You've probably all heard this story, I'm sure I've told bits and pieces to you over the years. But it's important for me to be able to put it all together. So please be patient...
I was hosting a going-away party for my younger brother in August of 1986. He was moving all the way to Athens (about an hour away!). My friend David brought a date to the party. His name was Steve. The second I saw Steve walk through my doorway, I knew he was the one. I flirted all night, when David wasn't looking... and I kissed them both good night as they left. Nothing serious, just a peck, but that peck was my insurance policy on what I hoped would be something I could count on the rest of my life.
Later that night, after the guests were all gone, I was in my living room cleaning up the mess. I heard a knock on the door and was happy to see Steve. He had dropped David off and returned. (Before you get the wrong impression- David and Steve had just met that same day, so I wasn't really breaking them up- they weren't together to begin with!). Steve spent the night with me that night and within the week he had moved in with me. Everyone said that it wouldn't last-- we were very different. We didn't have much in common- except long hair, slim waists and a burning desire to be together.
I won't take you through the details, but we lasted 7 years together. He stayed with me and helped me care for my father during his prolonged illness and eventual death. He was with me in the waiting room when I first saw my brother bring my nephew out of the delivery room and announce "It's a boy!". I sat next to him during both of his parent's funerals. We were the closest thing to a marriage that I've ever experienced.
Eventually, Steve got a job offer in Alabama. He decided to take the offer, I decided to stay in Atlanta. This was my home- my family and friends were here. My job was here. I'm not one to pick up and leave. I regret that. We didn't break up, just went didn't ways. We both wanted different things- he wanted small town living, I longed to live in the city. We both got our wishes. He now lives in a cabin on the top of a mountain.... I moved from loft to loft in the inner city before settling in a bungalow 10 miles from downtown Atlanta. Even though we were seperated, we talked on the phone often. But the phone calls grew fewer and further apart. Eventually we lost touch.
Fast forward a few years.... Mom decided to take the family for a day trip to NC. She packed each of us a lunch that we would enjoy while riding on a train through the Smokey Mountains. Imagine my surprise when it was announced that the conductor of the train was my Steve. Mom had planned this surprise reunion, with Steve's help, and they pulled it off flawlessly! She even had a boxed lunch for Steve. Way to go, Mom!
That was about 6 years ago. We've talked on the phone at least 3 times a week since then, and we've visited each other a couple of times each. We're still connected, although our lives took different paths than we could ever imagine. He got exactly what he wanted-- a small town, no nearby neighbors, a place to ride his dirt bike and pick his guitar. I got most of things I wanted, too- a house, lots of dogs to love on, a great circle of friends that support me no matter what. Every week we fantasize with each other about selling our houses and moving out West and starting over together in a new city or town. At this point in my life, I would do it in a heartbeat if I thought he'd follow through.
Applicable quotes from "Moulin Rouge":
* Christian: The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
* Toulouse-Lautrec: Christian, you may see me only as a drunken, vice-ridden gnome whose friends are just pimps and girls from the brothels. But I know about art and love, if only because I long for it with every fiber of my being.
* Christian: Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. And then, one not-so-very special day, I went to my typewriter, I sat down, and I wrote our story. A story about a time, a story about a place, a story about the people. But above all things, a story about love. A love that will live forever. The End.