I look at the calendar, amazed that itís February already. Where has the time gone? It seems only yesterday that I was accepted into the Police Academy. And only yesterday when my father introduced me to Jesse Travis, the man who now claims my heart. I shake my head, unable to reconcile myself to the days, months and years that have passed since I had my first taste of Sunshine.
I smile. That is indeed what Jesse is to me. His love has surrounded me in warmth, something I didnít know I was missing until he wrapped his heart around me.
Iím amazed at how quickly and how completely he won me over. Jesse is most enthusiastic and when he sees something he wants, he goes after it, undeterred by the possibility of failure. This blonde dynamo, the one who warms my bed and my heart, took one look at me and decided, in an instant, he would win me over to his side of the street. It mattered nothing to him that I would have to walk away from the security of a sexuality I had lived comfortably with for nearly 35 years. Jesse simply smiled at me, kissed me softly on the lips and, with the slightest touch of his hand, jaywalked me across the street, into a life I, now, could not imagine living any other way.
Good thing I didnít give him a ticket!
A day for lovers. A day to express your devotion, your commitment to the one who owns your heart.
I wear such expressions. Around my neck is a gold chain, hanging from its slight weight a small angel, its wings braced against a sun of gold. Your guardian angel, the one who will keep you safe for me, Jesse said on the day he gave me my gift. I remember after he placed the chain around my neck he crawled into my arms and fell asleep, his fingers tracing the small pendant where it lay upon my chest, as if he was empowering it with his love.
I touch my angel, the details of its beauty slightly worn from constant handling. During the five years Jesse and I have been together, its ability to protect has been tested again and again by the nature of my work. Many tears of supplication have been shed over it and many kisses of appreciation pressed to it, for my guardian angel has never failed me.
I lower my hand and stare at last yearís expression of love. A watch, its plain face of numbers replaced by an image of the two of us embracing. With total clarity, I remember the day that moment was captured on film by my dad. It was the day I told Jesse I loved him.
Iím not a man of pomp and circumstance. I simply took him by the hand and kissed him. When Jesse had recovered sufficiently from his shock, I guided him outside on the deck and wrapped my arms around him, feeling the warmth of his back blanketing my trembling heart. Resting my cheek against the side of his head, I gazed out at the setting sun and uttered the words I now whisper to him every morning and every night.
I love you, Jesse.
It was that simple. My life found its true direction with those four little words.
This is the fifth one Jesse and I have shared together. And his gift this year has brought me to my knees, literally.
Jesse has given me a child. A child born of tragedy but now surrounded by love.
I sit on our bed and watch as my lover sings a hushed lullaby to our adopted daughter, his fingers gently playing with the raven curls that frame her face. I stare in awe at the miracle Jesse holds in his arms. Never in a million years would I have believed in the reality of me becoming a father. And definitely not at the ripe old age of forty. I canít even begin to grasp the responsibility of raising a daughter, of guiding her through the trial and tribulations of this world.
No dating until sheís at least thirty. I insist on that.
I pull Jesse into my arms and I hold my family tight against my heart. Happy Valentineís, Jesse whispers into my mouth. I kiss him softly, tasting once again the Sunshine that has brought me true love.
My most favorite holiday of the year.