Wednesday - July 24th, 2012
I was over at my best friend’s house when I first heard of the boy, well I guess man, I would get engaged to. We were swimming in their gorgeous in-ground pool, drinking summery drinks and soaking up the sweet sun. Caitlin’s best friend from college, Nancy, was there too from Chicago. I had met her and her husband the previous year, and I immediately liked them. They were kind, fun people who called out Caitlin when she was being, well, Caitlin. We covered so many topics that night as the sun sank behind the berm. We eventually moved to the hot tub as it got cooler, and continued our conversations on Obama, abortion, religion, college - pick a topic, and we talked about it.
All of a sudden however, Nancy exclaimed, “Oh my God, I forgot to tell you! Tommyo came out to me! He’s gay!” Caitlin stood there with a shocked look on her face, until a slow smile started to appear.
“Wait, what? OMG that is crazy! I had no idea!” said Caitlin, finally. Then I stepped in.
“Okay, how old is this Tommyo, and why is his name ‘Tommyo’?!” I was tired of being single, but at the same time I had revealed in an earlier conversation that I accepted that I would be single until I moved out. My dad was not okay with me being gay, and said repeatedly that he never wanted to meet anyone whom I was dating.
“He’s eighteen, my nephew, and his name is Thomas, but there are a lot of Thomas's in my family, and his middle name is Oscar, so we all just call him Tommyo.”
“Well, show me his Facebook, damn it!” I’m sure I screeched.
The next day I sent Tommy a Facebook message.
We soon started texting and talking on the phone. As the months went on I slowly fell in love with him. It certainly was a 21st century relationship. We planned on me visiting Chicago, where we would stay with Nancy for the weekend.
Friday, January 25th
Of course it was snowing when I set out for the five hour drive to Chicago. I was so excited, and nervous. This would be our first time meeting in person, and we both had realistic expectations. We had talked about what would happen if when we finally met and we didn't have the same feelings, and we agreed that we would carry on as friends. Luckily, we fit perfectly together.
I remember sweating profusely from nervousness on the drive, and stalling on the way there just in case we didn't like each other. It was so exhilarating pulling up to the toll booths and then seeing the city reveal itself. I wondered if I would live there some day, become a real city person instead of a suburbs kid.
I got lost because the Chicago streets were foreign to me, but finally I pulled up to the house on Ashland, and there he was. I got on my coat and stepped out of the car. Tommy and Nancy were waiting for me with big smiles on their faces. I went to Nancy first.
We hugged and I said, “Thank you so much for letting us stay with you!”
“No problem, I’m so glad you’re here!” she said. Then I turned to Tommy. He was so handsome, and I will remember that moment forever.
“Hey!”, I said, going in for a hug. He didn't say anything at first, but then he too muttered his greeting. He later said that he thought I was beautiful, and that he was stunned and couldn’t speak at first. We went inside, was attacked by the big, barking Polly the Great Dane, Peter, and Nancy’s sister, Pauline Ann. We got ourselves settled in the kitchen and began making small talk.
I remember being a little worried because I could barely understand Peter due to his thick Irish accent, and Tommy kept looking at his phone, not saying much. Eventually Nancy went to go babysit, Peter went to the bar with some friends, and Pauline Ann had a date. We were alone.
We got to talking and found that we did like each other! What a relief. We spent the night with pizza and beer, then when Nancy came home we cuddled on the couch and watched Pitch Perfect. The weekend was perfect, and it went so fast. On Saturday we strolled though the neighborhood and up and down the main street, ducking into little shops to escape the January Chicago air. Before we went out to dinner with his two best friends, Betty and Claire, we were lying in bed taking a nap.
“So, what are we going to do about us?”, he asked. I decided to play dumb. I wanted to be asked out. I wanted to have my princess moment, I guess.
“What do you mean?”, I asked, a smile playing on my lips.
“Are we dating?”
“I don’t know, are we?” I asked. He rolled his eyes as he smiled and then said the words.
“Will you be my boyfriend?”
“Yes!” I exclaimed, and we celebrated with a kiss.
Flash forward two years, and we are engaged. It was been a hard relationship due to distance, but we have managed to get through it. Countless hours have been spend on video chats and traveling back and forth to Chicago, and we have decided that I am moving to Chicago in the summer of 2015. I have passed my Illinois teacher certification tests and am waiting for a job. It makes me smile to think that it all started on a July night with someone saying “Oh my God, I forgot to tell you! Tommyo came out to me! He’s gay!”