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Race Against Time

It's been a quiet year and a bigger one than I could have ever imagined. Aaron and I had not seen each other for 2 and 1/2 years and had not communicated that much either. (Why? Another post sometime soon.). Last September we decided that I would go to Dublin, Ireland to visit him. I was pretty busy and the soonest I could happen was January of 2020. The day was never going to come.

January finally did arrive. The year began, off to Chicago first for a sister's surprise party. After Chicago back to New York for a night and then Dublin, the next. Of course a freak snowstorm while I was in Chicago, planes cancelled, rerouted or delayed for hours., All I could think of was I better be able to get the fuck out of this city to Dublin. For 2 and 1/2 years of very little contact Aaron had always remained in my heart and my head. This meeting was going to happen no matter what.

A few days before leaving I told Aaron that I was going to stay in a hotel for a day or two. I was flying business but thought it would be nice to get over my jetlag, change and shower before I had to impress him. My idea was nixed. He said he wanted me at his place which he shared with a housemate. It has been quite a few years since I shared a place with anyone and was not crazy about the idea. He even said he would pick me up at the airport. I don't like people picking me up when I arrive somewhere. I want to take my time, get my shit together and not worry that someone is at the curb waiting impatiently for me. We agreed he would stay home but he would be wide awake waiting for me,. I would arrive at his house around 7:00 A.M.

I arrived no problem,. Got a taxi and made it to his house. Before I left New York I had googled the address and it said the neighbourhood was in the process of being revitalised and housing prices were going up, I wanted to know a little bit about where I was going, After getting out of the taxi I looked up at the house and thought what have I done to myself. I sat down on the curb, smoked a cigarette until I had the courage to ring the bell, the courage to go in the house which seemed a bit strange and to see Aaron after such a long time,

Some guy answered the door and I really thought I had the wrong address. He told me to come in, he took my coat and asked me if I wanted some coffee, I said sure,. He did not tell me his name and did not mention Aaron, I really figured I might be in the wrong place. Turned out Aaron was fast asleep. Knowing Aaron the way I did I should have figured as much. It must have been a Friday when I arrived and all weekend I thought I was staying in a gay frat house or I was a visitor to a sex party. (READ OUR NEXT BLOG).

The ten or so days we spent together flew by. We had some rehashing to do, much catching up and best of all I realised most importantly that I still loved Aaron after not seeing him for so long. It suddenly became clear to me that whenever I dated anyone since he left America I was always looking for him in whoever I was seeing. The night before I left I told Aaron I loved him. I was leaving on the highest of highs and could not wait to see him again.

Gay men, Aaron and Mike on first visit together in over 2 years in Dublin, Ireland.

We made plans to see each other again but not until mid April. I had already made plans that would keep me out of New York for the winter. In addition Aaron had to work and I thought it was too soon to change all of my plans for him. I stayed a week in New York and was then leaving for London, California and Arizona.

It was towards the end of my trip to London that people began talking about the, "new flu." I really paid no attention to the talk. That seemed to be all it was at that point. On my return from London to New York the first week of March I felt deathly ill. Thank God at that point people were starting not to fly in business class there were only 5 of us, I was sure I did not have Covid but would have felt horrible had I gotten anyone sick with whatever I had, When I got back to the city I had the Uber driver take me straight to the Doctor to be tested. The nurse tested me for the flu which I did have. They said there was no need for me to be tested for Covid. It was believed at that point that you could not have both the flu and Covid at the same time, (Thus is not true, but I was subsequently tested for Covid and never had it.

Getting to LA was easy the planes were almost empty. People had really started to stop travelling. It was amazing in LA already there were lines to get in the grocery stores, the stores were out of food, people were wearing masks and things were starting to close down. When leaving New York things had seemed pretty normal, I was not expecting this. It was as if mass hysteria was setting in. I lived in LA during the big earthquake and the riots and this appeared much worse in people's minds. In hindsight I should have taken things more seriously. About now my friend who I was staying with was getting nervous about getting sick and I took my exit. . It was another week before I was supposed to be in AZ so I decided to go to Orange County where things were still "normal."

Mike in California before returning to Dublin to visit Aaron.

Orange County is only a 2 hour drive from LA but by the time I got there things were not "normal'. The government had decided to close all restaurants except for carryout and the city was running out of food and water. Covid was following me. Arizona was going to be a no go. It was still a month before I was supposed to see Aaron but I was getting scared, I was afraid I would get stuck somewhere and the only place I wanted to be was Dublin and the only person I wanted to be with was Aaron. We spoke and decided I should get out of Dodge

Gay Lifestyle Blog writer in California trying to return to dublin during covid.
Orange County

It had become nearly impossible to get airlines on the phone, websites were down and no one knew what was happening. Flights were being cancelled right and left. Once you made a reservation it was cancelled. Countries were closing down to visitors. No one knew what was going on or what was going to happen. Looking back it is hard to believe how things have calmed down and gotten somewhat back to normal. I was not going to give up. Thank God I had a friend who never let anything get in her way. Eden was determined that I was going No, was never no to her. With her help, 2 cell phones, 2 landlines and 3 days of work and thousands of dollars in travel in travel vouchers I finally was able to get a flight from San Diego to Dublin, with a stop in New York for the night. I was amazed when I got to New York. My home had become a ghost town. I have to say it was the best time to fly. The airports were empty and each of my flights had less than 15 people on them. It really was pure paradise.

Empty airport during Covid.

When I arrived in Dublin that was another story. Three immigration officers stopped me for 90 minutes interviewing me about what I was coming to Ireland for. Did I have health insurance, who were my friends there, why was I going to see them at this time? I thought they were going to send me back to the states. How could this be happening. Finally their boss came and told them to let me in the country. Par for the course Aaron had wanted to pick me up, I refused and he insisted he would be up waiting for me. Well I got to the house and he was sound asleep.

Gay couple Aaron and Mike reunited in Ireland during Covid.

Today we have been together for over a year in Dublin. It is hard to believe so much has happened. We fell in love again, we were engaged, we planned two weddings, (one was cancelled due to lockdown,) we got an apartment together, we were finally married and started our Blog. I guess today is kind of like an anniversary of sorts. More about all of this later.


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