When it comes to love, there are moments where you find yourself at a crossroad between past and present. That complicated juncture is where I found myself back in the fall of 1998.
At the time, I was about four months into my relationship with dashing, noble Brit David — and six weeks into dealing with my beloved mother’s passing from breast cancer. It was during this emotional maelstrom that first love and California native Mark (a.k.a Sparky) came into town. I now Open The Vault and take you back to November ‘98…
November 21, 1998
New York, NY
I just spent a couple of hours with Sparky. It was an emotional, revelatory encounter — in some ways I hadn’t anticipated.
I got to his hotel and was about to get on the elevator when the doors opened and he was there. We hugged and he immediately told me how great and thin I looked (always nice to hear from an ex).
As he usually does, he crammed into the revolving door next to me. Then, he extended his arm. I put mine through his but then felt awkward — which I admitted — and pulled away. Still, Sparky kept putting his hand on my back, shielding me from traffic.
We walked to Times Square, during which I spoke a lot about Mom. Bless him, he managed to say all of the wrong things — asking me if I’m thinking about my career or a retirement community for Dad now. I found myself thinking a lot about David, how much more understanding and sensitive he is.
After lunch at a diner, we walked back uptown and I told Sparky about David.
“I’m glad you have a good boyfriend,” he said.
“I’ve had one or two before,” I said pointedly.
Later, I told Sparky I was glad we could still laugh together.
“We just can’t do the physical stuff,” he interjected.
Nevertheless, back in Sparky’s room, he beckoned me toward him.
“You know, I’ve been waiting for a big hug,” he said.
So I went over to him and we embraced. And I felt a rush of the warm feelings I’ve always felt for him.
* * *
Before the afternoon was over, Sparky would make an unexpected proposition — and I would admit something I had never told him before.