As promised, here are some of my favorite pictures from the GALA festival in Montreal:
The last part of the story of Donnie, my first boyfriend.
(This story was written in 1995 for my first website.)
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About a month later I learned that Donnie would be moving to Houston. His mother and sister would be moving back to Atlanta, where they originally came from. I was crushed. I was really falling for Donnie and now he had to leave. We decided that even though he was leaving, we would continue things up until he left, thinking that maybe someday I could move down with him or vice versa.
It killed me to think he would be leaving… but eventually he did.
He was gone for about three months when one day I got a call from him.
“What would you do if came back to Racine?”
I answered, “Well of course I’d be incredibly happy.. but what would you do? You have no job, nowhere to live, and I can’t move out because I’m not ready!”
He said, “I could probably figure something out.” I figured that was that and left it there.
The next evening I got home from work and checked the answering machine. There was a message.
“Rick, this is Donnie. I’m back in Racine. Give me a call tomorrow at this number..”
I cried.. tears of joy and tears of sorrow. I didn’t know where he was or where he was staying. But he was home. And as far as I knew he came back for me.
We saw each other the next day and holding him in my arms was the most wonderful feeling I’d ever felt. He got his job back at the gas station and was living with the owners. I knew that wouldn’t last long because he never got along that well with the owners… but for now he was here and that’s all that mattered.
We dated for a while but for some reason the magic just wasn’t there like it used to be. I became busy with school and then started working in Illinois. He worked every day at the station and we hardly ever saw each other.
Eventually I met another guy and we dated for a while. He was cute, younger, and fun to be with.. but he was 18 (and for some reason that bothered me)…
…and I wasn’t over Donnie.
I broke up with him about two months into our relationship. I told him I loved Donnie. He understood. He was a good guy.
I went to see Donnie the next night. To my shock he informed me that he would be moving to Lexington, Kentucky to live with his father. He wasn’t happy in Racine and needed to get out. I was crushed more than ever before. I lost my chance with Donnie.. the guy I truly loved. We made out a bit in the back room and hugged a lot. Then I left.
About halfway down the road from the gas station, I called him on my Cell phone. He was still there. I was crying.
“It’s Rick.. .I’m in my car. I was just thinking after I left…”
“What’s the matter?”
“I love you, Donnie. I will always love you.”
“I love you too, Rick”
“Don’t go. Please.”
“I have to, Rick.. there’s nothing else I can do”
We talked for a little while then I hung up.
I saw Donnie one more time after that. He had a going away party but I couldn’t go because I was sick. I cried so much I didn’t think I’d have any tears left. He called me from his party. We were both crying. I told him I loved him again. He told me he loved me.
The next day he was gone.. .and I haven’t seen him since.
We have kept in touch via phone and mail since then. He now lives in San Jose, CA and has a room mate that he says likes him a lot.. but he’s never stopped loving me or thinking about me. Judging from my tears as I type this, I realize that I still love him. Very much. And I always will. Perhaps we were meant to be together, and if so, I hope that someday we can and will be. Until then I hold very precious memories of the times we spent together, and great regret for all the times we could have been together but weren’t. We parted against our will. We still have contact.. but it’s not enough. I wish he were here now to dry my tears, to hold me and comfort me and tell me everything will be OK. But he’s not and I must deal with that. I miss
him. I will always love him.
I guess what I learned from this story is, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone..” as the song says. I never realized just how wonderful Donnie was until I realized he would be gone. Life is unexpected with the way it works. You could be walking down the street, minding your own business, when all of a sudden fate smacks you in the face with a new adventure, a new love, or a new tragedy. All you have to do is keep your eyes open and your senses aware. You never know what will happen next.
A few months after this was written, I realized I had lost Donnie’s phone number. I was pretty devastated, looking all over the place, and even phoning directories trying to find him, but to no avail. One day Donnie phoned me and informed me that he was, indeed dating the man he was living with in San Jose. They had been together for some time and he was happy with him. I was more than happy to hear from him again, and I finally got his phone number and could call him whenever I wanted, but I didn’t. I felt it was time to close the wounds from this experience, and I was doing a good job of that already. So I called him very sporadically.
A while later, I heard from Donnie again. He was moving out of the apartment he was sharing with that guy, and they had broken up. He was moving a few blocks away into an apartment with a friend of his. I was slightly happy to hear that, but again I felt like it was useless getting excited about it. He still wasn’t going to be moving back anytime soon. He said he’d call me with his new phone number once he got settled into his new place.
I never heard from him again.
Closure has happened. I am over Donnie. Though I will still have a place in my heart for him, as most everyone does when it comes to their first love. I am still single, still looking for someone to fill that space, but I guess I compare everyone to Donnie. That’s not fair, but I guess that is an unwritten rule somewhere when it comes to relationships. I had hoped he would call before I moved to Chicago, but he never did. It just wasn’t meant to be. And I guess that’s just fine. I’ll live.
Many relationships–one much more serious than Donnie–later, and looking back at what I wrote nearly 10 years ago about him, I see now how young and naieve I was back then about love. Having been through the pain and the sorrow of the ending of a relationship one too many times, I know it never gets easier. But when you’re 23 or 24 and still new to everything, it seems like the end of the world.
Donnie was special, though I wonder if I really loved him. I’m not so sure now. I still think of him fondly, occasionally, but I don’t really know if I understood what love was back then. I think I do now, but I also think that love takes on many different characteristics depending on who he is, what the relationship is based on, and the when, where, why and how you fell for him. The fact that I haven’t had a relationship that has lasted over a year probably speaks to my still-evident inexperience in this area. Maybe, hopefully, that will change someday, but it is good to know that I am capable of loving. I know that will never change.