Young Love: Final Installment

"I was never one to patiently pick up broken fragments and glue them together again and tell myself that the mended whole was as good as new. What is broken is broken -- and I'd rather remember it as it was at its best than mend it and see the broken places as long as I lived."
-Margaret Mitchell

So we come to the last installment of the story of Nate and Paul.

Paul was many of my firsts.  First to date.  First to travel with.  First to love.  First to introduce my family to.  First to leave.  First to know.  First to mourn.

I wrote to Paul a few weeks after my ex-husband and I split.  It was a rare moment that we were both at our computers so we wrote the following exchange within a space of two hours:

December 15, 2005


So I'm single again. Wasn't sure if I was going to write you, but for some odd reason I feel the need.

How are you? What's new? Fill me in . . .



I want to ask what happened. I have a million questions. I even want to know if you have to go through a divorce. But, I don't know if I should. You must be hurting, whether you want to admit it or not.

I will ask you this though: Why were you not sure if you wanted to write me?

Nate, I can't be anything valuable to you. I want to, but I can't. Maybe an ear, but that's it. I'm sorry that you are single again, because I want you to have happiness. I'm also sorry because I know I am weak.

Please don't pursue me, Nate. I know you aren't right now - but the day might come - and I want you to avoid it. I know you are a very caring and sensitive person. You have always respected me. If I could turn back time, things would be different. But, I am happy where I am. I want to be there for you - I want to be with you. I'm sorry.

You should know that I read Annie Proulx's, "Brokeback Mountain," and thought of you.



So I suppose it wasn't that fair of me to send you this cryptic little message without being clear on why I was sending it to you. I want you to know that I am NOT pursuing you. Not that I don't have that desire, but like you said I respect and love you too much to put you into that situation. I am glad to you are happy.

I guess I would want to know if something big changed in your life as well. I would hope you'd be willing to share that with me still. No walls, no expectations. You are, and still will be, such a huge part of my heart, that it only felt right to at least let you know.

My ex and I were simply not happy. We grew to resent one another more than we appreciated each other in our relationship. It was past time that we needed to give each other our space. So he moved into an apartment not far from the house. I am confident that we will be very good friends . . .

Anyway, it's funny you read that book. I just picked it up yesterday to start reading. I'm excited to see the movie when it comes out in Utah. I wouldn’t suggest going and seeing it with your wife! (Just Kidding)

I was in Denver last weekend for my sister's graduation. Thought about you a lot and wondered where you were and what you were doing. If you ever find yourself in Utah I hope you don't feel that you can't look me up. I don't honestly expect you to anytime soon. But just in case...


Mr. Currey,

Thanks for the fill-in. So, what now? Are you in rebound mode?

I just finished my semester last night. One more semester to go and I will have an MBA. Next semester I am going to be interning - hopefully - on top of my regular job and two other classes. So, my life will be "owned" until next May. Then, who knows? I want to get a job in new product development for a biotech company. It will be interesting to see if and what I can get hired doing. Otherwise, nothing is new. Merry Christmas, by the way.

Where are you at spiritually, Nate? I know the last time I spoke to you about that, you felt mostly reconciled.

Different subject - I must say that I was jealous of your husband. He was really good looking. Sorry, that's crass. But, if I'm ever going to be with you again, I'm going to be insecure about the men you've been with. Not that I plan on being with you again - just in my mind. But...

Nate, I absolutely hate the fact that I have a "tragic" part to me life. I love my wife, and I would never hurt her. But, I've never felt about anyone else, the way I still feel about you.

Have you ever seen the movie, "Love Actually”? There's a scene where a guy flips a bunch of cards expressing his deepest heart to a woman that just married his best friend. I lose it during that scene because I know what it is to never again have the one thing you've always wanted.



Reading this makes me want to hold you. I have seen that scene in that movie; it's my favorite scene in that movie and I too think of you every time I see it.

No I am not in rebound mode. I'm just trying to work through this and be happy again. I need some time alone to work it out in my own head. We were together for a long time and I have a huge void in my life right now. Not so fun during the holidays that's for sure. I find myself having good days, and then days like today where I am desperately trying to find a smile once again.

