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.
Syncing Lives, Moving in, and Winning
It took over a year of dating and waffling to finally get together officially, but once they did, Scott and Armando really didn’t hold back much at all.
After Valentine’s in 2008, they spent virtually all of their free time with one another. Armando restarted the tradition of picking him up after work on Friday and dropping him off there Monday morning. Scott also began attending mass with Armando every Sunday, and the met during the week when neither had class.
Shortly after they got back together, one of Armando’s sisters had a baby shower, and they attended one his family functions as an official couple for the first time. As far as immediate tests of couplehood go, baby showers are pretty up there, but, renewed by the past couple of weeks living in a perpetual lovers bubble, they felt up to it.
The shower took place in his sister’s apartment in Pilsen, the same location where they spent their first New Year’s together. Unlike some showers, Armando’s sister’s included both genders, so once again the place was filled with Armando’s family members. The expectant mother opened presents and they all had cake, of course, and the various couples competed in complicated baby-related games. The contest Armando & Scott threw in for involved both partners being blindfolded while one fed the other a jar of baby food. Whoever finished the fastest won.
With Armando’s entire family watching and cheering, Scott sat in a chair with his eyes covered by a bandana while an equally sightless Armando did his best to lovingly cram baby food into his mouth as quickly as possible. It took a lot of practice, with a whole bunch of poking and smearing at first, but eventually the pair found a good rhythm and won. The entire family cheered for them, and once the blindfolds were removed and Scott clean up a bit there were many hugs for both. It was a marvel for Scott, and Armando glowed with pride.
After things quieted down, Armando’s non-pregnant sister came up to Scott to let him know she was glad he was back. “I was on your team,” she said. “I was routing for you.”
During this time Scott’s roommate had moved out of their apartment in the Edgewater neighborhood on the far north side, leaving him alone in a two bedroom apartment with no way to pay the full rent. Living in Pilsen, whenever they hung out, Armando had to drive all the way from the south side to pick up Scott.
In April of that year, when Scott began seriously looking for a place to live, the tenant in the one-bedroom apartment below Armando moved out. Half-jokingly, Armando suggested he move in, and to both of their surprise, Scott took him up on it.
“Are you out of your mind?” Scott’s friends asked him loudly and often. They reminded him at length how, a few short months prior, his life was in a shambles, due in large part to Armando’s mixed signals. Making a commitment to essentially move in together was a huge risk while uprooting his life and going halfway across town to do so.
From the outside it seemed like a decision made from passion, but Armando and Scott made it work. Armando shared his place with his cousin who was rarely around. When they held parties, it was a multi-floor affair, and they alternated sleeping arrangements between the apartments. “I don’t think there was a single night where we slept alone,” Scott recalls. Living so close was definitely an adjustment, but they were happy, and for the most part they stayed happy.