This summer has been rocky. In ways I never imagined it would be.
My boyfriend Harry and I ended up working on a show together: myself onstage, him behind the scenes. I imagined this would be wonderful- spending the summer with my beau in picturesque upstate New York. Theater, adventures, and cuddles under open skies, fields of green. With Lake Ontario within spitting distance, we’d spend our off days swimming, skipping stones, basking in the sun and each other’s company. This was how I imagined it, and while all of these things occurred, I failed to consider taking the bad with the good.
We spent every night together, as we lived so close anyway. Which was great, but suddenly it was like we were living together; we shared a kitchen with the rest of the actors and staff. The weather was wet and rainy, Harry’s room was flooded. Soon he had no choice but to stay with me as mold began to infect the dampness. This was trying. As if that weren’t enough, we were both struggling with personal issues of our own. Driven closer by circumstance but drifting apart, each consumed by our own troubles, we were struggling. On the other hand, I was finally comfortable enough being in a couple that I could use call us we without flinching, really without a second thought. I loved him, and he replied that he loved me. We both wanted it to work.
“There’s nothing to do around here,” Harry bemoaned. I rolled my eyes, we hadn’t been on a proper date in weeks and all those we had been on that summer, I had planned. I was beginning to realize my love was unimaginative, perhaps even lazy… “There is stuff to do up here!” I retorted, “We just need to explore.”
There was a lighthouse in town, rocks leading to it creating a harbor. I believed it was possible to reach it, heard from others who had been that this was true. So I packed a picnic, put on sensible walking shoes, sought out directions, and Harry and I set out to explore. Would we reach the lighthouse? Would we decide this relationship had a future? I put my faith that we would succeed on all accounts.
We began with a snafu before we even started. The directions said 6th AVENUE but I steered us toward 6th STREET. The path to the lighthouse well in the distance, we scratched our heads. I was determined to find it, “Let’s walk!” Walking toward our destination lead us to great barbed wire fences blocking off the local power plant. Hello ominous road block. I would’ve walked on, pig-headed, probably for 2 fruitless miles. Harry on the other hand is logical. “Let’s take the car and find our start that way,” he said.
Driving in the direction of the lighthouse, we quickly realized the 6th Avenue blunder. In no time we were at the path. “Yay! We found it!” I said, kissing his cheek, “I’m so glad you suggested driving.” The path to the lighthouse began against the fence of the power plant.
“Well, there go my balls,” Harry joked, “This will either make me sterile or give me mutant powers.”
“I like your balls the way they are! Walk faster!”
Leaving the power plant behind us, as we journeyed on the path became more rocky and uneven. The lighthouse far in the distance, perhaps close to a mile. It really did feel like an adventure. Harry is the more outdoorsy of the two of us, but I held my ground. I have more outdoor adventure in me than you might think of a New York cliché. With tricky rock slabs, I knew I could manage them myself, but it was nice to have a hand to grab. Nice to know someone was there for me, not that I needed help, but it was there. This is truly something I’ve realized about relationships on the whole.
We walked on, truly enjoying each other’s company, laughing, sharing stories from childhood. It was truly a great date. We made it to the lighthouse at the time of sunset.
We ate our picnic as the sun set. I love picnics. Raspberries, brie, humus, crackers. I love having a boy who loves picnics and proper picnic foods.
Watching the sunset out on the water meant walking back in twilight, dusk, near dark. We made it back just in time, just before it got too dark to see.
It was a lovely date. Though I didn’t realize it at the time and very much hoped otherwise, it was also our last date. A great last date. I’m so glad I have it to remember.