October 13, 1996.

October 13, 1996.

Originally uploaded by macwarriorny.

We’d only been living together for a month. Heck, we’d only been dating for six months. He’d met the family once or twice and my father still referred to him as “the guy with the tattoo on his leg.” I’d met his family and they didn’t know what to think of me. They were wondering how the two of us fit into a single bed that one weekend we’d spent with them. And here we were climbing a mountain in the Adirondacks together.

What had Earl gotten himself into?

“There better be something worth looking at up here”, he proclaimed. “There is, I promise”, hoping to sound reassuring. I was loving the experience, the smell of the autumn air, the unusually warm October day, the vibrant colors found at this time of year in this part of the state.

A small notion at the back of my head made me wonder if Earl really had known what he’d gotten himself into when he saddled up with the likes of me. We traveled the well-worn path hrough the trees. The climb was steady, but not terribly difficult. There had been enough traffic through here to keep any sort of wildlife quiet. I had to remember that I had fallen in love with a “city boy” of sorts who, while not afraid of a challenge by any means, still had to wash his hands after petting a cow or still was amazed at the “hair styles” on the chickens at the State Fair.

And here I was taking him to the top of a mountain.

After the half hour or so climb, we came upon a rocky, flat area. We had reached the top. Twenty or so people in groups of different sizes, some accompanied by their dogs, had already reached the same destination. And they were overlooking the Fulton Chain of Lakes just as we were. The beauty was inspiring. The vibe was serene.

The moment was *perfect*.

We took in a few moments of scenery when I turned to Earl, took him by the hand, and led him off the rocky area and onto a bed of pine needles. The evergreens loomed majestically over us.

I looked at him for a moment, my stomach churned as I took a breath and he looked at me, and almost instinctively knew what I was about to do.

“Don’t do it unless you mean it.”, he cautioned. He was already tearing up.

It was at that moment that I got down on my knee, in front of twenty people in groups of various sizes, some accompanied by their dogs, and said, “The past six months have been amazing. I think I’ve been looking for you all my life. Will you marry me?”

I was tearing up myself at that point.

It was then that he responded with a “yes”.

It was kind of odd that I proposed to him, or that he would even propose to me, because Earl and I don’t really fit into the “traditional roles” that most expect of gay couples. We both can be very aggressive. We both can be very passive. We both can lead and both of us can follow. It’s a matter of synchronization I guess, and well, because it was meant to be, it works for us.

So it was ten years ago today that Earl and I said that “yes, we will get ready to say ‘I do'”. It’s not really your traditional anniversary, but then again, we’ve always done our own thing.

And yes, I’d do it all over again without hesitation. What can I say? I’m in love.