with whom an affair would have been quite enticing, but no one so caught my fancy as to make me put aside the awareness that I did not want to feel vulnerable in that way any longer.

Another factor at the time of breaking up with Roger was that I had some strong support. I was in therapy -- I'd started almost as soon as I met Roger because it clearly was making me nuts -- and I had just met another very attractive young man who was keen on helping me, Stuart.

One nice little fillip on the story, though. Our affair spanned a Christmas, and as a gift Roger gave me a bird feeder and Roger Tory Peterson's A Field Guide to the Birds. Having lots of birds around the house all winter was one of those delights that has lasted, better than the affair itself did.

Roger is still very much around. He works for the University, and his office is about a block from where I used to work. I would run into him fairly often and nearly every time we'd have a friendly chat. My erotic interest in him still exists to some degree; I'll put it this way: I would certainly not say no, though I don't think there's any interest on his side. He is still quite gorgeous, too. He's still living with that same guy in a truly lovely rural place east of Madison. I've no idea and no great interest about what their relationship is currently; it's not something I would ask about.

For all the grief I had during that brief affair, I remember now the pleasures more than the pains. As he and I are still friendly to one another, it seems to me one of the most desirable outcomes following a crash.

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