Re-Launch: September 11: Where Where You?

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: V...
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This was originally posted on September 11, 2004.  I’ve made a few edits to bring things into today’s situation, added a final thought.  

Ten years ago today.

I was getting ready for work. It was just another Tuesday morning. I was dating my ex at the time, and he had already left for work, so I was going about my usual routine. I showered, got dressed, and had some breakfast. Everything about that morning was par for the course.

Except that I turned the TV on.

You see, I was and still am not a TV-in-the-morning type of person. I rarely ever catch the Today show or Good Morning America, unless I’m home sick or on vacation, and even then it’s rare. So my turning on the TV while getting ready for work that morning was very random.

I turned on Good Morning America. Diane Sawyer was talking to some family about some wonderful thing that had happened and they were all smiles, feeling happy and good about whatever it was they were talking about. I don’t remember. I just remember thinking “Typical morning-show sappy stuff,” and kept going about my business.

They broke for commercial, showed one commercial, and then came back, abruptly.

There were Diane and Charles Gibson, sitting in another room. They looked very serious.

“We have something to show you. We don’t know very much about this, but there is something major going on at the World Trade Center…”

And they showed the tower. Ablaze. A huge gash cut out of it. My mouth dropped. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

It was approximately 8:50AM, Central time. The first plane had hit at about 8:45AM.

As I watched in amazement, the commentators tried to describe what had been happening up until then. It was believed that it was a plane, but nobody was sure how big of a plane it had been. As far as anyone knew, there was no footage of it, and it had happened so fast that not many people saw it. But now our eyes were glued. Our attention was focused. And at three minutes after 9:00, our lives changed forever.

I watched the second plane fly into the second tower. In real time. As it happened.

I never felt such fear in my entire life. For some reason, I knew right away that we were under attack. I knew that nobody at that moment was safe. If whoever did this could plan it so that two separate planes could fly into the two towers of the World Trade Center on the same day, just minutes between each other, then they were capable of anything.

“Oh my GOD… Oh my GOD…” said the voices on TV.

I called my roommate in to see what was going on. He was supposed to be flying to New York that week.

“Uh… I don’t think you’re going to New York,” I told him.

Oddly enough, the first name that popped into my mind was Osama bin Laden.

Just weeks before this, reports had been coming out of Afghanistan about centuries-old relics being destroyed by bin Laden’s Taliban regime. They were denouncing all capitalist countries, especially America. They were predicting jihad on America.

I watched intently, thinking that this could get really ugly. bin Laden’s name was familiar, also, because he was named as the person of blame in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

They seemed determined to destroy those towers. And when that second plane hit, I thought to myself “They finally did it.”

I didn’t know quite what to do at that point. I called my ex, who was on a train heading downtown, and told him what was going on. He said that people had been getting phone calls left and right but he couldn’t figure out what was going on. I told him I was going in to work. I didn’t know what else to do.

So I left.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day outside. The air was cool, and the sun was warm. Fall had not quite set in on the region yet. It was a beautiful late summer day.

But the air was incredibly still. It was eerie. I kept running what I had seen on the television just moments before in my head, over and over. “We are under attack,” I told myself, “and I am going to work. Am I nuts?”

The train ride to work was even worse. People who knew each other were talking extremely softly to each other. Some were on their cell phones. Others just stared out the window. I was like a funeral. I realized that I wasn’t the only one who felt the way I did. What do you do in this situation? What do you say?

I got off the train and walked the rest of the way to work. Over to the north is the Hancock Building. To the east, the AON Tower. To the south, Sears Tower. I watched the skies feverishly, hoping to God that nothing was coming. I paid special observation to the AON Tower, and noticed how much it reminded me of the World Trade Center. I started to cry.

I got to work and started my ascent, 38 floors up. Silence in the elevator.

When I got to my floor, everyone was milling about. Some were crying, some were talking. Nobody was working. Everyone was in a panic. “Why are we here? What is going on? The Internet is down. We can’t find anything out!”

I told them that I had watched it happen on TV. A couple ladies were a bit hysterical.

I called my mom and dad to get updates. Tower 1 had collapsed by then. My mom begged me to go home. “I don’t want you downtown with all of this going on. Get out of there.”

“This will not work. We won’t be here long,” I thought.

Sure enough, at 10:30 the announcement came that we were to go home. I grabbed my things and got out, fast.

The train ride back was even more morose than the ride in.  People seemed stunned into silence.  When the train came out of the subway, I remember glancing back toward downtown in case of any further activity.  Before I knew it, I was home again.

