By Jack A. Urquhart ©2012 (881 words)
On August 11, 1998, I met my spouse, Raymond, at a San Francisco coffee-house. Church Street it was, a Tuesday afternoon if I recall correctly. A recent transplant from Boulder, Colorado, I’d been in the city a month to the day.
My plan in coming to San Francisco had always been to achieve exactly what commenced that afternoon—namely, to find and then settle with my life partner. What can I say, I’m a romantic, hopelessly steeped in domesticity.
Nevertheless, I’ll confess that on that Tuesday p.m., I was more interested in sampling the city’s considerable gay confections than in shopping for a mate. Just out of a two-year gay relationship, and only three years removed from a heterosexual divorce (and separation from my children), I had a sweet tooth for distraction. ‘Playing the field,’ a sport I’d never undertaken, seemed just what the doctor ordered—the perfect orientation to my new life in Gay Mecca.
I placed a tame little ad in the Yahoo personals and was shocked to receive over a dozen replies in the first two hours. Within days of my arrival, I’d set about the business of meeting and greeting with the intention that, at least for the time being, ‘Mister Right Now’ would do me (nasty little pun, that) just fine.
It was fun.
I met many men, all of them amiable, kind, and yes—even shy. Some of them seemed interested in me, some didn’t. I was attracted to several of them, not so much to others. A month of playtime ensued—the games quite safe, if not outright platonic. I would’ve been fine with having the distractions continue a while longer, but fate, or luck, or chance intervened, and I met Ray that Tuesday afternoon.
In no time I was smitten—and resistant.
Smitten because he was emotionally honest with me from Jump Street—a rare quality among men, in my limited experience; resistant because the connection seemed effortless. Surely one had to flounder more than we! Like great art, a great relationship ought to involve some small degree of suffering, right? Perhaps a little drama? Not so with us. We talked easily from the beginning—about our lives, past and present, our work, our previous relationships, about partners lost and/or misplaced, friends and lovers gone and much grieved. It helped that we had much in common: both of us previously in heterosexual marriages, both fathers, both of us teachers or formerly so.
Fortunately, our tastes and personalities have (over time) proven complementary in some arenas, and (at least) convergent in others. Ray does not suffer fools gladly; I tend to smile and make nice. He is focused, single-minded; I entertain five or six thoughts simultaneously. Ray is a scientist; I barely passed high school chemistry. Luckily, we are both introverts who love our quiet time. Hours pass, Ray in his study, I in mine, during which no more than a dozen words—called out one room to the next—are exchanged. More good fortune that we both love music, art, and literature—though not always the same genres. Nevertheless, he finds time to read, edit, and proof everything I write, and has been the driving force in seeing me into print.
Not to be forgotten in the mix, our respective childrens’ ups and downs, which are topics of regular discussion, celebration, commiseration.
As for the quotidian mundanities, like most long-term ‘togethers,’ we divvy up domestic responsibilities. Ray does the grocery shopping, does the cooking (lord, what a blessing!), and handles all things technology. I clean the house, attend to the laundry, pay the bills.
Fourteen years it has been. But it might just as well have been fourteen minutes for the speed with which the time has flown by. So many memories. So much forgotten.
But not this:
On that first ‘date’ back in 1998, I remember that after leaving the coffee shop, we hiked up Corona Heights, Ray and I, to admire the San Francisco view. There at the summit we shared a single, chaste kiss before parting company. What a pleasant afternoon, I recall thinking. I certainly hadn’t counted on anything more.
I hadn’t counted on persistence. On curiosity. On patience. On generosity and passion. I hadn’t counted on unconditional love.
Today, all these years later, I depend on all those blessings—sometimes even taking them (and their benefactor) shamelessly for granted. But I also depend on Raymond to know how much, and how completely, I love him—even on the days when I forget to say so. I count on him to know that he is the first person I want to see when I open my eyes of a morning, the only person I want to kiss good night—the one I will reach for in the wee hours when dreams turn ugly.
I count on him to know how grateful I am. Every. Single. Day.
That we are a couple.
Date posted: 07/14/98
Description: Divorced GWM mature, seeking another mature GM, 42-55, for friendship and maybe more. I am a likeable guy, educated and unpretentious, and fully capable of emotional/intellectual/physical intimacy. You should be, too. LTR possible but not mandatory. Sound interesting? Your response and photo gets mine.
Hobbies/Interests: Community Service, Movies, Music, Writing, Outdoor Activities.