Like many love stories, it all comes back to some superfluous drinks. Little did FHC know while he was drunkenly flirting with BT’s friend that he would still be with him a year later. I even believe that FHC might have told his shrink in the early days of their “affair” that anyway LL was moving to NYC by the end of the summer and that it would be good unthreatening practice for his forecasted come back on the dating scene after a few months of orchestrated social withdrawing.
Retrospectively, FHC probably fell in love because LL would make him smile continuously which was quite an accomplishment in these days. LL seduced him with his peculiar dinosaur imitation and his strange fake dances in the early morning. Second was probably the fact that, contrary to FHC, LL was never tainted nor obsessed by his own gayness and as a consequence was not overly self-conscious of his sexual identity. FHC was seduced by his Jockey plaid boxers, his loyalty to his myriad of straight college time girlfriends and his lack of unmanaged anger towards society. Of course LL’s dark eyes underlined by furious black eyebrows, his thick jewfrow he claims to hate so much, the softness of his lips, his elegant tall silhouette might have played a major role. FHC also admired the way LL would get caught with the crosswords in the New York Times on Sunday morning, spinning his pen between his long fingers and insisting that no one would leave the house until the crosswords would be completed. Someone of his generation that would take so seriously such a pointless intellectual exercise had to be a little out of his time. FHC was impressed by LL’s genuine interest in his [usually unwelcome] Frenchness symbolized by the fact that he learnt the lyrics of “Il venait d’avoir dix huit ans” and “Comme dans un vieux Rock N’Roll” during the first few months of their relationship. FHC was also amazed by LL’s uncommon cheerfulness and lightness: while FHC struggled with his chemically enhanced sleep, LL would always fall asleep instantly with a smile. FHC also loved LL for many other peculiar little things like the dexterity with which he maneuvered the catamaran during their first vacation together, his habit to wear FHC initialed polos, his profound distaste for DC cab drivers, pedestrians lacking self-awareness and friendster, the way he always smelt pillows before laying his head on them, the fact that he would eat ice cream continuously, his discreet snobbery and hidden ambition unimpressed by the powerful and the famous, his unpracticed belief in spray tanning, his optimism and above-all how he would squint charmingly in front of his laptop while reading obscure online articles.
The reason why love remained after the first expected hurdles and in spite of LL’s drastic move to NYC at the end of the summer, the amazing cultural differences, the language gap and the many pressures that every relationship faces, were probably LL’s open-minded, patient and non judgmental personality. He neither cared about FHC’s outrageous consumption of pills (one could have counted at least four psychotropes prescriptions in the early 2005) at the time they met nor was he scared by the various incoming medical bills related to FHC’s obviously fragile psyche. Indeed, if LL was genuinely saddened by FHC’s pessimism, he only tried to counterbalance it by making him understand through his behavior that he wasn’t constantly renegotiating their relationship and that FHC could count on him. He never manifested any contempt towards him. Among other things, he indulged him into being sensitive and anxious, having weird habits, smoking cigars, being somewhat asocial, suffering from an obviously made-up lactose intolerance, imagining a wide array of weird nicknames for him and requiring as much as two naps a day on week-ends. It seemed as if he even was sometimes amused by FHC’s constant ranting on his imaginary afflictions and was personally unaffected by his mood. He supported him in his strange blog endeavors and diligently commented once a day for 220 days straight (on the other hand one could argue that FHC often wrote his entries for LL), in his decision to learn how to drive and sat tranquilly through a hundreds weird movies FHC had picked. They developed their own language to overcome what could pompously be described as“the language barrier” and almost only fought on political topics such as the Israelo-Palestinian conflict or the welfare state. LL even once traveled 8 hours on a train to return from DC on a snowday.
Falling in love, I read somewhere recently, is the ultimate act of rebellion and FHC was certainly becoming increasingly rebellious in the early months of 2006. Some events that remained senseless to FHC such as moving to the United States, coming out, the bitter disappointment of his disastrous 40 or so aborted relationships somehow started to make sense. The reasons to resent and stay stuck on past events faded as some hidden logic in his life became clearer to FHC as their relationship evolved to become rather fulfilling. In FHC’s Cartesian terms… he felt he was eventually collecting the long overdue dividends of his investment decisions on the very unpredictable market of life. Loving LL was also slowly making him more demanding from society, his family, his friends and life: the unexpected foretaste of stillness he was feeling thanks to his relationship was not to be spoilt by the bigotry, noise, ignorance and unpleasantness he had so long tolerated. As if he had started to get a glimpse of what is essential through the extremely foggy pair of glasses that life (or was it his upbringing?) had given him. It also was freeing him progressively, with LL silent encouragement, from many chains starting with his psychological not-too-bad-being but also his work, need for approval and the fears of aging or that no gay relationship resist the erosion of time. More and more, FHC started to think that it might be possible to have many more Sundays like this one and was paving the way for it. In a way love was reconciling him with his surroundings and healing the invisible cuts that he might have endured (or at least thought he had endured) on the way that led him to meet LL. LL’s presence was soothing FHC into becoming a better and empowered person….perhaps even a more laid back one (even if using such a term in FHC’s case still seemed silly in the early days of 2006) and certainly a happier one.
Towards the end of their first year together, FHC impulsively brought LL to his native city. On their first night there and for the first time in years, FHC thought that he actually could have lived and made his way there if he had wanted too. It was a rather disturbing idea as he always felt such a strong distaste for this city years after he had left it as if it the city severity and grayness had been the omen of all the tough times to come. Yet as he was lying there, happy, breathing LL’s breathing and feeling his familiar warm shape in his arms he thought, smiling, that wherever his boyfriend was, that could be his home.
Dear L we wish you a very happy anniversary and Valentine’s day: from all the team here at FHC’s: Pedro and Maria
 LL and FHC left the Diner together for the first time on a cold February 18th night of 2005. FHC received his first e-mail from LL on 08/23/2004 for Ben T’s 24th birthday.