When I was 28, I lived in San Francisco. I went there to do a play and met a guy and we fell in love and I ended up staying there for a year and a half. The play, written by David Dillon, was called Party, and it was about seven gay guys who get together for a party and end up playing a truth or dare type game and guess what, everyone gets naked. (It was the 90’s.) I played Andy, the innocent one, who at one point emerges from the kitchen buck naked only to lick whipped cream and M&M’s off a guy’s bare torso. (It was the 90’s.) Every night after the show, I would come out the stage door and my boyfriend Gary would be waiting for me on his motorcycle. Because there was a certain amount of attention for the play, there were always people waiting outside to meet the cast as we exited. Still playing a part, I’d shyly and politely wave to the fans and get on the back of the Gary’s motorcycle, put on my helmet and then we’d ride away. We’d ride down Geary on our way to our home near Alamo Square Park and we’d sing songs we’d made up at the top of our lungs. Our favorite was this uptempo modified version of Dolly Parton’s tearjerker Me and Little Andy. Basically, we’d sing the song to the tune of Lullaby of Broadway. “Ain’tcha got no gingerbread, Ain’tcha got no caaaandy, Ain’tcha got an extra bed for me, me, me, meeee. Hey! I’m little Andy!” Just reading this, I’m pretty sure the memory is not completely translating to the page, and I suppose that’s okay. When you are in love you have these inside laughs that only make the two of you giggle and they don’t really make sense to anyone else. Even our nicknames for each other didn’t make sense. He was Gorgeous Rogers and I was Gingerbread Rogers.
Alas, we eventually broke up and I moved back to Los Angeles. For a few years after my return I had a very difficult time moving forward. Every guy I dated paled in comparison to Gary. Superficially, they weren’t as well dressed or as cute or as financially secure as Gary, but mainly they could not make me laugh the way Gary made me laugh. One day, a couple tormented years later, I called Gary to tell him I could not talk to him anymore, with tears in my voice I said it was just too painful. He kind of laughed and said, “But Gingerbread, why?” I said, “And you can’t call me Gingerbread anymore! It’s too intimate.” He said okay and then I told him I’d call him when I was over him and he said okay.
I’ve probably only seen him a handful of times in the last 10 years. I did eventually get over him. I’ve spent time with his current partner of 12 years, a guy that I like a lot and the two of them have built a fabulous life together. As for myself, I met Eric a few years ago, and I’d like to think we, too, have been building a fabulous life together. There are many things I love about Eric, not the least of which: he makes me laugh.
Which brings everything up to yesterday when I picked Gary up at LAX. He’s in town for a conference and I brought him to his hotel and Eric met us there so we could have a quick drink before Gary went on to a dinner that was part of the conference. The meeting was friendly, jovial, uneventful. We talked about the things 40-something urban gays talk about: real estate, New York, Bravo, our dogs, Barbra. I was waiting for them to bond over their shared feelings about my driving skills, but thankfully, it did not happen. Then before I knew it, we were saying our goodbyes and Eric and I walked away, on our way to our own dinner at a restaurant that the two of us like going to together. It was so regular but it was also a special moment for me. For years, I wondered if I would ever love someone as much or more than I loved Gary and as it turns out, I would and I do.