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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Love Stories: Brian and John

I first met John in 2006, I believe I was living in Boston.

I am a member of a chat site that I use almost exclusively for keeping in touch with friends. I spent time in California, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts again. Phone numbers change, addresses change, but profiles on this site seem to stay, and if you're looking for someone to send a message, it's pretty much guaranteed that eventually they'll get it and return it, unlike email. The website shows people who are in your state depending on what you put as your address, and you can have a friend list to keep in touch with people everywhere. Once you have looked at everyone in your state, the profiles jumble, different locations, different people. This is how I met John, or should I say I found John?

I don't have a type per se, but when I saw his face, I knew I had to look at the rest of the pictures. This being a gay site, standard protocol dictates that you say something along the lines of a pickup. You can choose standard greetings such as 'you're hot', 'woof', 'you're sexy', 'nice honker', but immediately I wanted to separate myself from the rest of the pack. I usually do this by sending something nonsexual, and wait for either question marks or 'whatever' or a pat on the head and a 'thank you'. He was Australian, he was polite and he had a very handsome face, one that made me stop, pause, and pursue.
 We started chatting in full sentences right away and it was very comfortable to meet someone who was married but wanted to talk to someone from overseas. We had similar tastes and backgrounds, and John even showed my picture to his husband out of respect. We weren't doing anything but chatting just like the site said it was good for. Since the time difference was over twelve hours, it turned into weird hours for both of us when we saw each other. I looked forward to our chats, we even got clever and would have wine or drinks while we talked. It was always odd hours for one of us — the other would be drinking during regular business hours. We carried on like this for years, we were miles and miles apart but friends. It was unlikely we'd ever meet in person but we could talk like good friends about anything, offer objective opinions when we were having problems and, I have to admit, it was nice to have someone who I could anticipate seeing online.

We were both experiencing problems that we didn't address. John's partner was sick but they'd been together for over twenty years, and believe it or not, I was homeless for a good portion of our getting-to-know-you banter. If either had talked about these issues, we would have known exactly where we stood, but fear of the unknown made us keep our peace. Better to have what we had than rock the boat with hardcore life issues. We both say now that it was odd that we didn't discuss these things. I don't know about John's problems, but I can tell you the least attractive thing you can probably disclose to someone is that you're homeless and live in a shelter. Who needs or wants elaboration on that? Let's face it, it's ugly.

After John's partner passed on, he developed a traveling bone, and visited different continents, countries, and locations. It was only a matter of time before he came to the States from Australia. Unfortunately, I was also unsettled, and moved around from state to state, working, not working. We nearly missed each other one year when he visited Las Vegas, I was in Wisconsin. We laughed about that. He said he was visiting New York City, in nearly ten months, and we planned for a maybe meeting.

I counted the days, really hoping that I wouldn't have to leave, and believed him when he said he'd travel the additional four hours to meet in Boston. I showed his picture off, I talked to my friends about him. We had friends that couldn't believe we were planning something ten months in advance. It seemed as though something would screw us up. It didn't, we made our plans online to kiss as soon as we saw each other on the train platform. The Amtrak came and, through the glass, facing the opposite way I knew it was John. He grabbed his bag and came through the door and indeed two bearded guys shared a kiss in South Station. John will tell you he fell in love with me on the train to my house and I'm telling you when I saw his hat and how tall he was, with the face I'd imagined animated and not a snapshot, I knew I loved him before he even came into the station.

We were only supposed to be together two days, but that turned into five chaotic, spontaneous, dreadfully romantic days. The powers that be were working hard to dissuade us — we were oblivious. Once he'd left and returned to NYC, we chatted and it was different. It didn't take long for both of us to know that something wonderful had happened.

We had a real connection. He asked me to visit him for a month, I accepted. Before I left, we decided we couldn't be apart that long and he came to the States to stay with me. September sixth he came and within a few weeks we planned our wedding. We postponed the date til Halloween and each would ask "Are we really going to do this?" We were married in my sister's living room before the eyes of God October 28th. It wasn't a hasty decision if you consider how many years we'd been talking back and forth and imagining that we knew each other. Unbelievable is the fact that our imaginations were accurate. The man of my dreams and the sweetest human I know wasn't a myth at all, he was even better in person. As an added bonus, he seemed to have the same inclination towards me.

How I could be so blessed I'll never know, but it must be because here we are.
John shuffled off this painfully fragile mortal coil in late September. He is deeply missed.


  1. These are all great love stores. Here’s a different angle on one. Back when I was still wearing short pants, I got a job at a copy store so I could make enough dough to pay the rent and save for a trip around the world. Almost immediately, I met a chick named Donna. Smart, brassy, funny as all hell, well traveled, she’d clearly been around the block a time or two, and had the stories to show for it, but was also endlessly curious about how people work and how the world works (and doesn’t). We started hanging out a lot – weekly dinners were our habit for a long time – and over the years, we saw each other through a lot of life’s adventures and vicissitudes. Part of those circumstances have been watching other friends split up or just vanish into the mist. Yet here we are, eons later, and Donna and I are still having dinner, laughing and crying at the world and at ourselves, together. As Tevye said, “If that’s not love, what is?”

    1. you sir, are wonderful times infinity!