By Patrick Duvall
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.
Of Posadas and the Birth of Tyrannical Rex
Overall their lives blended rather seamlessly. Armando’s family adored Scott, and eventually Scott’s friends began to accept Armando.
The holidays came, and they split Thanksgiving between Grand Rapids and Chicago, with a fevered drive in the middle. In December, Armando had trouble with his cousin, who ended up moving out. On the 25th, Scott moved in, and spent that night with Armando’s family at his first traditional Mexican Christmas. They had a huge meal and conducted their own version of a Posada, and exchanged hugs and kisses at midnight.
Posada is Spanish for “inn” or “shelter”. The family re-enacts the biblical story of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging on the night of Jesus’ birth. They divide into two groups, one representing Mary and Joseph and one for the inn keepers, and a two-part song is sung back and forth until the inn-keepers let them in. While the celebration was very different from what he was used to, Scott adjust easily to the loving atmosphere.
The following year passed quickly. With their relationship solidifying, they both hunkered down to get some work done. Scott continued taking preliminary nursing classes at one of Chicago’s city colleges, and Armando pursued his certificate at the University where he worked.
That fall, they learned of the tax credit for purchasing a house President Obama put in place to stimulate the real estate industry, and they began to seriously consider buying a home. Since marriage and even civil unions were still not legal in Illinois, Armando and Scott wanted to find some way to make their relationship official. Buying property together seemed like the biggest legal step they could take, so the search began.
It took a lost of fast talking on Scott’s part to even get Armando to consider moving out of Pilsen. In all of his 35 years of life at that point, he had never once lived outside of the neighborhood, and the prospect of leaving seemed daunting, to say the least. More and more they spent time on the north side, and, eventually, Armando acquiesced.
After months of saving and constant looking, they found a suitable condo in Scott’s old neighborhood of Edgewater. They closed in April of 2010, moved into their new home.
Almost immediately Armando caught decorating fever. With the money they saved from the tax credit, they redid their balcony and expanded their bathroom, and Armando began buying furniture and shelves and paint as quickly as he was able. Scott took a backseat to Armando’s design-related tirade. His décor decisions were so exacting that Scott and a mutual friend game him the nickname “Tyrannical Rex”, which he has yet to live down.
Living in a home that was both of theirs, one that they had invested in as a couple, changed the dynamic of their relationship and helped it grow. As they began entertaining and throwing dinner parties, they realized they’d made it to a whole new level of togetherness. The easy comfortableness that brought them together had evolved into a quiet trust and understanding that others took notice of, and they felt ready to accept, with open arms, the challenges and joys the next chapter of their life would bring.
CHECK BACK TOMORROW FOR THE FINAL INSTALLMENT OF ARMANDO & SCOTT’S STORY AS THEY EXPAND THEIR FAMILY AND MARCH FORWARD INTO THE FUTURE