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OUR STORY
                       THE MEETING  | 
THE COURTSHIP  |  THE ENGAGEMENT                    


THE COURTSHIP

Peter  

Brandon had already made plans to be away the weekend following our meeting so for our first two weeks our only contact was phone calls from home and real-time computer messaging at work.  Those numerous conversations revealed that we had almost identical tastes, hopes, fears and interests, so much so that I kept waiting for the other shoe to fall.  This all seemed too good to be true.  When I drove to Detroit for our next meeting it turned out that not only was it true, but it just got better in person! 

The following two weekends were just as wonderful especially when we purchased cheap matching rings one Saturday so that we would have a physical reminder of each during the days we were forced to spend apart.  But the rings offered little consolation when Brandon then left for a pre-planned holiday visit with his family in B.C.  Spending another two weekends apart was bad enough but celebrating Christmas and New Year’s without him was downright heartbreaking.  New Year’s Eve in particular was a turning point.  Despite attending an amazing party, Brandon’s absence became more and more obvious to me as the night went on.  When I returned from the club I immediately phoned him in tears and told him we should never to be apart for more than a week again.  He agreed without hesitation.  At the time, the intensity of my feelings for Brandon could have easily been chalked up to the romantic infatuation that accompanies the beginning of any new relationship but hindsight would prove that the love was genuine.  I had finally found the real thing.

For the next fourteen months we kept our promise and took turns driving to each other’s home every weekend come hell, high water or blinding snowstorms.  I was surprised how quickly I adapted to the four and a half hour trip to Detroit - it pretty much became a routine bi-weekly commute for me.  I’d leave work at 3 PM on Friday and pretty much zone out until I pulled off I-696 shortly before arriving “home” to my hubby at around 7:30.  It fact, crossing the border often made the drive genuinely exciting.  As similar as the US is to Canada, there is actually a vast array of subtle differences between the cultures that never ceased to fascinate both of us Canucks.   Returning home was a much different experience though, as every hour in the car was no longer taking me closer towards the man I loved so much but, rather, further away from him.  The imminent departure was always at the back of our minds each weekend, making us appreciate every minute of the sparse 48 hours we had together.

During the week we did what we could to make the time go by a little quicker.  We continued to phone each other every night and chat online every day.   During the weekends we shared more and more memorable events together.  Finally in May 1999 we had a chance to spend more than just two days together when we went on our first vacation as a couple.  To be honest, I was a bit nervous that we might discover our relationship worked so well because of the limited time we had together rather than in spite of it.  However, we returned from the trip closer than ever – another milestone passed.   I also got to meet most of his family on that vacation which was very important to me as I knew how much they meant to him, particularly after his mother passed away suddenly six years prior. 

Despite all the wonderful times together in Detroit, after about a year the 8-9 hour round trips began to seem long.  And although I had no more serious incidents than hitting a raccoon and blowing a tire, I was extremely concerned that the odds of one of us getting into a major accident increased exponentially every time we took to the highway.  Almost losing control of my car after being cut off at 120 km/h on one trip only confirmed my fears.  Despite this, we didn’t miss a single weekend until our fourteenth month together and that was for the best reason of all: because we’d soon be together every day of the week. 

Brandon   

We pretty much knew we were going to live together early on in the relationship, but we had agreed to be patient and not make a decision about moving until our second anniversary in November of 2000.  While it was a long way off, setting a date gave us a light at the end of the tunnel and I think it made the long drives a lot easier to take.  Looking back, it’s amazing that we kept up our long distance routine for fourteen months.  But I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.  By seeing each other only on weekends, we developed our relationship in a very unique manner.  It meant that our time together would always be relaxing quality time, away from the hassles of every day life.  Those weekends were usually spent going to movies (one of our biggest common interests), the gym and sometimes the bars.  Most of the days though we just talked and got to know each other better with no time restrictions other than our 5 o’clock departure every Sunday.  Seeing how busy we are now that we’re both living in Toronto, I realize we would have missed out on a lot of that bonding time had we not lived so far apart.

However, as great as it was, I also knew that we couldn’t carry on this way forever.  From nearly the first day we met, we talked about who might move to which city.  I enjoyed Detroit and had just started a great job at DaimlerChrysler.  Peter said he didn’t have really strong ties to his job and would definitely consider moving.  I think it was pretty obvious that we would both be happier in Toronto, but it was good to hear that Pete would be willing to leave his longtime home for the sake of our relationship. 

The thought of moving yet again was a little jarring to begin with, however.  First of all, I had had little permanence in my life in the previous few years and now the stability that I was building in Detroit would be ending.  In addition, I had left Toronto to get a fresh start with long standing money and school issues.  It turned out that I had little to worry about.  As I went through the difficult job of sorting out my problems, our relationship was the one thing that held me together.  Peter brought the stability that allowed me to face my troubles and deal with them without worrying about falling apart.  The fact that we got my financial problems under control in a few months and finished my degree within the year says a lot.  I had it in me (contrary to what I believed), I just needed somebody to show me I could do it.

Around the summer of 1999 I started to realize that two years was going to be too long to wait.  The commute back and forth was getting tiring and we had outgrown the two days a week together.  I had decided that I wanted to be in Toronto by my next birthday in March, so I started to test the job market situation.  Fairly soon I got some responses from recruiters so things looked good.  I remember telling Pete at that point that I wanted to move up sooner and asked what he thought about it.  A very enthusiastic “Yes!” was his response and I started arranging details with the recruiters.  I still needed to finish my course and degree, so spring 2000 was the earliest I could move.

Finally in early February 2000 I accepted a job with Dana Corporation in Oakville and then moved up to Toronto on – appropriately enough - Valentine’s Day.

 

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