Two high school choirs, a joint Christmas concert of Handel’s Messiah. At our first rehearsal, I perused the tenor section in which I sat. HE was right behind me. My heart wildly flip-flopped and by the time rehearsal was over, I knew we would one day be together. Forty years later, we—he twice divorced and me with two significant relationships to my credit—decided it was finally our time. Heading into our ninth year as a couple, both of us in our mid-60s and looking to marry, all we have to say is, “Now is the best of times.”
The Full Megillah (687 words)
By high school, I’d already been through several soul-crushing heartbreaks after being shuttled through six foster homes and four adoption agencies. I longed for a father with all my being and I searched in every man’s eyes for my hero. My heart got pummeled instead.
At age four, I was finally adopted. By then, I trusted no one and didn’t bond with my new family. But I kept my antenna primed: I was a seeker, one of those forever on the lookout for “the one” who would fill my heart and soul, who would save me from life. It never happened … well, not when I wanted it to and not in the way I’d envisioned.
In 1970, my junior year in high school, I was involved in numerous school activities, including choir, but felt separate, alone, disconnected. I knew I was different, a homosexual on track to damnation according to my church and slated to be ostracized according to society.
One day, our choir director announced we’d be giving a joint Christmas concert of Handel’s Messiah with our nemesis: the other high school in town. Groans all ‘round. The day came for our first rehearsal and we were bussed across town to their school. The ignominy of it all.
Bleachers had been set up in the gym. They were already there, sizing us up, their pique in check, cautious. Some offered haughty stares and contempt. We moved as a herd onto the gym floor, anxious and wanting to be anywhere but there. Directed to head to our various sections, we were told to mix it up, not clump together with our own classmates. Under-the-breath sighs and groans were whispered among us, but we obeyed.
One hundred percent positive that I was the only gay person there, I headed to the tenors, searching for where to sit in a sea of young males. Feeling ungainly and stupid as I climbed over several bleacher rows, I worked my best leading-man,nonchalant face and turned on the charm.
I began introducing myself to the other tenors and there HE sat. Heart pounding, I did what I usually do when smitten: played the class clown. HE fell for it and we immediately began teasing each other and laughing. By the end of rehearsal, I utterly knew we would one day be together, lovers.
Forty years went by. HE married twice, my having introduced him to his first wife—stupid me. I attended the reception for his second marriage, never giving a thought to my high school forecast. Life went on.
I had been busy, too, having had two significant gay relationships. Then, during a two-year interval working for a client in Cleveland, HE suggested coming out for a long weekend. The evening of his arrival, we went out to dinner. Driving there, the falling snow increased in size and magnitude. The car slipped and slid like an amusement park ride, both of us laughing, wreathed in an emotional high.
Getting out of the car in the oh-so-romantic parking lot, barely able to see, HE said something. My heart skipped a beat, but I pretended to not understand what he’d said, and we scrambled our way to the front door. I reverted to my standby mode: nonchalant deafness—but my heart was racing. I felt punch-drunk as we were seated, flushed with jumbled anticipation.
Two glasses of red wine sat before us. I got up the courage to ask him what he’d said out in the snowstorm, still playing dumb.
I hung over a precipice, the slightest breath likely to send me plummeting. Then HE said, “I think it’s time for us to be together.”
On February 7th, nine years ago—in Cleveland, of all places—we both agreed that it was time. We were 17 years old the day we first met. We’re both in our mid-60s now and looking to walk down the isle together one day. HE’s the only man I’ve ever wanted to marry. Both of us are amazed and grateful that we’re together at this time in our lives. In full gushy mushiness, we feel that together is our favorite place to be.
Our adage is, “Now is the best of times.”
What’s your take on what you just read? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.
Are you a first-time contributor to The Good Men Project? Submit here:
Have you contributed before and have a Submittable account? Use our Quick Submit link here:
Got Writer’s Block?
We are a participatory media company. Join us.
Participate with the rest of the world, with the things your write and the things you say, and help co-create the world you want to live in.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project, please join us as a Premium Member, today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
A $50 annual membership gives you an all-access pass. You can be a part of every call, group, class, and community.
A $25 annual membership gives you access to one class, one Social Interest group, and our online communities.
A $12 annual membership gives you access to our Friday calls with the publisher, our online community.
Register New Account
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo Credit: Getty Images