Sunday, October 17, 2021

Our Seven-and-Twenty-one Anniversary ... Set To Music

I say ‘Seven Twenty-one’ because it’s been six years legally wed and twenty-one years, um, illegally married? 

And that’s quite a milestone for someone who never thought this would happen to him. But I was fine with that; I had a nice life, good friends, I dated, I had a home I loved, a job I loved, but that all changed when I got a computer and went into one of those old AOL—show of hands, who remembers AOL—chatrooms and suddenly there was someone talking to me.

It was not the way I’d expected it to go, and I was certain it would amount to nothing, but what are a few private messages and some emails? Right? What could go wrong, or right. So, there were phone and actual handwritten letters and cards, and pictures exchanged and life-stories told. He wanted to meet, but he lived in Miami and I lived in California, and couldn’t be much further apart; so, I flew to Miami but …

Quick aside: I used to be the kind of person that didn’t bold chances like flying 3,000 miles to meet a perfect …and oy, did he sound perfect … stranger in a city I’d never been to before, and, as the day approached for my flight, I actually created a story in my head that I would take the flight, but get off the plane when we had a stopover on Houston., spend the week in some cheeseball hotel in Houston, and then fly back home and tell everyone that Carlos was nice but he wasn’t the one for me; and then I would ignore him online and by phone—did I invent “ghosting”—but I decided to, as I told in another post, Shake the Etch-a-Sketch and go.

I stayed on the plane and in Ft. Lauderdale, there he was, in a  freaking bowtie no less, with a bouquet of roses. He looked exactly like his pictures, but much more handsome and adorable. We spent eleven days together … in Miami …in July! We went to Key West and watched the sunset and … yeah … and we went to South Beach and swam in the ocean and … yeah … we stayed at his house and I met his Aunt Gloria and … yeah, only a lot quieter because she’s a light sleeper. 

Then it was over, and I was flying home and what in the hell was this? Was it a 3,000-mile-long distance relationship? A 3,000-mile-long distance booty call?

It was more, and we both knew it because the next month Carlos was on the West Coast, meeting my friends and my parents and … yeah … in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe and … yeah … in my parents’ house though we were much quieter because they were right downstairs! 

Then that was over; what next? We called and emailed still; he spoke with my parents and friends and I spoke with his, until it became clear that I would move to Miami. I had a job that would transfer well to Florida and, well, since that leap to Florida to meet him turned out so well, how hard would a leap to Florida to live with him be?

So, where does this all lead? It leads to today, twenty-one years after I stepped off another plane in Florida, though this time I wouldn't be staying a week or so. Twenty-one years ago today Carlos and I started our life together and there was no looking back; only forward.

Fast forward to 2014 and the reality that marriage equality was happening, and we had longed talked about being married; we wanted that; we wanted the world, our friends and family, coworkers, strangers, the check-out girl at the Food Lion, the waiter who brought me another cocktail, to know that we weren’t just a couple, we weren’t close friends, we weren’t partners—though those are all good things—we wanted everyone to know that we are Mister and Mister.

On October 17, 2014—fourteen years to the day that I moved to Miami—we were back across the country in Bellingham, Washington, to be married with my father as a witness. I seriously never thought I would see the day that I would ... that I could ... marry Carlos,  but we did just that. I remember as a kid—a not-yet-out-but-knowing-I-was-different kid—telling my mother that I would never get married, but I would have a maid to take care of my kids. I remember that story and realize now that might have been my first shot at coming out—as a six-year-old, I think—because, even then, I never thought I could get married, never thought I’d be allowed to get married and create my own version of family and home.

And so we did it, and it’s been seven-and-twenty-one years. And while it has been lovely, raucous, and fun, and there have been down times and sad times and bad times, but, as Elaine Stritch would say—and god am I gay … Elaine Stritch!—we’re still here.

And looking forward, always forward, and while I didn’t say this myself—Charlotte said it in one of those Sex and the City movies … again, god I’m gay—I like to say that I am happy every single day with Carlos. Oh, not all day, every day, because that’s life, but every single day for the last twenty-one years, for some small or large part of the day, I have realized how happy I am and how happy he makes me, and that I am still crazy in love with him.

And that’s something to celebrate!

33 comments:

Todd Gunther said...

Happy Anniversary! It would have been #29 for me and Warrior Queen today.

mrs.missalaineus said...

happy anniversary <3

in the snippets you've shared over the years since i've been a reader, you two have become one of my templates for what healthy relationships can and should look like. i think knowing you met carlos on AOL made me less reticent to try online dating when my galpals suggested it. then tony happened from POF and the rest is blogger history <3

xxalainaxx

Raybeard said...

Sending both of you my hearty congratulations for today, Bob. You've created a very moving post here, catching perfectly what the relationship means to you. I feel quite envious - though of course delighted for you.

Dave R said...

Congratulations! This is how life is supposed to work.

Jim said...

Congrats on a Happy Anniversary . . .

Keep on keeping on.

Travel said...

Happy Anniversary!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Happy Anniversary! Make it a special one!

the dogs' mother said...

xoxoxoxoxoxoxo
:-)

uptonking said...

Congrats, kids. It takes very special people to make it work. Happy Anniversary. Here's to many more!

Treaders said...

Aahhh, that is SO beautiful Bob. Happy anniversary to you both!

JanF said...

