|Photographed by Cherie Renae, of Cherie Renae Photography.|
The lack of perceptible tact was jolting at a pride gathering where everyone was in celebration of one another. But it was indicative of a feeling from within, a notion of certain allure that drew me immediately to the aura of a man I had not ever laid eyes on before this one day. Yet I was enraptured, almost comfortable in his presence. I never get comfortable so easy around someone I have so briefly known. His name eluded me for an afternoon, and one-on-one conversation was left to simple exchanges of public courtesy. He smiled more, and I grinned back, mostly when he was too busy to notice. Even among the array of distractions there was an unspoken magnetism drawing us into one another, and words need not have been said to sense it. All of it came down mere presence of mind, and synergy. And those damn brown eyes.
Five years later, the same set of piercing eyes still deepen my soul, and offer a glimpse into an elusive world of unconditional love, compassion, and encouragement. A light comes from within that is enriched by a measured tranquility. Anger is not an emotion in his repertoire, nor is the doubt that every dark cloud will not come with a silver lining. In the decade or so of experiences I’ve collected in keeping company with others, none have been so eager or patient with my chaotic nature. Peaks and valleys have plagued my consciousness for the better part of eight years, and few have been patient. That is not a reflection on them; some simply need certain qualities, and are not always willing to compromise on those ideals. I was more than ok with the idea of solitude, and practice had given me good cues to follow. Yet when you least suspect such things, along comes someone who is capable of disarming your defenses.; here was someone who snuck behind barriers as if blessed by a supernatural intuition, and before long it was clear he understood my being better than anyone at that point had. The connection was fast and powerful, and its lingering resonance still mystifies even me.
I am many things – a professional, a gamer, a lover of literature and film, an avid music enthusiast, and even by all counts an obsessive daydreamer – but my true nature is revealed in the writing. There is no need to even contemplate that. What is worth stressing is the source of inspiration, which has taken varying forms over the course of two decades: art, visions, personal aspirations, even desires. Never in my wildest dreams had I expected to find a muse in a flesh and blood being, and yet here he is, plainly obvious in my stunned mind. My drive is supported and enriched by his encouragement, which comes from a deep-seeded level of support that is absolute. I am reminded of Federico Fellini’s great “8½,” about a director who must finish a movie but is lacking clear ambition over the prospect. His eventual drive is influenced by the presence of important women, each of whom satisfies a facet of his indigent personality. The revelation made by the character – and perhaps, more importantly, but Fellini himself – is that the greatest sources of encouragement are not necessarily ideas or personal drives, but the important people that occupy space around us. In hindsight, it is a wonder it takes so many of us so long to arrive at the center of that certainty.
What can be said of this one gifted and nurturing soul, five years to the day that we first met, that has not already been said or displayed explicitly in his company? I owe him much more than perhaps I have conveyed over the course of our adventurous courtship. The journey has been ripe with moments of triumph, and even bogged by patches of extremely rough terrain. We faced moments of uncertainty, even questioned whether the journey was truly worth enduring. But all important connections must ebb and flow through both extremes, and what we are left with is perspective. There is no question in either of our minds that our love for one another could be undermined in the slightest by those unpleasant times, and it endures on the faith of one another’s nature, the power of forgiveness, the depth of shared respect, and the confidence in each other’s demand for bigger and brighter days ahead. If joy truly does diminish the sad, then the strength of this bond is enriched by the measure to which we have recovered and learned from our mistakes.
At the end of the day, I suppose that this is what living life with another person is really all about, and I am grateful to have finally made peace with this in the company of one of the most amazing souls I have ever known. Thank you, Kirt Andrew White, for sharing in this crazy journey with me, and I look forward to the array of adventures that lie ahead with you by my side.