My ex and I watched TV from the time I got home until 2 in the morning. I saw the towers fall so many times that I could see it with my eyes closed. I saw the Pentagon, the military center of the United States, in flames and rubble. I saw the aftermath of the plane that went down in Pennsylvania, and wondered which target it was truly heading for. I repeatedly saw the video of people running as fast as they could after the enormous plumes of dust and paper and glass racing behind them. And I saw the war-zone-like aftermath, with bloodied, dirtied, and barely alive people, wandering aimlessly as they try to figure out for themselves how they got there–how this happened to them and to their city. I saw the streets lined and littered with destroyed fire trucks and automobiles; glass blown out of buildings still standing, trees and traffic lights, bent and broken and twisted, and papers.. the papers… everywhere you looked were papers.

September 11, 2001 was just like any other day when it started.

September 11, 2001 was a day that I will never forget for the rest of my life by the time it ended.

Final thought

Every year on the anniversary of the attacks, I relive these moments.  As I read through them just now, I remember every moment of that day as if it happened just hours ago.

At this very moment, it’s 11:44am.  Ten years ago at this very moment, I was probably walking back to my apartment from the train station.  I remember, as I mentioned in the initial article, how still and peaceful the day was.  I remember thinking that maybe it was because there were no planes flying overhead.  All air travel was suspended that day.  So between the glorious, warm sunshine and the cool breezes, it felt otherworldly to be outdoors that day.

“Never forget,” we say every year at this time.  I never forget, anytime.  It’s hard not to remember.

I didn’t lose anyone close to me that day.  In fact, I don’t know anyone who perished that day at all.  But everyone lost something that day.  And in some ways, we still haven’t found it again.  I don’t know that we ever will.

Re-Launch: Stop calling me!! (Unless I like you!)

I found this great post that I wrote ‘way back in 2005 that I thought you might enjoy again.  To this day, anytime my phone rings and it’s an 800 number, I remember this ridiculous conversation.

And yes, he truly did say, “You are only harassing yourself.”  

 

Whenever my phone rings, I check the caller ID. If it’s an 800 number, I usually have a good idea who is calling, so I refuse to answer. More than likely it’s yet another telemarketing company.

Yes, I know about the National Do-Not-Call Registry, but I never got around to adding my number to it. Now I’m paying the price. I get calls every day from various outfits offering me a chance to “Win a million dollars by entering our contest” or “Get a quote for siding on your home” or “Refinance your mortgage.”

Of course, most of these calls are recordings, but the “actors” on the other end have recorded their voices in such a quasi-conversational style that it borders on sickening.

Occasionally, however, I will get a call from a live person, and usually this person is not from the United States. They always SAY they are calling from the United States, but the heavy Indian accent tells me otherwise.

The other day, I made the mistake of picking up one of those calls. I’ve seen this number repeatedly on my Caller ID, so I wanted to know just what the heck they wanted. I also wanted to ask that they remove my number from their list, which they are SUPPOSED to do, but rarely ever follow through.

So I answered the call.

Me: Hello.

Telemarketer With Thick Indian Accent: Hello Sir?

Me: Yes.

TWTIA: I am calling because you have been selected to participate in a contest for…

Me: Hold on just one minute, please.

TWTIA: …and if you act now…

Me: EXCUSE ME!

TWTIA: Yes, sir?

Me: I have asked you at least once before to please remove my number from your calling list and you have failed to do so. Please do not call me anymore. I am not interested.

TWTIA: But why?

Me: Why do I need to tell you why? I am simply asking you to no longer call me. I get 5-6 calls a DAY from you, and I am not interested in anything you have to say.

TWTIA: But why?

Me: Are you deaf? I just said why. Now stop calling me.

TWTIA: But why?

Me: (getting extremely irritated) Listen, I am not going to argue with you. You are harassing me. I am not interested in your products or services. Now STOP CALLING ME!

TWTIA: But why?

Me: (now totally angry) STOP CALLING ME!!!!!

I hang up the phone.

The phone rings AGAIN.

I can’t believe this guy. Is he SERIOUS?

I click to answer and hang up again.

It rings AGAIN.

I hang up again.

IT RINGS AGAIN.

I go to Google and find the National Do-Not-Call Registry. I sign up my phone number– ALL of my phone numbers. This shit has got to stop.

IT RINGS AGAIN.

I pick up the phone.

I answer.

Me: What part of STOP CALLING ME do you not understand!?!?

TWTIA: But Why?

Me: I’m through with you. I want your supervisor.

TWTIA: I am the supervisor.

