Today, Armando (37) and Scott (44) have an almost idyllic life together: beautiful home, good jobs, great friends, loving families on both sides. They share their good fortune with the less-lucky at every opportunity. They’re in love, and it shows. But things weren’t always this way. This is their story.
A Stunning Realization over Empanadas
Armando’s thinking toward Scott had changed. Though he was still seeing someone else, he had been feeling Scott’s absence much more potently than before. “I just missed him as a friend, and just wanted him to be around,” Armando recalls of the time. “Then, I just started missing him more and more, especially around Christmas and New Year’s. That was kind of tough.”
Things went so well that day at Costco that Armando offered to pick Scott up from the hospital after his surgery, which was still a couple of weeks away. Before the day came, though, the man Armando had been seeing pressed him to up the ante, and they decided to make things official. Armando changed the status on his MySpace profile to “In a Relationship”, which Scott saw immediately.
While he had been hurt by Armando before, that act was the end of things for Scott. He let Armando know that he would find someone else to give him a ride from his surgery, and renewed things with the guy he had been dating.
Scott’s surgery came and went, and Armando couldn’t get him out of his head. Shortly before Valentine’s day he broke things off with his new boyfriend, and decided to take Scott out to dinner and a movie to try and patch things up. After a lot of talking, Scott agreed.
On February 12, Scott was waiting for Armando to pick him up at his apartment, and stopped by his neighbor’s house. She was familiar with “The Armando Saga”, as Scott referred to it at the time, and was shocked that he was giving Armando another chance. They shared a drink, and Armando pulled up to the snow-covered curb, and Scott headed down to meet him.
They went to a small, family-run Argentine restaurant on Western, which turned out to be BYOB. The daughter of the owner, who took to the two of them right away, explained that there was a liquor store right down the street a block away. “One looooong city block,” she said, much to their amusement. The two decided to venture out into the frozen night, and walked shoulder to shoulder, laughing down the street leaving with their breath leaving a trail of foggy vapor.
Scott was enjoying himself, but doing his best to keep his distance and retrain his mind to think of Armando purely in a friendly way. For Armando, he was relieved at the renewed connection between them, feeling himself letting go and taking pleasure in Scott’s company in a way he had prevented himself in their previous time together.
At the liquor store, they decided on Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio, and soon arrived back at the restaurant, complete with rosy cheeks and big smiles. After unwrapping themselves from their winter wear, they looked through the menu and ordered some empanadas. Scott excused himself from the table to use the washroom, and, in that moment, it seemed as if time slowed down for Armando. Watching Scott walk away after they had just been having such a good time, even just for the bathroom, brought on a deep fear that he could leave forever if Armando continued the way he had.
The fear was palpable. All the time they had spent together, all the intimate moments they had shared welled up inside, and he struggled to get a hold on himself. “I just had this powerful force of energy just run through my body,” Armando recalls. Bit by bit, the blocks he had erected to keep his feelings for Scott at bay, to protect himself from being hurt so deeply in another relationship, fell away, and he admitted to himself for the first time that he was in love with this man. “I felt so overwhelmed with emotion, that I just started to cry as he was in the restroom.”
Armando lowered his gaze to the table, and by the time Scott returned, he had regained his composure. They ate their meal accompanied by relaxed conversation. Scott made a few jokes, that made Armando laugh, and soon it was time to see the film, No Country for Old Men. The pair once again braved the bracing winter air, and piled in Armando’s car. On the way, during a lull in conversation, Scott watched as fleeting blobs of color from the passing storefronts diffused through the ice covering the passenger-side window. He jumped a bit as he felt Armando’s hand slide into his and grasp it tightly and tenderly.
“I was thinking to myself, ‘This is a goddamn date,’” Scott recalls. “I was like, ‘I am on a date.’ And then I started…I freaked out a little bit.”
“Yeah, holding my hand back,” Armando responds with a smirk.