In 1985, I lived by myself in a gorgeous apartment overlooking the Hudson River in NYC. With Zabars located a few blocks north and Central Park a mere three blocks east, 72nd Steet was a fantastic place to live.. Being alone in New York was not so fantastic. A sea of people. A city of strangers.
I planned a trip to Kentucky in the summer of '85 to visit an old college roommate and leave the City for green grass and fresh air. On July 4th of that summer, I called Homer to finalize the trip. Michael answered the phone. Peppered with mindless chatter, we talked for a while about our individual plans for the 4th of July. We knew we'd probably meet and see each other on my vacation to Kentucky. As he passed the phone off to Homer, Michael said, "Watch out for falling torches." And that was it. The day we met. Watch out for falling torches. Mystical.
A few weeks later we met in person when Marge handed me off to Homer at the Sonora Truck Stop to wind up my short vacation in Richmond before heading back to New York on Amtrak. The Sonora Truck Stop. Michael walked into the truck stop wearing purple gym trunks and a white tank top. He was tall, tan, and very cute. Extremely cute. Not the kind of guy I'd encountered at swanky Upper West Side bars in the mid 80's. I was intrigued.
A week of fun and mayhem insued. There were many many trips to Johnny Angel's, a few cook-outs, dancing, swimming, and a lot of preening. The entire Lexington gay scene fascinated me. It was outrageous, fun, explosive, and more interesting than an insane night at the Manhole in New York watching beautiful Thai women open beer bottles with thier vaginas while dancing on tabletops. Lexington was totally different. It felt real. People in Lexington and Richmond seemed to care about each other. Even through the bitchiness and cattiness, there was community. I wanted it. To belong to a community. To know that people cared if I woke up in the morning.
Michael and I found each other that week. Big time found each other. The soundtrack to Streets Of Fire was our soundtrack. Every beat and every lyric belonged to us. Ours.
I reluctantly left that paradise, boarded my train, and quietly returned to New York. That night, I spent 16 hours in a train seat staring through the darkness and dreaming. The world had changed. New York had changed. I had changed. My heart was mush.
We didn't know what to do about us. The miles. Individual lives. Lost chances. Long before Twitter, Facebook, texting, or e-mail, we constantly wrote to each other. Letters. Poems. Promises. As if we were both at war longing to be home.
Later that summer, Michael flew to New York to visit. My apartment was our home. New York was our playground.
We sealed the deal.
I left New York and moved to Kentucky. I arrived with very little. A suitcase....hope....love.
Michael was waiting for me.
I was home.
26 years later, I am still home. Happy. Content. Full. Whole.
Happy Anniversary, Pava.