Me: Then you are an idiot. Why would I buy anything from you? Why would I even listen to anything you have to say? Is this how you do business– to harass people?

TWTIA: You are only harassing yourself.

Me: That doesn’t even make sense! Stop calling me. I will not answer the phone any more. I’ll find a way to report you if you continue. Goodbye.

I hang up the phone.

It rings once more and then I never hear from them again.

I have no idea what the product or service was… but these FREAKS are out there, people. If you haven’t done so yet, go directly to the National Do Not Call Registry right now and add ALL of your phone numbers– Work, Cell, and Home– to the list. It will take 30 days for everything to get squared away, but after that, if you get calls like this one, you can report them and they can be fined for harassment. Don’t put up with what I did. Do it now.

So… what the hell happened?

The GAP logo.
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Last week, I posted this short paragraph to my Facebook account:

Just had an experience that is making me re-evaluate the way I live my life. I need to make some changes, post-haste. For now, though, I’m going to spend a quiet night at home.

The comments, emails, text messages and phone calls that followed were overwhelming.  In a good way.  Without even knowing the source of my dismay, my friends from far and wide reached out to me with words of comfort and encouragement.

Mom and Beth, sorry you are hearing about this firsthand– I didn’t include you on that post– I didn’t want to worry you.

So… what the hell happened?

Well, in hindsight, it seems kind of silly.  Really.  I wasn’t held up at gunpoint or told I have some life-ending disease.  I wasn’t fired from my job or evicted from my home.  Nobody was maimed or harmed in any way, shape or form.

Only my ego.  And maybe my self-esteem.  But it’s really my fault.

OK, enough with the setup– here’s what happened.

On Friday after work, I was preparing to meet some friends out for drinks and then head to a fundraising event for the chorus.  I was looking forward to the events, mainly because in the very near future, things were about to get really busy with the chorus show.  A last hurrah, of sorts.

So I decided to go shopping and buy a new outfit for the evening.  I needed some new shirts, as I’ve worn my short-sleeve shirts to death.  The most logical stop was The Gap, since there was one just a block away from my first stop for the evening.

I went in, and I found a couple really nice short-sleeve shirts and a pair of jeans.  I also looked at a new jacket, since it had suddenly turned colder that day and I didn’t have one with me; and the jacket I already have is starting to look a little worn.

I found XL sizes for the shirts, because that’s been my size for years now.  I had been working to change that, but in the past few months I haven’t been so good about going to the gym.  We’ll talk more about that in just a few minutes.

Anyway, I proceeded to the fitting rooms to try my new selections on.

NOTHING fit.

Absolutely nothing.

Not the shirts, not the jeans, not the jacket.  They were all too tight.  In fact, the shirts were so bad I couldn’t even bring the buttons together with the buttonholes, and I had a hard time getting my arms in the sleeves.

Now I could see if one shirt was bad, but two?  That’s just weird.  I’ve worn XL Gap clothes for years and they always had ample room.  But not with these shirts.  At the first attempt, I thought, “This has to be mis-labeled. ”  It felt like a MEDIUM, not an XL.  But I took it off, and it was definitely marked an XL.

Dejected, I stood in the fitting room and started at myself, then at the clothes.  What was this telling me?

  • I wasn’t going to buy anything that day.
  • I needed to fix this problem.

How did it get to this?  I was doing so well just a year ago.  And now I can’t fit into new clothes.  How did I fall so fast?

Then I started to feel humiliated.  All I wanted to do was get out of there and go home.

So I patiently gathered up my things, brought the clothes back to where I found them, sauntered out of the store, and went straight home.

That’s what happened, and that’s why I was feeling so low that day.

Now, in hindsight, I have a few thoughts:

First, there has to be something amiss with those clothes and the sizes.  I could see if they were a little snug, but to be so tight that I couldn’t even bring the buttons together seemed ridiculous.  I have never had that happen before, and I’m sorry, but I haven’t gained THAT much weight.  In fact, I had a doctor appointment the following Monday, which only proved that to me– I am still well under the weight I was at when I started my workout regime in May 2010.

Second, I don’t usually resort to the tactic of “Vaguebooking” to elicit responses from people… but I felt pretty vulnerable that night.  I almost deleted that post shortly after I wrote it, but after the responses started coming in, I actually did feel a lot better.  I can’t thank those of you enough that reached out.  You helped me greatly.

Third, I have made a promise to myself to get back to the gym once and for all.  It’s going to be tough at first, I know; but I did it before and I know I can do it again.  I can’t help but think of how well things were going last year and how great I’d look now if I had only stuck with it.  So I need to stick to it and keep thinking of the end result.  It will come.