Congratulations! I am so happy that you got married in our town, retired there in 2002!
We have been married for 50 years now.

Steve Reed said...

I love this! It's so great to hear your backstory with Carlos and YES, I do remember those AOL chat rooms. (I still have my original AOL e-mail address, for what it's worth -- 26 years later!) I once had a guy fly from Ohio to meet me in Florida after a long-distance letter-writing (pre-Internet) relationship, but alas, ours didn't work out as well as yours. Happy anniversary!

Anonymous said...

Many Congratulations to both you and Carlos on your Anniversary. We have been together for 37 years >gulp< and I can't imagine my life without my other half.
Paul

Frank said...

Happy Anniversary. You guys getting together makes one believe in destiny.

Mack said...

Happy Anniversary! Congratulations to you and Carlos, Bob. Thanks for sharing some tidbits of your marriage with us. I love your weekly window into parts of your life together. It makes me smile.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations with wishes for many more years with patience, health and grand adventures.

Will Jay

Anonymous said...

Congratulations with wishes for many more years with patience, health and grand adventures.

Will Jay

PS I loved the post that told the story about how you came to the realization that you were to be married in Bellingham.

VRCooper said...

BITCH!!

Happy Anniversary!!

I am in tears!!

Many more years to come!!

We have not heard Tuxedo weigh in on this glorious event.

XO

Victor

krayolakris said...

Congratulations to you and Carlos! Wishing you all the happiness in the universe ❤️

Bob said...

@Todd
I have been thinking about you and AM today. It always made me smile that we shared this date!

@ mrs.missalaineus
We have our ups and downs, but at the end of the day, this is where I want to be.
I hear more and more stories about online meeting and dating that end happily.
Congrats to you, too, for finding Tony.

@Raybeard
Thanks so much. Love that!

@Dave
Life is full of surprises, thanks!

@ Jim
Thank you, sir!

@Travel
Thanks, and right back at you, too!

@Debra
Thanks! We are having a beautiful anniversary weekend, so life is good.

@TDM
xoxo

@upton
It takes work to make it work, too!
Thanks!
xoxo

@Treaders
Thank you so much!

@Jan
Bellingham became one of my favorite spots, and not just because we got married there!
I am looking down the road at fifty!

@Steve
I had so many people telling me it wouldn’t work, which is why I came up with a ridiculous backup plan.
But it is working ...

@Paul
Thirty-seven is quite the feat!
Thanks!

@Frank
It just feels meant to be, and it is.

@Mack
Thank you so much, and thanks for reading.

@Will Jay
Thank you, and it was quite the realization .Sometimes you just need to listen to the silences and you learn everything.

@Victor
Thanks. Tuxedo just loves his two daddies!
xoxo

@Krayloakris
Thanks so much.

Susan said...

What a glorious day, Bob. I love reading yours and Carlos' story every year. The tears are flowing. Congrats to you both!

Ur-spo said...

I join the conga line of congratulations!
May there be many more years of joy.

Mistress Maddie said...

And here's too another 21 years together with you and Carlos and his shredded denim shorts! I hope your enjoying the special day.

Happy Anniversary dears!

BloggerJoe said...

All hearts and happiness to you both from the both of us! May your light and love shine always!

Moving with Mitchell said...

I will listen to all your love songs tomorrow. It‘s time for me to go to bed. However, I read every word of this post. Your relationship with Carlos makes me so happy. I’m glad you found each other. I’m glad you both took a chance. I’m glad you didn’t stay in Houston. It’s a joy to share a bit of your lives through your blog. Happy Seven-and-Twenty-One Anniversary! Wishing many years of love ... and stories!

Bob said...

@Susan
It has been a glorious day, with more to come! Thanks Susan!

@Ur-spo
The conga is quite fun. Thanks!

@Maddie
If those shorts are still here in 21 years well...well ... I guess I’ll let him keep ‘em!

@Joe
Thanks so much!!

@Mitchell
Sometimes you gotta Shake the Etch-a-Sketch!!

Sadie J said...

It is very much something to celebrate. To find someone that is there for you, someone who loves you even when things aren't at their best, that is the best thing. Happy Anniversaries!

Agnes Goldberg-DeWoofs said...

It's always so warming to read about a couple who's been together 2 years or 50 years. Every year takes work and and is an accomplishment. Love each other and never take it for granted. Happy Anniversary to you both.

Bob said...

@Sadie
You are so right. Thank you!!

@Agnes Goldberg-DeWoofs
It does take work, and love, and commitment, every single day, but it's worth it for us. Love the advice, thanks!

Moving with Mitchell said...

We’ve gone through so many Etch-a-Sketches. We rarely finished a drawing. Way too much shaking.

Bob said...

@Mitchell
Ain't that the truth!!

Mark Alexander said...

OMG...and congrats!

The OMG part comes from the fact I did nearly an identical thing via AOL in 1993. Met a guy online, we hit it off, next thing I know I'm on a plane heading from SF to Tampa. It was an enjoyable week, although this was in August as I remember, and the humidity nearly killed me. A couple months later he flew to SF, and he'd completely changed. He was clingy, had decided I was "the one" (I did not feel the same way about him.) went nuts if I so much as looked at another man, and if he had not left when he did, there is a very good chance I'd be wearing an orange jumpsuit today.

Bob said...

@Mark
Thanks, and you certainly dodged a bullet.