Well, it has been a busy month in northwest Ohio, and in Springfield, Missouri, to be sure...
Chris (the formerly completely anonymous Guy) came here the first weekend in November. Stayed at a El Cheapo motel nearby, so as not to spook the Straight Folks I live with. It was an amazing weekend - showing Chris around town, introducing him to places and spaces that were important. When he got in from his fifteen-hour bus ride, we had Tony's Ribs (mm mm mm mm mmmmmmmm yummy) and then went to the Art Museum. Got there late, got to see a cool glass-blowing exhibition, and generally walked around the Museum hand-in-hand (not a lot of places you can do that comfortably in Toledo, sadly).
Saturday, we went for a drive along the Maumee River, talking of everything under the sun. Took pictures of each other - as usual, mine were all eyes-shut (I don't know what it is about that...) but it was good, nonetheless. Then we had an early Thanksgiving dinner, complete with Our Family's Stuffing (somewhere between stuffing and meatloaf, unbelievably savory), and an evening of playing turkey-foot (an old dominos strategy game).
This was the first time my family had seen me with someone in a romantic way in, oh, 16, almost 17 years. (The one exception to that was when my dear friend Norma and I came in to Ohio to see the 40th anniversary Peter, Paul & Mary concert in Cleveland - but that, sadly, was more friends than not.) It was also the first time that they'd really seen me openly "gay" - actually with another man who was more than a friend. Hell, it was only the 2nd weekend in my life that I had been with another man - so it was pretty amazing, all the way around.
And they were absolutely A-OK with it, for which I was thankful. I showed Chris how to make gravy, which turned out just great, and he pitched in just like he'd always been there. He managed to win at turkey-foot, too - which my sisters and brothers-in-law won't hold against him for long.
We went to St. Mark's Episcopal Church downtown - a big ol' Episcopal church with a long history of being gay-friendly. And it was - there were couples of every mixture, and it felt amazing to sit in church and hold my boyfriend's hand and just be in God's family as a gay couple. That was an amazing experience, even if the service itself isn't what I would have chosen. The freedom to be ourselves "in church" was a new experience for me, to be sure.
Breakfast at the Star Diner (a feast, to be sure), followed by a ride seeing the colors in the Old West End. Reveling in God's glory...
And then it was time for him to go.
We sat in the Greyhound station, talking about everything but the impending arrival of The Bus, which was verboten because if we talked about that we were both going to cry, and neither one of us were ready to do that...
It became real obvious that this relationship was something way more than "you're nice company, I'm nice company, and we have fun together." As the bus pulled away, I followed in my car until they pulled off onto I-75...about half blind with tears.
It'd been a long, long time since I've felt that strongly about anyone, or anything. Felt pretty damn good, too...
Flash forward - Chris' housemate was going to be gone the week after Thanksgiving. Both of us couldn't take time off from work, but both of us wanted to spend time together. Since my work can be done from anywhere, the answer popped out of a slot. So back on the bus - this time, MegaBus through Chicago, to St. Louis - and a week of "playing house" in Missouri.
It was more real-life - the work-world stress crept into the relationship, and there were a lot of "what's wrong, babe?..." questions on his part. But there were great times - dinners with two of Chris' good friends, and an evening of cooking up zucchini-sausage soup that was an adventure for the kitchen-impaired boy...
It was magical. And we both knew it was going to be just as hard to say goodbye, if not more so. And then it happened.
The house Chris and his housemate own, which has been on the market for seven months...sold. "Under contract," as they say.
And the questions began, for Chris. What's holding him there, what would he do? What would WE do?
That's when he asked me...what I thought of him moving to Toledo.
I was blown away. After all, I moved to Toledo because I felt I had to, for the kids. I don't think I would have come here otherwise. But here he was, in my arms, saying he was ready to move to Northwest Ohio...for me. Just for me.
Holy shit, Batman.
My mind, which tends to run to the negative, saw all the reasons why it probably wouldn't work. But arrayed against all the nay-saying voices was the fact that this man wanted to be with me. And I wanted to be with him. Not just for a weekend. And not to "move in together," at least not yet. But I sure didn't want this to continue to be a long-distance relationship (it's expensive, to be honest).
The second movie we saw together was Transformers (which is just a fun piece of film, to be honest). When Sam and Megan (the two teen protagonists) encounter the Autobots for the first time, they are faced with a driverless Camaro whose door swings open to invite them in...
Sam: It wants us to get in the car!Yes. I sure do...
Megan: And go WHERE?!?....
Sam: Fifty years from now, when you're looking back at your life, don't you want to be able to say you had the guts to 'get in the car'?...
And so it begins.
He is looking for an apartment and a job long-distance. I am trying to help him find the lay of the land, and find a decent (and affordable) place to live in between the Evil Empire's demands. Part of me is terrified - afraid of the weight of my past relational failures.
But a large part of me is singing hosanna's and torch songs and can't wait and is willing to leap tall buildings...
What a day this has been, what a rare mood I'm inYeah, exactly like it, in fact.
Why it's almost like being in love
There's a smile on my face for the whole human race
Why it's almost like being in love
All the music of life seems to be
Like a bell that is ringing for me
And from the way that I feel when the bell starts to peel
I would swear I was falling, I could swear I was falling
- It's almost like being in love.
("Almost Like Being In Love," from Lerner & Lowe's Brigadoon)
Maybe this is insane. Maybe you can't find your true love on a first date on a random chance. But for now, I'm ready to seize the day. Carpe diem. Dive in for all it's worth.
And just "get in the car."