Spiritually I am well. Moving back to Utah was really the final part of that healing process. I was not able to avoid the Church AT ALL when I moved back here. It is a part of daily life here. It's been very cathartic to reestablish ties with friends from my mission and BYU and be honest with them about who I am and what my experiences have been. I have a solid personal relationship with God and still have a deep sense of spirituality everyday. I will admit that I am much more skeptical about organized religion though.

My ex is a very handsome guy. I was surprised to read that line from you. You must know that it's your heart that I still love. I will NEVER forget the moment that you pulled me toward you for our first kiss. I've yet to experience something like that again. So put your inadequacies at rest and know that you are the one . . .

I'm glad that I can share these thoughts and feelings with you. I really couldn't think of anyone else I'd rather share this with.

Be happy and know that there is a very comfortable couch here in Utah anytime you find yourself out this way . . .


p.s. Do you still talk to your wife about me? Does she have any idea about your feelings?


I haven't spoken to my wife about you in some time. She became very bothered by the idea of you the last time it came up. I think she sensed that I still have feelings for you, and she is afraid of those feelings, just as I am. If she knew how deep those feelings are...

There are some things that can never be spoken of. There are some loves that go on forever. No one ever promised us life would be fair. Love would not be so powerful, if it wasn't also so awful.

I cannot offer you a couch here – my wife would figure out who you are very quickly. (After she saw my eyes when I look into yours.) I'm sorry I can't reciprocate. But, I wouldn't want to stay on your couch anyway. I would want to hold you, and be held by you.



I never expected a stay on the couch with you! I never ever want to intrude on your space with your wife whatsoever. That would be about the most unfair thing that either one of us could do. Especially to her. She is a lucky woman to be able to experience your love on a daily basis.

Listen to that song I sent you. I love it...

Write me back...



I'm listening to the song right now. Hope you like the one I sent you.



I can’t open it for some reason. What's the title? I'll download it.

Thanks for corresponding with me tonight. I've had a tough day and you've just made my month. You are amazing as ever...



"Don't go to strangers." On her "Both Sides Now" disc. The one that was in
"Love Actually." It's meant to be a little tongue-in-cheek.

But, if I was going to send you a song that expressed my real feelings - well, I would ask you to get "We're so far away," by Mae, on The Everglow.

I'm glad I could make your month. Here's to better months to come!



I'm downloading both of the songs right now and will give them a spin. After that I'm off to bed. You should be too!!



I will head off to bed here in a moment. I'm going to listen to Collide - while I fall asleep. It was magical, wasn't it? Our brief moment in time together. It seems like a mirage now.



Paul and I have written since and we will keep writing each other the rest of our lives I suspect.  For that I am grateful.  I do not know, nor expect to actually see Paul ever again.  But I know we will write.  It is in that safe space, not hearing voice inflection, or reading facial expressions or body language, that we have carved out our way to communicate.  

Now then . . . on to different subjects to blog about. . .


Young Love: 4th Installment

Better never to have met you in my dream than to wake and reach for hands that are not there.
-Otomo No Yakamochi

December 28, 2004


I'm glad you wrote to me.  Sorry you had to join the gold membership to do it!
I'm living and working in Utah and have been out here for a little over two years now.  I'm still with Enterprise (4 years now) and have my own branch in Northern Utah.  Things are going really well.
I think of you often, especially when I head back home for visits.  Let me know what's going on with you.  How's your wife? Your job?  What have you been up to?  I hope things are well for you.
Hit me back with a note.

Yes you read that correctly . . . wife.  

After the last installment, Paul and I didn't have much contact.  About a year later we bumped into each other at a club once and talked all night about getting back together.  Shortly after that, I called Paul and we decided to meet for lunch.  There were both things that we needed to tell each other.  

For my part I told Paul that I had made a big mistake with him and that I wanted to give dating him another shot.

For his part, he said he was glad to have my friendship, but that he was dating a woman and that things were getting serious between them.  

It was clear that I had missed my window of opportunity with him, so we left lunch that day with a big hug and a pledge from one another not to contact each other again, for both of our sakes.

Fast forward almost three years.  I had signed up for an account on one of those class reunion sites, the kind that extorts you out of money if you want any meaningful information about your old friends.  Just after Christmas of 2004, I received an email from Paul through that site trying to get my contact information.  

