December 1st, was World AIDS Day. I lost my partner of 18 months to AIDS in June of 1994. He was one of the kindest and funniest people I've ever known. I always giggled when he said, "You're snoring" when I awoke from a good nap. That was my first relationship -- and a surprise it was. We'd met six months before our first date. He was a very nice young man, introduced to me by a mutual friend, but I really didn't pay much attention to him. Not that I was looking for a romance at that time, We met in a business situation, so my mind was on business. When our mutual friend called me and said, "Remember Richard, the guy I introduced you to six months ago? He wants to ask you out." I had just started work as one of the original trio hosting a new local weekend morning news program. We were in our second month and word on the street predicted we'd be cancelled three months later. This was 1992. The show, by the way, became a hit.
I did not want to go out with Richard because I was convinced I had to start taking meetings for possible new work on the West Coast. But, I had been stood up or otherwise rejected on several dates. I did not want to treat someone like that. I told him to have Richard call me and I'd politely explain why we should not go out. He called me. His absolute charm on the phone made me say "Yes." We had our first date, a brunch date on Sunday, October 11th, 1992. I was prepared to end our brunch around 2pm with "Well, I must go home and start working on our next show. It was nice to meet you" and leave. However, something happened. I stood on the corner in front of the cafe where we met for brunch. When he spotted me from across the street and happily waved, I had a strange and oddly radiant feeling when I looked at him. I'll put it in movie terms -- it was like that moment when Tony first sees Maria at the dance in 1961's WEST SIDE STORY. I said to myself, "He's going to change my life." And, indeed, he did.
We had brunch -- and I stayed with him until the day he died. To love, live with and take care of Richard made me a better man. In the following years, I was determined to put those qualities into a second relationship. I was romantically interested in a few fellows after I felt emotionally strong enough to date after Richard passed, However, the romantic interest was never mutual. I'll use another movie example -- I didn't have the luck Tom Hanks' widower character had in SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE.
I tell you all that to let you know why this foreign TV commercial for Norway's postal system put tears in my eyes:
Have yourself a merry little Christmas.