The Broken Road
My partner, Matthew, and I have been together 7 years, and the day I met him, I felt the road shift.
And not because it was washed out in the deluge of water pouring from the sky — though, in fact, parts of the road were.
I was standing outside. 4:30 am. Pouring rain. At Target, we called this hour “the ass crack of dawn”.
The event was a fundraising bike ride featuring Lance Armstrong — long before, of course, his fall from grace. My job was to photograph parts of the ride, rain or shine, and then a meet and greet with Armstrong after the Tour de Cure reached the Capitol steps. But now it was 4:30 in the morning, and I was standing outside, in the sheets of water, in Columbia, Maryland, a town near where I grew up half way between Baltimore and Washington.
And it was raining. Hard.
Water pooled on the grass; puddles became lakes. And there was Matthew, standing in the rain, rivulets cascading down his shirt, his bike propped next to him, saying out loud, to absolutely no one (and everyone) —
“Why aren’t we getting started?” His face was turned up to the fat drops of water pelting down, “I love the rain.”
Now, let’s back up six months. I was with my ex, HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED. HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED hated the rain. He hated the sun. He hated it hot. He hated it cold. He hated wind. He hated still air.
And here was a 6.5′ tall athlete, standing in the pouring rain, smiling, soaked from head to toe…
And I felt my path through life change. Right in front of my eyes. I knew.
“Hi, my names Mike,” I said, “and I love the rain, too.”
Seven years have passed. Matt and I work together, we live together, we are together. We run the photo business together, along with my mom, but we also take care of a special needs adult, David, who lives with us (and is a story for another day). Matt and I spend more time with each other in a day than most people do in a week, and yet we almost always get along. I’m sitting here at my Southwest gate, waiting for a flight, and Matthew’s off shopping at the airport stores. One of the very first things he told me was how much he loved airports. Well, I’ve put that to the test, haven’t I? This coming week will mark the two largest events we’ve ever done, simultaneously.
And, boy, was I lucky when that road shifted and sat me down here.