In early 2007 I was living in Knoxville, Tennessee. I had just bought a 1950s era mobile home. Don’t laugh it was solid and had a large lot that came with it. I had ended a two year relationship with my boyfriend after catching him sleeping with another man. Like most gay men, I hopped to the next without even blinking an eye. In the gay culture at the time there was an expression that went, “Men are like the lights of Broadway. When one blows out, you just screw another one in.” It’s not something I am proud of, but that is exactly what I did. Let me tell you, all that got me was a man who was hell bent on mentally and emotionally destroying me. He quickly moved himself in if I liked it or not. After about a month or so, I told him I was moving and he could not come with me. Yes, I lied. I know that telling a lie isn’t ever the answer, but I was left with no choice. I took him home to his momma.
By July, I had decided that it was time for me to start dating again. I joined a local chat site, whose name I am going to omit. Keep in mind this was before all the “hook up” dating sites and apps. I mean I still had dial up internet for Pete’s sake. I began talking to this nice man, and a solid friendship formed. During one of our talks, several months later, we realized we had several friends in common. One night out of the blue we decide to actually met. I invited him over the next night after work. I was nervous and a little scared. The night of the meeting came, and he called to say he was on his way. He lived about an hour and a half to two hours away so there was plenty of time for me to come up with an excuse to bail if I changed my mind. He called or texted several times to tell me he was stopping for gas. Who was I to judge him for having a gas guzzling car. We all have been there, right? After the two hour trip had gotten closer to four, he called to say he was pulling in my drive way. I got a knot in my throat. Too late to back out now. I unlocked the door and stepped out onto the porch. He was there. I remember thinking why was he stopping so much for gas when he is driving a newer hunter green F150, but that’s beside the point. He turned the truck off, and opened the door. I thought I was going to throw up. He stepped out of the truck and shut the door. He smiled, and began to walk up the ramp where I was standing. When he got to me, he kissed me. I’m not talking some smutty tongue down my throat kiss. It was a true romantic kiss where electricity ran through my body. When the kiss ended and he took his lips from mine, he winked with a little half smile, and said hello. I knew that he was the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with. His name was Sheridan, and he was brilliant. Two months later, after the abuser threatened to kill us, we headed to Atlanta.
Atlanta was a culture shock for me. I had never been anywhere where I didn’t have to try to fly under the radar. That was hard in Tennessee where everyone knew your business before it happened. Here in Atlanta if you were gay, straight, bi, trans, or undetermined it doesn’t matter. Everyone is accepted, unless you’re a douchebag. Then you’re on your own. I adjusted quickly once I found a stable job, and could provide for my new family. Little did I know that that stable job would close…..twice. With the closure of the last restaurant, I took a job at a local vegan/vegetarian restaurant. The money was good even though I was having to work the over night shift. It seemed like everything was falling into place, and we were able to move into a better apartment complex that didn’t look like the building from Good Times. I started culinary school and our family began to grow. We moved to Atlanta with three fur babies, Farrah, KiKi, and Eve, that moved from Knoxville with us. For my birthday the first year in the new apartment, Sheridan gave me a kitten. I named her Pearl after the late, great Janis Joplin. A year later, we were given Cleo after his father passed away. As with all things in life, we watched them all leave this world. When Pearl was the last and she was lonely, we adopted Odin and Gypsy from the Atlanta Humane Society. Once Pearl was gone, it was too much sadness for our little apartment that we had already out grown. We decide to move.
Our new apartment is a large, over sized two bedroom with private gated patio. About two weeks in, we adopted Endora, a gorgeous German Shepard. We began to settle in, and everything was going pretty good. Then the neighbors started to throw loud weekend parties. By weekend parties I mean every weekend. All weekend. Sometimes the weekend started on Wednesday. Neither of us liked it. At the end of our eighteen month lease, we were going to move….again. We were happy, in love, and planning our future. Who ever would have thought after thirteen years together there was still a future to plan.
We were married January 1, 2019. It was the happiest day of my life. I have never felt so much love in my life. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a simple ceremony with less than 15 people. I prepared the food. Sheridan did the decorating. His friend Donna preformed the ceremony. We ate and drank until well after midnight. Like all things, this too had to end.
On Tuesday, September 29, 2020; Sheridan died. He was walking our dog when he was struck by a car. Endora survived. There are no words to express how devastated I am. I will love and mourn him until we are together again. My boss started a GoFundMe to help with his final expenses so I didn’t have to worry about that. I linked our two wedding songs below. Please spare a few minutes to listen to them in his honor and say a little prayer.