Now I need to actually JUST DO IT!  Getting started is the hard part.  But I know that (second) first day back is coming very soon.  It will happen.

And a year from now, who knows… I may be wearing that MEDIUM after all.

But let’s just take things one step at a time.

My First Boyfriend – The Story Comes Full-Circle

Fifteen years ago, in 1995,  I wrote a story for my first website. The web was still in its infancy, and not too many people had personal websites.  This was even before I had my first Online Journal– before anyone knew what blogs were.  The story was about the first guy I ever dated.

I posted this story to my blog shortly after I started it in July 2004, and wrote an epilogue.

Today, I just got off the phone with Donnie, my first boyfriend.  I hadn’t spoken to him in over 15 years.

Funny how things happen.  We meet people, have wonderful experiences with them, and then life gets in the way.  Sometimes we stay in touch; other times we drift apart.  In Donnie’s case, I wasn’t sure I’d ever hear from him again.  But the other day, on a total whim, I tried finding him on Facebook– and I found him. Amazing how things come full-circle.

Here’s the story that I wrote in 1995.  I’ve fixed a few things for accuracy and better reading.  I’ll post an update at the end.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

It all started in the winter of 1992….

I was working at a Best Buy in Racine, Wisconsin at the time. I had a 20 minute drive to get from there to Kenosha, where I was living, and the majority of the drive was along a highway that connected with my street. As I entered Racine, I would always pass by a Citgo gas station. On the way home from work, I would frequently stop at this gas station to fill up my gas tank.

One night I stopped and went inside to pay my bill. There at the counter stood the most adorable guy I’d ever seen. He had deep blue eyes, brown hair and was about 6′ tall. I immediately knew he was gay… that instinct ‘gaydar’ we all have… but being rather shy I didn’t say too much. I simply paid my bill and left.

Needless to say, my visits to that gas station became much more frequent. It seemed that he worked there EVERY night, so I was almost never disappointed. Once in a while we’d make small talk.. maybe just smile.  He had the cutest Southern accent… I couldn’t begin to place where it was from, but that combined with his adorable looks just made him all the more irresistible.

I was a Product Specialist at Best Buy in the Audio Department. I had been there a few months so by that time I felt like I knew what I was doing. One day I was at our ‘answer center’ and I looked up.  And whom did I see but Gas Station Guy, walking into the boombox aisle. I quickly scooted over there and said “Hi!”

He recognized me from the visits to the gas station, and smiled. He wanted to buy a boombox, so I showed him all the features on the one he was looking at, gave it to him to take to the registers, and said, “See you around.” That was about it. I was in bliss.

The next day I was surprised to see that he had returned, with the boombox in hand. I waited for him to finish at Customer Service. When he headed toward the boombox aisle again I made my way over to him and asked, “Didn’t like that one?”

“No, I decided I wanted one with a CD player.”

“OK, no problem; let me show you some that have one.”

We talked a little more small talk and I sold him the new boombox. I couldn’t tell if he liked me or not.. and for that matter I couldn’t tell if he was gay or not.. but deep down I knew he was.. he just had to be.  Besides, this was all business.

That night as I left, I looked at my gas gauge and… what a surprise! I needed gas!

I drove over to the Citgo station. I could see him in the window. I was quite pleased. I gassed up, drove the car up to the building to park, and got out. When I walked in, he immediately recognized me. “HEY!” he said happily. “I was hoping you’d stop in!” My heart jumped. “I love the box.. I’ll keep it… but I wanted to know what you knew about car stereos..”

He proceeded to ask me a bunch of questions about car stereo equipment.  We talked about that for a while, then talked about where he was from, then talked about our families, then talked about music, then about TV… then about God knows what else.  I got  there at maybe 10pm.  Next thing I knew it was 1am and it was time to close the store!

He closed up, and didn’t kick me out. We talked some more about whatever.  Finally he asked me, “So where do you go out?”

“Well, here and there.. nowhere in particular…” I answered.

“Ever been to a place called ‘Club 94?′” He asked. (Club 94 was a gay bar in Kenosha)

“Well.. yeah… once or twice.. it’s fun.  I guess I like it.” I answered, getting VERY excited.

He asked me if he could sit in my car while his warmed up.  Now keep in mind, this was about the dead of winter of ’92, a VERY cold winter. He had a Renault Encore. I had one when I first got my license, so I knew how they were. I, of course obliged. He locked up, we got in my car while his ran to warm up and he says,

“OK I’m not gonna bullshit you anymore. I’m gay.”

“Well that’s good,” I said with a smile, “because I’m gay, too.”

