When you’re in the throes of new romance, every moment feels fraught with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. So it was after I met Southern Illinois native Steve back in December of 2001.
Our chemistry was immediate. The wrinkle — I was moving back to New York a few weeks later. That unavoidable fact, though, didn’t stop us from falling in love. I now Open The Vault and take you back to winter of ‘02..
New York, NY
January 3, 2002
I’m trying to just enjoy what Steve and I have without getting too worked up about it, but it’s hard. I will say, though, I feel much better about our ability to handle a long-distance situation than I did with Sparky. I trust Steve’s intentions and feelings.
I was still figuring all of that when we had our third date. When Steve showed up, his cologne and my intense attraction to him made me temporarily misplace my keys!
“It’s your fault for being so distracting,” I said playfully.
Steve took me to Mollie’s, a cozy little bar in Marion. After a few drinks in the main room, Steve led me into a quieter, more romantic area — comfy couches, fire dancing out of a pond, etc. It didn’t take long for our lips to meet. I couldn’t get enough of kissing him.
Steve soon suggested we get a bottle of wine and go back to my place. We spent the night talking, kissing and holding each other, until Steve had to leave for work.
I was deliriously happy for the rest of the day. Even on no sleep, I felt energized in a way that I hadn’t in years.
* * *
A few days later, after I spent the weekend visiting a friend in St. Louis, Steve and I went over to his parents’ house for dinner. Being with him around his family, the people who’d become my surrogate family in Southern Illinois, intensified the feeling that we had been dating much longer than ten days.
Later, at my place, we held each other by candlelight and opened up about our pasts. He told me about his divorce, I told him about David and Sparky.
“How would you classify our relationship?” I asked.
“It’s too soon to tell,” he said. “But right now, I’d call it bliss.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
* * *
Though our feelings managed to overcome geography for a time, Steve and I would soon face other obstacles — of our own doing.