My little beach house is kind of magical, in that I can get away from the rat race and think about stuff I haven’t thought of in a very long while. It’s partly due to the fact that my beach house is my dumping house, where everything to be sorted goes to live until I can get to it.
I was going through old pictures and found the one above. That was the day I rode a motorcycle for the first and last time. Helmets weren’t required back then (early 80s) and as I squeezed Greg around the waist, praying to the highway gods that we wouldn’t crash and slide across asphalt in my blue jeans and summer top, all I could do was wonder how in the world I had ended up in that scenario. We went up I-29 from Omaha to a bird preserve in Iowa called DeSoto Wildlife Refuge.
My post-college girlfriend group had met a guy named Neil while we were out on a Friday night looking for some action. Neil had a girlfriend (Rachel, Ronda, Renee?), and he ended up inviting the five of us to meet his friend group. We hit it off and started pal-ing around with Neil’s friends. Greg was in the group. He asked me out right away. Greg was good looking, trim, and gay, but neither of us knew it yet.
Our typical date would be shopping, going out to dinner, going back to his place, kissing and cuddling and then falling asleep in each other’s arms. Greg loved antique furniture, so we did a lot of looking and shopping and listening to show tunes (nix the last one – I just threw that in). I could tell by the way everyone watched us together that they knew something was off. Maybe Greg knew he was gay and was trying to fight it. Being gay wasn’t as accepted back then as it is now. Maybe I knew on some subliminal level that he was gay. But he was hot looking, fun, and he paid for everything (I was a poor teacher). Plus, I didn’t have to worry about performance anxiety (not just a guy thing), because it never got that far.
Greg could cook, I think he could sing and maybe play a musical instrument. Did he have a baby grand piano? I mean, it’s been forty-odd years, and I haven’t thought about him one iota until I ran across the photo. There were several more that I took, but I must’ve thrown them out so my kids wouldn’t find them after I croak (the tossed ones were more suggestive and therefore more dangerous to hold onto).
It never occurred to me that it was weird that Greg wanted photos of himself and not photos of me (see, I knew deep down). I wonder who he was sharing them with. We didn’t have Tinder or Grindr or any of that back then. I don’t remember breaking up. I think someone told someone to tell me he was gay.
We just had two friend groups, one mostly guys, one all women, who spent a summer together having fun and learning about who we were.
Greg, if you’re out there, let me know how your life turned out.