We talked a bit more.. exchanged phone numbers.. and that was it for that night. We both had to get home.

His name was Donnie. I was on CLOUD NINE for at least 48 hours after that.

I visited him nearly every day after that. We’d talk all night long, sit in my car and wait for his to warm up, then go home. We never would kiss, we never got mushy… it was just this strange new friendship thing we had. I felt silly standing around a gas station convenience store for all hours in my Best Buy shirt; and my dad wasn’t pleased with it either– especially because I was there to see a guy! (My parents knew about me for a while before this)

Anyway about three weeks into my visits with Donnie a friend of his came in and hung out. I could see that they knew each other pretty well, so at one point I asked him about Donnie.

“How well do you know Donnie?” I asked.

“Why, do you like him?” (he was rather blunt)

“Yes.. why?”

“Well let me just tell you. You’re not his type. I wouldn’t try too hard.”

I was crushed. As far as I knew, he knew Donnie better than anyone else, so I had to trust his word. Still, I thought that if Donnie didn’t like me that much he wouldn’t have been talking to me so much and letting me stay so late. I mean, there had to be SOMETHING there. However, I was very new to the whole gay thing and as far as I was concerned, his friend was right, so I made my visits to the gas station less frequent.

But eventually that changed and I would stop in again just as frequently as before.

One night we went to a bar behind the gas station for a quick drink after he got out of work. We had known each other for about three months at that point. I still didn’t know what he thought about me, but I knew how I felt about him. I was crazy about Donnie, and it was driving me nuts.

After the bar closed, we sat in my car and talked. “This is it,” I told myself. “It’s now or never”.

“Donnie, we’ve been seeing each other now for about three or four months… and I’ve really grown to like you …. a lot. I just want to know… what do you feel?”

“I feel the same way Rick.”

“Really?

“Yes.”

I then asked him if I could kiss him. He said yes. It was the first time I had ever kissed anyone. And it was wonderful.

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.

We kept in touch while he was away, calling each other as often as we could.

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 (I was 23), and for some reason that bothered me…

…and I wasn’t over Donnie.

I broke up with him about two months into things. I told him I still had feelings for 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 of the store 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.

“Donnie?”

“Yes?”

“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 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.

——————————————————————————–

Epilogue 1 – 1997

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 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.

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Epilogue 2- 2004

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.

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Epilogue 3- 2010

Six years later, the story comes full-circle.

I always wondered what became of Donnie.  Where he ended up, who he ended up with, and what he was doing.  I didn’t even know if he was alive or dead.  When you lose touch with people, you can’t help but wonder these things.  Sometimes they cross your path again.  Other times, it never happens, and we are always left wondering.

So a couple weeks ago, on a total whim, I looked up his name on Facebook.  I’d tried this a time or two before, to no avail.  But this time, his name came up.  I clicked on the profile.  There wasn’t a picture of him to be found, but the birthdate seemed right.  Then I looked at the profile and saw two things that clued me in:  He belonged to a group for Atlanta Gay Men; and his employer was based in California.  It just had to be him.

I figured it was worth a try, and I sent a friend request.  A day or two later, the request was granted, and he sent me a note.  He said he was amazed that I found him, and he was so happy to hear from me.  We exchanged Email addresses and traded Emails back and forth, and today we talked on the phone.

He’s been with a guy for the past nine years and is in a wonderful relationship.  They’re living in Atlanta now; close to his family.  He’s doing great.  It was so good to talk to him again after all these years.  In fact, it felt like we had never lost touch.

He told me he always wondered what happened to me, and I told him I always wondered the same about him.  We shared stories of things that happened in our lives, and decided that someday we need to get together again.  It was like talking to a dear friend.

I’m so glad I wrote our story, and kept adding to it as years went by.  It’s really a testament to how, although our lives change, the good people who grace our lives will always find a way back.

Tonight, I’m smiling.  And reliving a lot of great memories.

Let’s Pretend…

In the opening scene of Season 7 of Project Runway, Heidi walks into the bathroom.  It’s really steamy, and she doesn’t know why.  She thought she was alone.

She goes to open the shower door and is shocked to see Tim Gunn standing in her shower.  Tim turns around, smiles and says, “Hello Heidi!  How are you doing this morning?  I thought I’d get an early start.  I’m delighted to start our first season of Project Runway on Lifetime!”

Horrified, Heidi realizes that…

(a) Tim Gunn must be really confused;

(B) She really needs to stop eating before bed; and

(C) Season 6 of Project Runway was all a dream.

(More like a nightmare.)