It’s rare that love gets a second chance, two years ago I found mine. Sometimes it can sneak up on you and sit beside you at the bar. I didn’t want to believe it, but it happened to me.
All My Ex’s Live In …
About 27 years ago I met, who at the time, I thought would be the one I spent the rest of my life with. It would seem that fate decided that he would be in my life a short time but would teach me a lot. At the time, I thought that I would never love again and would spend my life alone. What he taught me, in retrospect, was what I should be looking for in an adult relationship. Only, I wasn’t ready for it at the time.
Along the way, others only reinforced the kinds of relationships I didn’t need. Sure, many of them were fun at the time. Don’t most of us enjoy the bad boy types?
As we age we realize that they are like candy and not good for us.
Can I Ax You A Question
Flash forward to almost two years ago…
It was a chilly March night in 2019 in downtown Willoughby. My favorite haunt was a bar called All Ax’s, sadly it has closed. I decided that I wanted to head to the bar and see some friends and also work on my blog. I had been working on articles about the events at the bar and the people who ran it.
This night was a night that a few of us had worked with the owner to make happen. We asked if he would do a RuPaul’s Drag Race watch party. The bar had been running drag shows on weekends and we had advised him that it would be a good way to keep the crowd coming in, until the next show. He agreed to give it a try.
I show up and the bar was a bit more crowded than I had anticipated, so I took a seat at the lower half of the bar. My friend, Dennis, had gotten me a drink and we were casually talking about my blog, the bar, and random stuff.
As we were chatting, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a guy walk in and take a seat, you guessed it, right next to me.
The person was Karl, who is now a sometimes guest blogger on my site. The first thing I noticed when he nodded at me, I call it the Karl bob, and said hello. My heart racing, I responded in what I hoped didn’t give away my nervousness, “Hey.”
I have to admit that I was nervous, my heart racing, and the room got a bit hazy. We introduced ourselves. He made mention of my laptop being on the bar and I said was a writer and did a blog called Gay in the CLE. I explained what it was about and he seemed interested. A score for me!
We chatted about many things, comic books, movies, music, and life. It was then that I realized we had A LOT in common. Similar music and movie tastes and even similarity in comic book favorites.
And then it happened…
Open Mouth And Insert Foot For All To See
While we were talking and having a couple of drinks, I kept noticing this person staring at me. He appeared to be sitting with another guy and staring our way hard. So, I messaged my friend, Dennis the bartender, and asked, “why does he keep staring at me?”
What I failed to realize, at the time, was that Dennis was using his phone as a way to show Drag Race at the bar. So when I sent that text, the entire bar saw it… all at once… with Karl sitting next to me.
I wanted to crawl into my laptop and close the lid forever.
Dennis and most everyone looked at me as if I meant Karl. My face the deep shade of a pomegranate, I look up and see Karl, also staring at me. My only thought was that I stuck my foot in my mouth and ruined that before it started. The comment was meant for the person who had, creepily, stared at me while sitting with another guy.
Mortified, I packed up, said good night to Karl, made excuses, and left. I knew I had screwed up.
Pouring Salt On Wounds
Even though I was sure that I had ruined any chance I had to get to know Karl better, I still had this crush on him. I was telling my friends how I had screwed up, the ones that weren’t there, and wanted to get to know him. They kept pushing me to talk to him. Amazing how fear can control you.
A couple of weeks after that night, my friends decided to rent the VIP room at All Axs. Unbeknownst to me, they asked Karl and his friend Jason to join us. The previous night came crashing back in vivid realness, as they walked through the curtain. My only recourse was to slaw a few drinks to get past it and try to make the most of the night.
As a few shots of Jameson’s went down, I picked up my courage to try to talk to Karl. I remember explaining that the text wasn’t meant for him, that I found him attractive, and would like to get to know him better. His response was “you seem like a nice guy.”
I felt crushed. Did he not believe that the text was for someone else? Was this a nice way of saying “thanks but not interested?” Possibilities flooded my mind. I tried to play coy and flirt most of the night.
As the night progressed another guy decided to make his move on Karl and I felt I lost my chance. However, this was a guy that had hit on me a few weeks prior. So, I decided that I needed to let Karl know that this guy wasn’t to be trusted. Karl told me he wasn’t interested in the guy, but as I looked up later I saw the guy sitting in Karl’s lap as they kissed. My heart fell to pieces.
2 Kisses and 2 Tacos
I saw Karl again, at the bar. He was alone and I had already had a few drinks. We chatted and things progressed. He told me about the guy from the other night and how bad it was. I felt bad for him having to go through that.
The specifics of the night are a little hazy, but I remember we decided to go grab some food at Barrio. We talked and somehow I worked up the nerve to ask if I could kiss him. I felt if anything could sway him or tell me my chances, a kiss would do it. Fear gripping me, it was probably one of my less than stellar lip locks. Regardless, my emotions shot through the roof.
We went on into Barrio and ordered tacos and drinks. I remember rubbing his back under his shirt and us talking more about our interests. As the night came to a close, we walked each other back to our cars. This time, Karl leans in for a second kiss, almost as to show me up. As his lips touched mine, I knew there was no way I would ever want anything other than him kissing me.
At that moment, I was filled with a line from one of my favorite movies, Sweet Home Alabama.” Dakota Fanning looks at the boy she is talking about marriage to. He asks “why would you want to marry me, anyway?” Dakota replies, “so I can kiss you anytime I want.”
That was my feeling at that exact moment. I had to at least give it a shot and who knows what may happen.
The Kiss That Launched A Thousand Desires
After that kiss, you can say the rest is history. Here we are, almost two years after that first kiss. Those details are left to our memories or another article.
If I hadn’t kept those feelings for him, we wouldn’t be where we are now. It hasn’t been perfect, two strangers coming together will always have growing pains. When things arise, we talk about them. That has been a point of growth for us both. But it is important.
Communication is what got us past some of our earlier hurdles. On this side of it, I can say it is one of the most mature relationships I have experienced. We don’t diminish each other from being who we are. We have encouraged each other to talk about the things we seem to dance around.
We also learned that celebrating each other is important as well. It gives us the chance to show how strong our relationship is and how much we care about each other. That is important
On this coming Valentine’s Day, I realize just how special love is between two people. I have someone in my life who encourages me to be the best I can be, I also try to lift him just as much.
And that’s how I met my boyfriend. I got my second chance at love and wouldn’t change how it happened. It has made me appreciate it all the more.
Celebrate your partners for who they are and the love you share. It is rare and special. Foster a place for growth as well as happiness.