Thursday, April 05, 2007

Same Space, Different Time

Last evening, as I opened the door to our home, I was greeted, as is blessedly common, by screams of “Papa’s home” and hugs in quick succession. Brian was uniquely excited to tell me right away about our dinner plans. He told me we were going “to the restaurant where daddy found you.” :-)

It turns out a series of questions with their dad about our family’s past had led him to become interested in visiting the landmarks. This particular landmark is Geppetto's. Fellow Utahns may know the place. It’s a modest pizza restaurant in Holiday.

After we first met, and after we finally realized we were both gay, Rob found my number (again, there were no “internets” in those days :-)). Once we talked I was immediately impressed by his outlook and personality, and, for the record, I asked him out. He tries to give the impression he started it all, and still does as one could tell by the fact the Brian got the impression his dad “found” me. Maybe he found my phone number, but I did the rest :-).

At the time, I was excited to go out with him, but I didn’t let my hopes get up; I was still dizzy from the events of coming out. I told myself, if nothing else, I can just give him some pointers and be on my way. But I did know, somewhere, that was not what was going to happen. I picked Geppetto’s for a number of reasons that should have given myself away. I was there about once a week with friends; I was comfortable there, knew the staff. I’d been there so many times I couldn’t and still can’t tell if the pizza is good or just familiar :-). Though nice, the service was slow, and I wanted slow service. Finally, they had acoustic guitar on the weekends. It was a bit of a dive, but it was comfortable and romantic, without nearly saying “romantic.”

I got to his work very early, and waited out front. But, as the time passed, he was nowhere to be seen. I waited and waited and my heart sank like it shouldn’t if I was really without romantic intent. Turns out he was feeling the same thing, looking out a window of the Delta Center. When I went to pick him up, I’d taken my mom’s car, and had no idea he was paying enough attention the night we first met to know the car I drive. I was so early; he never even saw me pull up.

Finally, as I was about to leave, he came out to head home, feeling rejected and never wanting to go back again to the youth group where we met. I felt done with it too. We just barely caught each other. It’s funny how small things like that can change your life forever; a couple seconds and a turn of the head can mean everything. For this one, I’ll grovel at the feet of the fates :-).

He was nervous, as was I, but the drive gave the time to calm down. We got to the restaurant and the rest is 14 years of history. We had the first of many best evenings of our lives. Not exactly in the realm of a date at this phase in our union, but it was an amazing first, nonetheless.

Sitting there last night, at the same table in fact and now with our boys coloring away on kid’s menus I’d no idea Geppetto’s even had as an 18-year-old patron, it felt strange, amazing. Times like that seem to give a glimpse of the poetry written into the universe. Would those two strangers, sitting there, right where our bodies were last night, have believed the facts of today? The politics back then would have made it seem so improbable.

But, still, I think they knew it, somewhere. Even then I think we both had a spark of a hint, maybe not exactly that we’d be cajoling our two wonderful children into eating the food, food they said they wanted, at that same table many years later ;-), but that something far more and wonderful was on its way. It may be silly, but looking back, I can’t help but feel a bit like the spirit of our children was there all along that evening. Not in some supernatural form--though I can see how some would believe such--but, in the memory, they now seem bound into the mechanisms of life and those two nervous kids that night. I do know, in whatever form, my happy spirit will be found in such landmarks for our boys, after time takes me, just as time brought them to us.

This morning, as I was getting the boys ready for the day, Alan, out of the blue, told me “that was a good restaurant.” He rarely gives a positive restaurant review and he ate poorly, so I must assume he saw something else in the place too. :-)

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