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It was October 2006 and I had been in a rehab for 1 year. I told myself if I could stay clean & sober for one year I would treat myself to the ultimate European vacation. Since my cousin was already getting married in Rome, I decided to plan the vacation around that event.
One of my last stops in Rome was the Trevi Fountain. Now, I’m not a supersticious person. I do, however, subscribe to “what if?” and the legend about the Trevi told to me by locals & friends, claims that 1 coin tossed into the fountain over your left shoulder with your right hand ensures your return to Rome, 2 coins tossed the same way leads to a new romance, and 3 coins ensures a marriage or divorce. I don’t believe that every person or hopeless romantic that tosses 2 or 3 coins into this tourist trap ends up in a new relationship or married/divorced, but I did ask myself, “What if?” then, “Why not?” – so with my right hand I tossed 2 coins over my left shoulder. And that was that.
The next day I landed in Barcelona. On that very same day I a man while shopping in the underwear section of H&M. I didn’t know it at the time, but he would later turn out to be the “Him” that made my heart pitter patter, that special someone that made me feel all kinds of silly happiness.
I continued on with my Euro vacation. From Barcelona I went to Paris, then to London. I was supposed to go back to Los Angeles and spend a week off of work to recuperate. Instead I found myself back in Barcelona, spending every minute that I could with Francisco. I knew that this was a temporary thing, and that after 7 days I’d be back to my reality. At the end of the week I was on a plane with tears in my eyes, thinking I’d never see him again. I know, I know…how much more dramamtic can I get, right!? LET ME TELL YOU!
Because I was such a prisoner to my drug addiction, I’d never myself to think BIG – to think beyond what I knew. The day I left he told me, “I want you to come back.” “For another vacation?” I said. He said, “no, for good.” Of course that made it SO MUCH harder to leave. But it did plant the idea.
One year later, I was back in Barcelona – for good. I’ve been here since 2007 and on October 25 we will have been together for 5 years.
I’m not saying the Trevi Fountain had anything to do with it, but I do subscribe to “What if?”
Horrible first date: I actually met this guy and depending on who you ask, it was by accident. A coworker of mine left his yahoo chat up and we shared the same desk. While my coworker was away to lunch, I was typing away and suddenly and Instant message came thru.
Now, I thought I was logged into my account, but before I knew what was going on, I realized it wasn’t my account at all. So I told this guy I’ve been chatting with him by mistake, and gave him my phone number. We talked that night and the next day we went out to dinner.
I was in love with this guy the minute he walked in. Instant attraction. His clothes were perfect. His hair was perfect. During dinner, he flat out told me “it” wasn’t going to be going anywhere beyond friends. After our dinner, I kept touching his hair and he told me he was going to punch me if I kept touching it. I of course touched his hair one more time. I got an immediate punch to the stomach. I couldn’t believe he actually punched me. After that date, I thought for sure we’d never go out again.
I was persistent.
I called and called, and eventually we met up again, this time for his birthday. I reserved a place for a week over looking down town Austin. By the end of the week, I was telling him goodbye and just as I was walking out, he called my name, I turned around and he stepped up on his tippy toes and he kissed me.
Nearly 6 years later, we’re still together. I love this guy so much. He is the love of my life.
It was the summer of the year 2000. I got an email from Jul out of the blue. She was an old college friend of a DJ I knew in NYC named Clark. She was planning on moving to NYC from the Midwest and saw my Yahoo profile and wanted to meet me, I said sure. We met at a local bar/diner In Union Sq. Clark came too. Jul was BEAUTIFUL! I had a really good feeling about this.
Jul was holding the hand of a little boy with a hairy chest as she came in. I asked “who’s your little friend?” She said, “his name is Nando, I brought him with me.” “Well Hi there little Nando!” Little Nando gripped her hand and looked down at the floor nervous. I think he pee’d on himself a little. I felt bad, so I went to get us a table.
Jul and I had a great conversation. I could tell we had a connection. But I wanted to explore it more without the crowd. So we finished our food and went to another bar, while Clark took sleepy little Nando’s hand and went back to his place and tucked him in.
We had a great night, exchanged contact info and went our separate ways. Jul went back to the Midwest to plan her move and we emailed over the next few months before she came back. By the time she was about to move I said to myself, when she gets here she’s mine. As soon as she got here I made it absolutely clear what my intentions were. She felt the same way.
It was less than 6 months after getting to NYC when I asked her to move in with me. She agreed, but only on the condition that she could bring little Nando with her. Luckily, I had a separate room on the far side of my brownstone that used to be a kennel. We decided to keep him in there. She moved in on Valentine’s Day 2001, and I’ve been her’s ever since.
Seventeen years ago this July I was closing the chapter on my life in Phoenix. It was 1994, I had been in Phoenix for nine years. I moved here with my family from the SF Bay Area. I came out of the closet here, I dated many men but I was finished with this fickle town. Earlier in the year I visited my brother in Austin, Texas and found it to be a very open and accepting town (different from the rest of Texas) – it was a college town with a vibrant night life with gay clubs alongside straight clubs and no one really cared what you were. I found the people there very friendly and open and straightforward. So different than what I was used to in the cliquish crowd I had come to know here in Phoenix. I had the option to live in my brother’s house for four months while he was on an internship to get myself situated with a job and a place to live if I wanted the option. I jumped at it. I was 31, it was time for a change in my life. I wanted to shake things up.
Two weeks before I was scheduled to make the drive from Phoenix to Austin I met D through friends. He intrigued me. He knew from the start that I was moving, he still asked me out on a date. Ok, actually he called me twice and I didn’t answer, on the third time I picked up the phone and agreed to go out with him. I thought we’d just have fun, I was not investing myself into starting anything.
Over the next two weeks we had two dates and he met me at my apartment the morning before I drove east towards my new home in Austin. He was sweet, I did wonder what could happen but the wheels of this process were in motion and he never asked me to change. In fact, one of the things that impressed him was that I was willing to do that, make such an abrupt change in my life.
Over the next few months we kept in touch. I was starting to make a new life in Austin. I met people, I dated, I got a job and I started to put down roots. D came out to visit me, he had been working his ass off all year and needed some time off and had never been to Austin. We kept things on a friendship basis and I was the tour guide. There was a definite connection between us though, I could not deny it. After he went home I found myself thinking about him a lot. A week after he left he called me one evening, September 19, 1994. He asked me point blank about my feelings and if I would like him to move to Austin. I said “Yes”
That started a whirlwind adventure of him trying to do what I had spent months preparing for, and he had a house, a very good job and deep roots with his family here in Arizona. He did not want me to give up what I had dreamed, but after a few months it became apparent that it would be easier for me to pick up and move back at the end of my brother’s internship. So in the very early morning hours of November 30, I drove back to Phoenix to move in with D back in Phoenix.
That was 16 years ago and we are still together. Things have not always been perfect, we still had a lot to learn about each other once we did move in together, but we stuck it out during the hard times and we learned and grew with each other. The hard times will happen, that is guaranteed, but when you love each other you find a way to work through them and you are stronger as a couple. No one person is perfect; I made mistakes and so has D – but we are still here, ready to celebrate year seventeen in September.
I guess the old cliché is appropriate here, when you stop looking, love will find you. It certainly did find me completely unawares and unprepared. I wanted to shake up my life and I did, just not in the way I expected.
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