The email at the top of this installment is what I wrote back to him.  The following is what was returned to me:

December 28, 2004


Hey Nate,

Glad you got back to me.  Would have been a waste otherwise.  Currently, I am in the MBA program at CU Denver.  About half way through it.  My wife and I are going along well.  We are passionate people and our relationship shows it.  I am working for the University of Colorado, going on about four years now.  I'm on winter break from school and work right now.  Lots of free time.

 So, you are in Utah again.  Why did you go there?  Are you back with the church?  Where are you living? I am glad to hear you are still with Enterprise, and apparently heading a large area.  Congratulations.  (Can you see the walls?  They are almost tangible.  Why?  After all these years.)  Are you in a relationship?  I guess I am asking too many questions.

(I am about to take down all my walls - I'm sorry for the honesty.)

There was a time when I would not contact you.  For fear of betraying my own feelings.
  I guess I am not afraid anymore.  I loved you deeply back then.  I told my wife that.  She has been okay with it, surprisingly.  But I did not know how deep my love for you was, until more recently.  I have never stopped thinking about you.  There are times, especially at night, that I think about you and about our relationship. There is a place in my heart that longs to know you again.  I write about how I felt with you.  I dream about how life would have been with you.  I think over the day you decided to leave, and then about the day I saw you at the club, and then finally the day I saw you at Denver West.  All of it is like yesterday.  As clear as crystal, and as delicate.  Thinking on all these things has brought me to many conclusions.  But few as potent as this:  you were, and still are, the love of my life.  A love I can never have.  I say this without regret, or hope, or agenda.  It is something I have felt the need to tell you for some time.  I have made many mistakes in this life, but none as great as not following my heart.  But, I will not betray what I have now.  I will not add insult to injury.  I will live and love, and I will never have you.  I am a bitter man.  A broken man.

That's what I have to say.  It is a bit extreme, and certainly over-dramatic.  But, it is me, and nothing less - with no walls believe it or not.  I just thought you should know.

I love you, now and forever,



Young Love: 3rd Installment

"Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a teardrop."

I decided to take the weekend off from this project.  Things are ramping up at school and church.  Sorry!

When last we checked in with the story, I had sent a despondent letter to Paul, concerned about things moving too quickly.

Today's installment is the resolution of that concern.

Please don't be too harsh on me.  I know what a fool I was.  I have not received love letters of this depth (or length!) from anyone else since, nor do I ever expect to again.

March 20, 2000

Thank you for being honest with me. I enjoy honesty, even if it brings pain, and you have always been honest with me. First, let me say that this is not a "break-up" letter. Actually, it's quite the opposite. I just want to explain myself a little. Some things are more easily explained than others.
First, I do trust you. You question whether I trust you because I asked if you would consider dating other people an option. I said this because I wanted you to know that I didn't consider it an option for myself.
To prove that I trust you: Did I ever even hint at not trusting you before? Even when we weren't committed to each other? No. You are a good person, a real person. Someone I know that I can trust, believe me. It's true that I don't know you too well, that's what this is all about. But, I do know that I can trust you, and I want you to know that you can trust me. Trust is THE most important thing in a relationship. If we don't have it...well... But I trust you, and you CAN trust me.
Commitment. You really wanna know why I said those things two nights ago?
You may not believe this, but the answer is often this simple. I said I wanted to be with you for so long, because I was really enjoying your company. I have only known you for less than a month, and to say I will be with you for so long is ridiculous. I do not believe that, yet. I do know you well enough that you do not see that issue the same as me though, and maybe never will. Which is fine. Right now we ARE on the same page. I am taking this one-day at a time.
In the future I may move to the next page, but that will be years from now. Years. My parents have been together forever, as far as I can tell. My whole family and all my friends’ parents are all together forever, so I conceptualize it easily. That's all it was. A statement of affection that backfired. I enjoyed resting with you, and I pictured that and then said it in the wrong way. I was a fool to say it. I'm sorry.

I have never said anything in all seriousness just to push your buttons. I only do that when we are debating an issue. A worldly issue. I have never and will never do that when we are talking about each other. This is an area where you don't know me well yet. Which is fine, you are learning at the same time I am. So you see, we are both making bad assumptions, and that's OK as long as we continue to communicate as we are right now.
On faith, yes we really need to talk about it, but I know that as long as you love me and I love you, it should work out. On my life, I want you to get to know my life so much better. I knew this would happen too. You let me in on your whole family, excited for me to get to know everyone, but then that changes, and you suddenly feel vulnerable. I know that feeling exactly.
I want you to meet my friends, and my family. However, my friends I will tell about you now, my family, not yet. I wont be telling them I'm gay until I am committed to a long-term relationship with a man, which avoids unnecessary pain for them and me. 

