THE amazing thing about new beginnings is that, like endings, they sometimes happen when you least expect them or even when you’re opposed to them happening at all.
In 2016, a few months after ending things with my ex, I decided to move from the suburbs back to the city of Atlanta—I was thankful the car was mine and it took me far away from one sunset and toward my life’s next sunrise.
Other than for work, I never truly got to experience the city before because I worked in the nightlife scene of Atlanta (since nearly day one of living there)—and I definitely hadn’t as a single man, so the move back to the city was a lot to adjust to all at once.
I was able to connect with acquaintances I had known for years, who soon became good friends now that I was actually able to cultivate the friendships. As opposed as I was to any sort of romantic relationship, I eventually (but reluctantly) accepted some offers for dates, and some of them became a bit more than friends.
After leaving a 14-year relationship, the last thing I wanted was to even enter the semblance of one, so I became, admittedly, a bit of a player, dating upwards of 6-7 guys at one time. As much as I tried to protect myself, however, there were a few who made me drop my guard enough to let them in beyond what I wanted to, one more than the rest.
Let’s back up just a little bit, though… When I first moved from Michigan to Atlanta, Emerich (pictured with me above) became one of my bar customers and was one of the first people I met in my new city. As with all of my bar patrons, though, I wasn’t allowed to develop any sort of meaningful friendships because of a jealous partner, so he and I were only acquaintances. We knew very little about each other… just enough to keep up the occasional conversation about our lives.
Shortly after our meeting, Emerich started dating Henrique (Kike), the man who would become his partner of 8 years and who also became an acquaintance and regular bar patron alongside Emerich; their relationship ended in 2012, shortly after I was let go from my job at the bar and around the same time I started my blog The Bearded Scribe. I found this out after taking another bartending gig later in 2012, where Emerich became one of my regular bar patrons once again.
Because my ex (at least not at first) didn’t work with me at the new gig, I was able to chat a bit more with my customers, get to know them a bit more without the constant worry of being accused of being unfaithful, and in that time I got to learn even more about Emerich and his life story—yet just a little bit more. Had you told me then that this man would (SPOILER ALERT) become more than just a friend, I would probably give a good chuckle—not because there wasn’t a connection, but because—even despite the abuse (or perhaps due to it)—I never saw a life outside of one with my ex.
Despite feeling that connection in 2016 when Emerich and I first re-connected—so much so that I (more or less) ran out of the bar shortly after our interaction. He stopped me by grabbing my arm as I was on my way to look for my friends. I have always been an empath, intuitive, and sensitive to energy, and when his hand touched my arm, I literally felt a surge of energy hit me and I was bombarded with flashes of memories of a life with him I hadn’t yet lived… and now you know why, once our conversation ended and I told him that I still had to find my friends (who had already left, as it turns out), I literally left out the back exit and went home.
As luck—or fate—would have it, when I moved backed to the city, my apartment was literally down the street from his. I only knew this because of his proximity to me on one of the gay dating apps. I withheld from connecting with him on the app; my scars and my heart still needed to heal, and I wasn’t ready for the visions I had experienced that night in the bar.
One fateful night, about a month after that other one in the bar, Emerich found me on that aforementioned dating app. My photo was selectively cropped to prevent my ex (or his friends) from harassing me, so he didn’t know it was me when he messaged, but I knew exactly who he was and used it to be a bit playful, using his name (with the correct spelling from years of looking at it on his credit card at the bar!), which freaked him out a little bit. When I revealed my identity, he said that I had made his night. I swallowed my fear and we made plans for a date later that week.