Five years ago, a handsome man showed up to help on moving day. Our first meeting was over a Subway sandwich I’d brought to thank him for the help.
The friendship born that day slowly over the course of the next year became something more. We worked on art projects together, made early morning newspaper deliveries on a route I had in Detroit, and enjoyed Halloween parties, sporting events, and multi-state road trips. We shared high times and low in the good old Motor City, through the worst of the early dismal yet hopeful times of our state’s Great Recession. We saw Detroit host an NCAA Basketball Final Four, NCAA Hockey Frozen Four, battle through political corruption and become subject of worldwide attention as the center of the post-industrial implosion. We kept talking and writing and drawing and photographing it all, and somewhere along the line, we fell in love.
It just may have been over some of his drawings. The man can draw, let me tell you. His talent is natural, instinctive, and stunning. From the moment I first saw his illustrations for Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Charles Dickens novels, I was a goner.
I left Detroit in 2011, headed for the lakeside town of Belleville. It was a short trip, just 25 miles west of the big city. The desire leading me back to a place I’d lived for a couple years in my 20s was to be closer to my hometown and family. I wanted to make a fresh start in a place with more natural wide-open spaces than just the interesting yet troubling empty, overgrown lots of my old neighborhood. These three years together have been some of the most fun and full that I’ve enjoyed in my grown-up times.
We’ve walked miles in the parks and grounds of this area, and stared at countless sunsets over Belleville Lake from downtown’s Horizon Park. We’ve made friends and enjoyed the area’s restaurants and bars, and made a friendly acquaintance of the downtown antique dealer. We’ve gathered places here where everybody knows our names (or at least our faces). The Lunch Box, the Belleville library, the downtown Methodist church where one Christmas-season night we found the Belleville Community Chorus, and a great way for me to reconnect with a musical past life. He has drawn, designed, and continued to build his portfolio as an artist, and constantly impresses me with his passion for beauty and quiet, observant way of looking at and interpreting the world around him. I’m lucky to call this smart cool creature first my friend, and then also, happily, my love.
And today, this handsome man is helping me move again. But this time, it’s to his house 10 miles away. These past five years, bookended by two moves, have been quite a journey. I’m really looking forward to seeing what kinds of fun and trouble we’ll find and share on this next part of our travels.
Love you, babe.
The moving truck is waiting. Time for another strong coffee and some rallying to get going on this cool, overcast March in Michigan day.
See you all on the other side (aka my next hometown).