07 February 2011

Trick of Fate

When I was 29 I met and, foolishly, fell in love with a 19 year old charmer. His name was Daniel and he was a U.S. Marine (reservist), straight-acting, but never over-compensating; Fun, but serious, and cuter than an Abercrombie and Fitch model. He walked into a coffee shop, I saw him, and instantly had my gaydar thrown off, as the reading of “STRAIGHT…STRAIGHT… STRAIGHT” sounded off in my head with a defeating echo. Moments later, I was introduced to him by a mutual friend, and found out quickly that he was one of the “family."

We started seeing one another regularly as friends; this turned to dating and in the back of my head, I knew this would not last long. I was much older than he was, and at his age, he was still sewing his wild oats with anything that moved. His looks and personality pretty much secured that he could have had just about anyone he really wanted, with nothing more than his devilishly innocent looking smile. I knew I was becoming more and more infatuated with him, and found myself sinking into a depression over the fact that he would be gone someday soon, back to base or to someone else’s arms when he was done with me. I chose to ride the wave and not worry about the moment it would crash against the sandy shore of reality.

About 3 months into our dating, he had to go back to school for his M.O.S. military career training, and I was on my own left with nothing but writing letters, and hoping for that once a week phone call. During one weekend, my best friend Judy asked me to escort her to a wedding. I went with her, and found myself lost in my own foolishly self-imposed melancholy as I watched the first dance between bride and groom, and allowed my fantasy filled subconscious to take over. I imagined Dan and I one day getting married, and wondered what our song would be, as we didn’t actually have one. I imagined us dancing, and was overwhelmed with a false sense of joy at the thought of that fantasy wedding that could never be.

That week a new movie had come out that I loved, called “Trick," about a couple gay guys who have a chance encounter, and spend the rest of the night trying to find a private location in New York to have a one night stand. It was a great movie, funny and touching; and the theme song by the same title was one that I fell in love with. I allowed myself the daydream of that song being our wedding dance song, and quickly let it go and never spoke of it to anyone; keeping it in my heart as my private musing.

To my surprise, when he graduated from his training in the Marine Corps, the first thing he asked me was to move in together, as he wanted to start a stronger relationship with me. I was flabbergasted, to say the least, and not foolish enough to turn it down. Like any couple, we had our good years and our bad, times we were both willing to throw our hands in the air and give up, but other times when we could not imagine ourselves anywhere else but in one another’s arms.

After several years, I decided to take a chance and on Valentine’s Day, with bended knee, reminded him that I was far beyond perfect, but that my love for him always would be. Without hesitation, he accepted and we spent the next 3 years talking about the wedding that we knew could never officially be. After a couple years of his parents pressuring us, and he pressuring me, we decided to stop talking about it and just set a date, which we did. We figured a year planning was more than enough, and aimed for August 17, 2008. We knew it would be more ceremonial as gay weddings in California were a thing of future dreams, but it was the commitment in front of our friends, family and to ourselves that we wanted. Torn between my former beliefs that weddings were just a piece of paper and the number one cause of divorce, and wanting to have my dream wedding with the man of my every fantasy, we planned ahead and left nothing to chance.

To our surprise, in the months before our big day, gay weddings were, for a very brief time, made legal. We knew this would not last as so many self-righteous groups truly believed that marriage was about religion and not love, and so many other causes to justify their hate. For reasons I can barely believe, on our wedding day, it was still legal, and we were able to get our license from the county and have it legally recognized. To me, looking into Daniel’s bright blue eyes, seeing him smile at me as we planned out that special day, I could not help but to expect to wake up at any moment, and find myself years back, and realizing it was all just fantasy gone too far. Thank goodness I never awoke.

Having gone back and forth between my want for a wedding that was simple and modest, and his desire to invite his entire family and have a massive event, we finally agreed and rented a 2-story yacht, and invited everyone. With nearly a hundred people in attendance, we stood before our gay rabbi, and had the most amazing wedding possible. The ceremony went perfectly, the food divine, and never had I imagined possible the amount of love that poured forth from all of our friends and family on that special day. We spent the next several hours on that yacht, circling the entire San Francisco Bay, bathed in sunlight and love, acceptance and support, and never once did we stop staring into one another’s eyes with love and amazement at what a perfect day it was.

When the time came for our first dance, my fantasy of years before came to light. The song “Trick of Fate” by Valerie Pinkston began playing, and in front of everyone, we took one another’s hands, and as the boat cruised along the smooth waters, gently rocking back and forth, we took the dance floor and for the first time in my life, dream became reality, and fantasy became premonition come to light; we danced our first dance as husbands for life as everyone watched and applauded. Today, years later, we are still married and everyone we know still talks about our day as the most amazing and perfect wedding they had ever attended.

Over the past few years, I see the path of anger and frustration that lay behind me, and sadly to say, the hate I have felt for those who felt that gay and lesbian couples were less than second class citizens unworthy of marriage. It took being married and spending my days with the love of my life to realize that maybe I was half right from the beginning. It is no one’s place to tell me what marriage is. A piece of paper or the approval of groups of people I don’t care about will never make my marriage more or less than what we see it as. I am gay, and despite their best efforts, still legally married. We continue to fight for those who were not able to do the same with the ones they love, and know what a special gift we were given. My dream came true, and I live in my perfect fantasy, which all started by the strangest little trick of fate. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Point of the conversation: Don’t believe something can’t happen until you give it a chance.

- Shaun Taylor


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