So when did you realize that your life was boring and predictable and you needed a change?
It was about six months after I'd moved to Knoxville, Tennessee from Frankfort. I'd been under the assumption that I was discontented with my life because I'd grown up my whole life in Kentucky. There was nothing new there for me. I had been to every mall, every attraction, every restaurant, hang out spot, arena and gay bar that the state offered and it had grown stale. At least that's what I thought. I thought for sure that it had to be the state that was the problem, not me.
So I moved to Knoxville and for about four months everything was great. I was learning the area, discovering new things, meeting new people. To me, my life had become exciting again, full of adventure, new experiences, fascinating and new things. Then about four months into my living in Knoxville I realized that it wasn't so much that my life had suddenly become exciting, it was just that my life had become...new. New is not exciting, new isn't necessarily interesting, having something new doesn't give you something of substance, of meaning. So while after four months of living in Knoxville I realized that my new life wasn't suddenly interesting, it took two more months before I realized that the reason my life was boring and predictable was because I was boring and predictable.
I'd called my brother Kelvin, who had been married to his husband Cody for about two years at that point and I was pouring out all of my angst and anguish. Kelvin is really good about listening, he lets you talk yourself exhausted and then he offers two to three sentences of sound advice that rocks your world and changes you forever. He did it again this time as well.
"So that's the problem," I'd told him after explaining everything and then I heard him grunt, which in "Kelvin-speak" is like saying "I am becoming the life guru now and it is taking little effort on my part to become so wise." So I waited. I heard him breathing. I heard him grunt again. I heard Cody in the background on his cellphone, chattering away to someone and then Kelvin sighed, which meant he was about to dispense wisdom and I would e wise to pay attention at that very moment.
I was older than Kelvin by five years, my voice was deeper, gruffer, but Kelvin had a voice that demanded attention, it was like smooth velvet over hard steel striking a pole. You felt instantly alert, but oddly soothed at the same time. Cody said that Kelvin had a sex voice...if he wan't my younger brother, I'd be inclined to agree.
"Damien, it seems to me that what you're searching for, you ain't gonna find by moving to a new state. There's an empty spot in you that can't no new house, new job or new sex partner gonna fill. You need to slow down, hell, you need to stop and find love, real true love, the kind that takes your fantastical ideas about what a gay relationship is supposed to be and rips it to shreds. You need someone that's gonna call you on your bullshit, love you fiercely and make you love them just as hard. You're searching for someone that going to make you think about forever. Marriage, kids, a mortgage. Ain't nothing more interesting than being committed to someone that's equally committed to you. That's what makes life interesting. That's what makes you a man."
It was the longest speech I'd ever heard Kelvin make in all the years that I'd known him, all the years he'd been alive. So I sat in my three bedroom home in Knoxville dumbfounded. Even at their wedding all Kelvin had done was turn to Cody and say, "You know I'm gonna love you, take care of you, protect you and raise a family with you for the rest of this life and beyond, the rest is just details."
We'd all cried because for Kelvin, saying all that was like the grandest, most romantic poem ever written. So for him to have said all that he had to me? Well that was a big fucking deal.
"O-okay Kelvin. You're right," I stammered, my brain still frozen in shock and awe and extreme humility.
I heard Kelvin grunt again. A deeper grunt. More of a growl than anything and it meant that I was welcome for his sage advice and of course he was right. I heard Cody say something to him in the background and heard Kelvin sigh in frustration which meant Cody had just asked him to do something, probably directed towards me, that he found bothersome. Something he knew he was going to do anyway. I heard him grunt again, an indulgent grunt that everyone knew meant that he loved his husband in spite of everything and would give the man the universe if he could.
"Cody says to catch a flight on out here for the Fourth of July barbecue and stay for the weekend with us. Or you can stay with mom and dad. Cody's best friend is living with us for the time being," Kelvin stated and though he'd issued it as a request and he was the younger brother I knew an order when I heard one.
"Sure. I'll pack now and catch a flight out this weekend. I'll give you the flight details after I get them," I said. I felt strangely excited for some reason and Kelvin only grunted and hung up.
I packed quickly that day and bought my ticket the next morning, before texting the details to Kelvin. Three days later I climbed into the taxi with butterflies in my stomach heading back to Frankfort.
Had I known what was going to happen that weekend and how my life was going to change, I would have hugged every person I met, given the taxi driver that took me to the airport and the one that took me to Cody and Kelvin's a bigger tip. I would have smiled at every flight attendant and passenger on my flight, started up a joyous sing-a-long on the plane ride over. I would have hugged Kelvin and Cody longer than I did when I showed up at their house from the airport and then offered to buy them their dream home.
Because that weekend I met and fell in love with Roman. Roman, who turned out to be the love of my life and who brought so much excitement that I never felt boring and predictable ever again.