Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Autumn has arrived.

This was one of the best summers of my life. And the most life-changing in a long time. Perhaps ever.

Now that it's done, it's time to tell its story. Truth be told, no other words will come out. Not until it is finished. I know it's him. I know he is still taking charge. He won't let me go on until it is complete, out of my head and onto a page. So to finish, I must begin...

I spent a very large portion of my summer, mostly weekends, on a barrier island in New Jersey far away from the everyday grind. There is not a more beautiful place on earth to me, and nothing more soul cleansing than just standing there at the edge of the water staring off into the waves. Good times were had. It was almost true perfection. Until the phone call that ended my life.

“Joey, it's Jen. You need to come to the hospital. Now. Hurry.”

Oddly enough, it was almost the same time of year when we met. My first day of college, feeling all mature and full of my new-found independence. I just knew this day was the beginning of something truly incredible, rushing into it with fresh-faced exuberance and joy. And terror. To think, I wasn't even jaded then. Oh, I was however different. In the back of my mind there was always the knowledge that I was a minority. In fact, I had never met an actual gay person. That I knew of that is.

My parents had left me in the dorm trying to figure out exactly what, where, etc. It was late in the day, still no sign of a roommate yet, and I was hungry. I had no idea where the cafeteria was, so out of the door I braved. And ran right into him. Love at first crash.

He was incredibly handsome. At least to me. Okay everyone always thought so, not just me. He was the boy next door type that you just knew excelled at everything he attempted.

“Hey, how ya doin. Name's Kirk.”

God, even his name was more masculine than mine.

“Joseph. Umm Joe.”

“Well Joseph umm Joe, any idea where the cafeteria is?”

“No, uh, I was just going to try to find it myself.”

“Well, you better come with me. Two's better than one.”

I didn't say it. But in my head, came a resounding “I'd follow you anywhere”. And that's how it began. Neither of us could have even imagined in that moment how that summer's end would be the beginning of a bond so tight. Nor could we have imagined what fate would bring us to, this many years later. be continued