This may seem like a major problem to you. But if they were to know you, and then find out the fullness of our relationship, they would change drastically. There will never be a time where my parents will be even kind-of OK with me being gay. When I tell them, rest assured, any pain that you may feel from them, I will be receiving a thousand times more. I can't explain this well here, so I will leave it at that. I AM going to let you into my life to meet everyone, just as soon as you want to.

I must be honest with you; I am a difficult person to know. Many of my friends love me dearly, but they know I can be a little nuts at times. This may not be good in your eyes. I can't apologize for who I am. I can and do apologize for the stupid things I do. For that, I say I am sorry. I am sorry that I have caused you so much pain, confusion, and torment. Rest easy, I love you, I trust you unconditionally. I am here for you, and I will accept whatever you give me, the good, the bad, and the end.

I want this to last; you are so good to me.

You are so much of everything I would be a fool to let you go without a fight.


March 23, 2000

I know why I’m writing this, I know why I'm sending it, I don't know what possessed me to do either. What I have written here might fall on deaf ears, but it is undeniably worth it if it does not. I have spent more than what is reasonable, time-wise, thinking. This letter is the result of a week of deep thought, both logical and emotional. For this reason I would ask that you read this carefully. However, knowing what this letter will say, you may wish not to continue and I cannot fault you for that. Please, if you do continue, fully consider what I am saying.
You have probably recently returned from or are still on a great Spring Break, assuming all went well, and I hope it did. I do not expect you spent much of your time thinking on what I am writing here, maybe a little. In fact, you may not have spent much of your time thinking on this simply because it seemed resolved to you. I cannot say the same for myself. The purpose of this letter is two-fold. I have asked myself some questions that I could not answer and so I am looking to you for these answers; furthermore, I have come to some conclusions that I would like to share with you. Your response is optional, of course, and since I have just left on my Spring Break, any response wouldn’t be received for a week, which could be used in consideration.

Life would be so much easier if I didn’t have these feelings, specifically for you. Instead I have made myself the willing subject of pain in order to have the chance at experiencing incredible, lasting happiness. The fact of the matter is, I have taken the “reality pill,” but it isn’t the one we intended. I do understand that as things stand, our relationship is in the past. I did hear you when you said you were ready to let go. That reality I have accepted. However, what was not said, what caused our end, is what I am looking at and what I am questioning. So, this is the question part.

I have spent much time not only thinking about Saturday and the week before, but maybe more time thinking about all that happened in our past. I thought about meeting you, again, when you stood, both of us nervous, at my door. We went out and ate a big cookie and caught up and filled in. I thought about going to the Nugget’s game. I thought about wandering around Boulder on Valentine's looking for a place to eat with you. I thought about watching videos from Blockbuster, and meeting all your family. I loved going to Grand Junction, getting to know your cousins, telling people you were gay by telling them who I was! I saw how happy we were together. I also thought about our disagreements and our very tough times. And I came to a realization. Yes, we had more than our fair share of tough times. Yes, we were exploring a new world together, even if it was secretly holding hands at the movie theater. What I realized is that ending our relationship over seeing each other a few less times a week, doesn’t add up, when I see how great things really were. So I wondered, “Why is it over, really?”

I thought of a few reasons why it could have ended. Our disagreements, our misunderstandings, but we had made it through those, together! One answer stood out. Now, please understand that I am not trying to make you feel like the “wrong” one here, far from it. In fact I totally understand if this is what it really was. I think, and this is only my opinion, that your fear of commitment had a lot to do with it. Now, understand that I’m okay with that. How? Because it was your natural and true response to the situation. But I’m writing this because I’m no longer afraid. Why did this answer stand out? Well, I thought about how close we had become, real close. I thought about getting to know every one in your family. I thought about you telling me that you were scared that I was your only friend here. I thought about how much you agreed with my statement in my first email where I said that you were still “out exploring,” and I said I was too, just differently. All these, and much more pointed to this possible truth. So what am I asking? I’m asking, is this what it is, fear of commitment?
Nothing in this letter matters as much as this next part. 

