Powercycle isn’t even a valid term in any dictionary. Yet it could have several potential meanings. In the technical support world it simply means to switch something off and then back on again, in the hope that it will fix what ever problem you may be encountering. In reality it can apply to much more, for example Katy and I were on our third powercycle, and there were still some glitches that needed fixing.
By the time I was due to start my new job I had managed to get ill. I remember suffering through the first couple weeks of training dosed up on penicillin, going hot and cold and at times even struggling to keep my eyes open. I worried that I wasn’t making a very good first impression.
I needn’t have worried, by the time I had cleared the training room and started taking my first calls I was over my illness and getting to know my colleagues. When I first came into the role it was very technical and I learned a lot very quickly. The company I work for had become the first in the country to offer up to 22Mb connection speeds to consumers while also still providing dial up support. I learned a lot about routers, modems, DSL, ISDN, GRIC and all sorts of email solutions. I felt like a total geek.
I was working all sorts of odd hours since the contact centre was open 24/7. I’d pretty much forgotten about the arrangement Katy and I had agreed to. I was too busy with my new job to even think about the fact that I had license to roam. Not to mention that the only new people I was meeting these days were my colleagues and I didn’t feel comfortable yet with the idea of outing myself to any colleagues.
It wasn’t long before I settled into the rhythm of my shifts, sometimes I wouldn’t finish work until late in the evening by which point my friends would already be out in Bath at one of the gay bars. I’d often drive straight there from work to join them. We loved to go to Mandalyn’s it is a tiny bar at the top of the high street, the landladies were amazing hosts and it was a fun place to be. Thursday’s would be karaoke night, Sunday’s Cabaret, Friday’s 2-4-1 cocktails and always party time.
I didn’t notice for a while but when I look back now I can see clear as day that there was a distinct difference to how Katy treated me in public to when we were in private. When we were at home things were fine, we were a couple that enjoyed all the comforts of a relationship like affection, sharing a bed, kisses and saying I love you. Yet when we were out in public we were friends only.
To begin with I thought it was just in an effort to be social. So that we weren’t wrapped around each other tucked away in the corner of a bar all night, that we were making an effort to engage with our friends and get to know some of the regulars that we saw out often. Then one night out the balance tipped, Katy got talking to a girl called Michelle and was doing her regular interrogations.
When I discovered them together chatting away Katy casually introduced me to her and carried on with her twenty questions. What really bugged me was the introduction, she introduced me as her friend, not her girlfriend. I was a bit angry with her for that. Eventually Katy hit upon her favourite question… ‘Who would you rather sleep with, Elena or me?’ and Michelle answered with Elena.
That one question has set the cat among the pigeons. The next thing I’m witness to is Katy’s intricate web of lies as she’s informing Michelle that me and her used to date but we’re long past that and just friends now. Such good friends that we even still live together. Michelle believed every line, how could she not? I was too shocked to contradict the lies. Before I had truly grasped what was going on around me Katy had practically set Michelle and I up on a date and swapped our numbers.
Spite made me go along with it. I thought it wouldn’t be long before jealousy would get the better of Katy and she’d want to put a stop to this ludicrous open relationship idea. I thought to myself that the first chance I got I would put Michelle right and say no more on the matter.
It seems odd to me to be so deceitful, if you’re in an open relationship surely the right way to go about things would be with full disclosure. Let whoever may become involved know the situation and make an informed decision rather than involve them in petty game playing. I wasn’t given that opportunity with the lies already in motion.
In a gay community as small as ours it was inevitable that we would be seeing Michelle again. When we went home that evening things were interesting. Katy seemed to get a kick out of the idea of Michelle and I getting together, I could tell that she was attempting to live vicariously through me and I didn’t appreciate it. I threatened to tell Michelle the truth and somehow Katy begged and pleaded with me not to. Again maybe it was spite that made me react this way, I felt rejected and hurt with what she was asking me to do and if I went through with it and didn’t share any of the sordid details with her then that would be my revenge.
What I hadn’t expected was to find out how amazing Michelle was, to realise that I enjoyed spending time with her. She thought I was single, at times with the way Katy was treating me I wished I was single. It’s not like she appeared to want me anymore, she was more concerned with pushing me towards Michelle. Before I realised what I was doing I was in too deep, I had gone along with Katy’s lies and poor Michelle had been completely taken in. We were seeing each other quite regularly.
It was fast approaching Christmas and I was struggling to cope with the constant power struggle in our relationship. I didn’t know what I wanted anymore. All Katy’s lopsided open relationship had brought to our situation was a mass of confusion. When she noticed that Michelle and I had met up once or twice on my days off she decided to try and implement some ground rules for our arrangement. As she set about agreeing boundaries for my level of intimacy with Michelle my heart sank, I had already pretty much broken every rule but one. I however was a coward and wouldn’t admit this to Katy. Instead I agreed even knowing that one day everyone would find me out to be the liar that I had become.
I felt powerless, I seemed to be going along with the worst charade. I didn’t want to hurt Michelle and however things turned out past this point it was inevitable. I was angry with Katy for the way things had evolved, I was beginning to prepare myself for the end, I couldn’t see how there was anyway this could end well for any of us. I needed to take some power back for myself and stop letting her dictate what and who I should be doing.