I have been thinking of writing this for some time. Mostly to clear the air, but also to answer questions. So, I am taking the time over the next few days to tell the story of my love life. I am not telling it to garner pity - because I can promise you I am not always the innocent one. I am telling it because the truth needs to be told. So, here goes...
I always get asked how my current partner and I met. I wish I had some wonderful love story about how we met on the beach, or online, or even a sex club. However, that is not the case. We have one of those beginnings that require a long story. We have the type of beginning that people always have follow up questions about. So, I am telling it here.
To start the story, I have to go way back. I mean way, way back. I was in the womb...wait, too far back. I had just started college in Jonesboro, Arkansas. I had moved there from my hometown of Bald Knob, Arkansas where I had lived a very sheltered life. The normal exposures of everyday things were not something I was accustomed to. My mother took care of me, and I had what I needed. When I had free time, I read newspapers, watched the news, etc. She never had to worry about me running away, drinking, or anything else. She knew I was a Goody Two-Shoes. The most trouble I got into was having Headline News turned up too loud in my bedroom.
So, after I got to Jonesboro, I discovered that being a little wild can be fun. I started going out and partying. I started sleeping with my boss. I started sleeping with his boss. Of course, that was fun; however, I then met an older man. I was 18, he was 30. He was also someone that would stay in my life for the next 12 and a half years. He would lead me to the man I am currently in love with. However, to get to that, you have to hear about my first partner and I's history.
Our relationship got off to a pretty funny start. He liked to tell the story that before he and I actually met, he paid for me to go on a date with one of his friends. His friend was broke and wanted to ask me out, and so he gave his friend money to take me on a date. The first night that he and I actually went out together, it was on a double date (and not with each other). After the double date ended, he called me at 4:00 in the morning to see how I was doing. Of course, the only reason he even called me back was to see if his date and I had hooked up. It wasn't even that he was interested in me. He just wanted to know if his date and his friend's date, me, had abandoned them to be together.
However, when he called to "check on me", we started talking. We ended up staying on the phone for hours. He then asked me if I wanted to go out with him the next evening. I agreed, and from the next night on, we were basically a couple.
The relationship was exotic to me. I was finally being bad for the first time in my life. He had a nice car, a place to stay, and he had a bit of a rebellious side. I, of course, liked this. Being that young, I could say the words "I love you" to a beer can and believe it, so it was my ticket to bigger and better things.
I moved in with him fairly quickly (less than a week after meeting), much to dismay of his best friend and roommate. She hated me. I hated her. It was a perfect hate/hate relationship. She and I were just not getting along, and she wanted him to start supplementing her for me staying there. So, we moved out and moved in with his sister on New Year's Eve.
This was the time I discovered that he was not out of the closet at all, with the exception of his sister. Once, when his mother came to visit, I had to literally hide in the closet for over an hour. I did not hide in a room or even outside. I was literally placed in a clothing closet and had the door shut on me. I was in such disbelief, that I had no idea what to think of the situation at that point.
We stayed with his sister until Valentine's Day. On Valentine's Day, which was about four months into our relationship, we made the jump to move from Walnut Ridge, Arkansas (where his sister lived) to Little Rock, Arkansas. I had always wanted to live in Little Rock.
I loved living in Little Rock. I still love that city. However, what I loved more was having the ability to stay there. My then partner gave me anything I could want. If I wanted a new computer, I got it. A car, got it. Add this to the fact that we had a semi-open relationship, and I had the best of both worlds. The financial support of being in relationship and the freedom of being able to do what I wanted made it a perfect situation for a young man.
This perfection made me think about trying to make it a relationship about love once. We had been together for almost a year, and I decided to prove to myself that he loved me. I logged into his AOL account to read all the nice things he was saying about me to his friends and acquaintances. I truly believed that is what I was doing. However, to my surprise, he had cards and e-mails from other guys that he had been talking to and telling them how much he wanted to be with them. So, I shielded myself from love, while at the same time making sure I did not do anything that would mess up what I had going on.
I was one of the few 19-year-olds around that could pretty much do anything when he wanted. If I saw a guy I wanted to be with, I would just tell him, and he would okay it. I did not worry about rent, utilities, bills, etc. Plus, my partner had what he wanted. He had a guy to enjoy and do things with, and trust me we did do a lot of things. We would travel so much. At least once a month, we would make the trip to Memphis to go partying or to Robinsonville, Mississippi to go to the casino. We would even make fast trips to Nashville.
Once, we made the eight hour drive to Nashville to see Trisha Yearwood perform at the Ryman Auditorium. Immediately after the concert, we had to drive all the way back to Little Rock so that I would not be late for my final exam in college. Of all the places we went though, Dauphin Island, Alabama has to be my favorite. I love that little island.
My point of all that is that you can see that we had a life of fun and excitement. What I lacked in love, was made up for in adventure and experiences. Who could hate that? I had places to go, things to do, and people to have fun with, and I had it all approved by a guy that took care of me. I knew he wanted other guys, but so did I. So, we had an unspoken agreement that we basically did what we wanted, when we wanted. The only rule was that to the public eye we were the picture perfect couple.
For the first several years, that was fine with me. It was not until the Summer of 2001, that this would all change.
To read part two, click here!