Nate, I am truly in Love with you. Come what may, I was willing in the beginning and I’m willing now to bear all burdens just to know your love. The whole reason I’m writing all this is because the reality pill made things more clear. I understand your fears, I see our hardships, and I know we differ on some things if not manner. In fact, I really like our differences! But none of that matters to me above how I feel about you.

You are the sun in my day; your smile makes my soul warm. Your laugh resonates in my mind and brings me peace. Your intellect could keep me busy for ten life times. When we were together there was always an invisible beam that connected us. We tested each other, and we came out with flying colors. I also know that I am right for you. I am confident in my intellect, my personality and my looks. You will always know that you can trust me.

I can’t imagine what I wouldn’t want to explore with you. I’m at the prime of my explorative life. I’m tether-free. I want to see the world, and have a true and meaningful relationship with someone. I want to do stuff that scares me, and stuff I’ve never heard of before. All these things I know you want to do too.

We never had the chance to go to a football game together. We never travelled, at least very far, together. There are so many things we have left to learn about each other. I can't think of anyone I'd rather do those things with. All right, if all of that hasn’t started up your “fear of commitment engines,” I don’t know what would. The truth is, that’s a really hard feeling to deal with, much harder than the others. There is little I can say to that. This letter is to combat it as best as I can. Know now that you can rest in me. You can rest in being with me, and the security that comes with that. And I will never inhibit you from going out into the world to explore, whether that’s with or without me. I guess that’s the best I can do. So, now it is finished.
I have said all I can in those arenas. I just have one thing left to say. 

Nate, I can’t promise a perfect life, and I can’t promise easy times, but I do promise my love and my commitment to you and true uninhibited happiness. Please, consider me again. Will you be mine to hold, again? I love you and always will, no matter what your answer is. I am blessed that you have read this far, please don’t discard this without responding. 

I love you Nate.

With deepest sincerity,

March 24, 2000


Well, I’m still in Mexico and I wasn’t exactly expecting that kind of response. That’s again a lot of information coming from you. As always I certainly appreciate your honesty and especially your sincerity.
Unfortunately my feelings still stand as they did when we parted on Sat. I can appreciate the way you are feeling and I wont pretend that I don’t share some of your feelings. So here is my response.

Commitment is obviously a major issue for me. You have always known that it is. One of the main reasons that I need to let go now is that I know that I have the potential of hurting you terribly if we stayed together. I believe in fidelity in a relationship but I also know that I am tremendously tempted sometimes. So far I’ve been good, but as I branch out and meet new people I was recognizing that I was walking a fine line. I don’t ever want to hurt you or anyone else for that matter. Trust me, it is better that we let go now. I already have.

I can’t devote all of my time to a healthy relationship right now. Not just physically being with you but the mental and emotional time that it takes. I hope this doesn’t sound remarkably cold. I don’t mean it to be. I’m just telling you where I am.

I don’t know what to tell you. It pains me that you are hurting over this issue. I don’t think you’ve digested the pill yet; maybe you’ve swallowed it, but not digested. Love is an interesting thing, no? I still want us to be friends, I still want to be able to hang out and have fun, but I would not be comfortable and neither would you if you still were pressing or hoping for something more than that. I need to be clear on that. I can’t be in a relationship with you, but I still want to remain friends. It is your call. You know that. I didn’t expect a reply like this quite this soon and I think it is still a bit soon.

I’m not sure when you will get this but I will probably be home already. Feel free to give me a call or drop me a line. I’m always willing to talk and listen.

I hope I can help. Have a great vacation!

With love your friend,

March 31, 2000

Hey Nate-

I hope this was a good week for you. I got your email back. I actually got it before I left and contemplated it while I was gone. I understand completely now where you are at and I respect that. 
You will not see another attempt of mine like that again. I hope that doesn't sound cold, it's just the way we both know it should be. 

I hope that your job is going well. The reality pill really digested while I was gone, and some things you said in your last email really helped the process. Thank you for always being honest with me.

Well, we'll have to fill each other in on our Spring Breaks later. Take care, call me if you want to do something some time.

Your friend,

And with that we did not talk for a few years.  But when we finally did reconnect the story took a strange and, in my mind, more angst-filled turns and twists.  More tomorrow . . .