|Dorky photo from 1991|
Tonight we will drink champagne, toasting 21 years since the night we sat together on a couch in my Hartford condo, looking our future full in the face and saying yes to it.
It was March 11, 1991, a Monday night. The previous night, as “just friends” (we thought), we had played in a weekly volleyball game. Afterward, we had planned to make dinner together at my place; Michael had bought everything necessary for enchiladas, including the Mexican cookbook. But then I hurt my leg in the game. So I sat with my leg on ice while he cooked. It took six hours. We joke now that we had to grow the corn for the tortillas in order to make it all happen.
Who was I then? My life was full: I was writing a grant proposal for funding to research the fate of American POWs left behind in North Korea, working as a newspaper bureau chief, playing volleyball, swimming laps at the Y, going to plays, choosing a sperm donor, reading both “The Little Prince” and I.F. Stone’s “The Hidden History of the Korean War,” spending a weekend with my sister at Cape Cod, taking a pottery class, watching the Gulf War on TV, and trying to quit smoking.
I knew Michael was 26, but even on that night of the enchiladas, he did not know my age. When we first met, he had guessed 36. Then, after I once mentioned being in college in the late 1960s, he thought, “Maybe 40, 41.”
|Who we are today|
Back to the enchiladas. It took so long that he didn’t leave until 2:30 a.m. Before he left, he hugged me. He was shaking. The kitchen was a mess. Both of us had to work in about eight hours.
When I woke that Monday, it was all I could do to drag my bad leg in to work. The condo was still in chaos. Egads, a 26-year-old guy had made tortillas from scratch so you can imagine the helter-skelter in my tiny galley kitchen.
That evening, after work, he showed up to wash dishes, bearing a bouquet of purple iris and a carton of ice cream. And that’s when it finally hit me: This guy is serious.
Over ice cream, we abandoned the “just friends” façade. There was too much joy, delight and exhilaration. We felt safe. Comfortable. He gulped only once when I said, “43.”