How I Met Adam, Part 11

I woke up early the next morning, excited about what was to happen that day.  Adam was still sleeping deeply.  I don’t know how.  It was still cold as ice.  His naked ass was sticking out of the sleeping bag and I’d swear it had frost on it.  I covered him up with an extra blanket and as he thawed, he started to wake.  I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who wakes up smiling but he does.  For me, it’s a great way to start every day.  That’s another reason I don’t particularly like having to travel without him.

As the morning grew older, I talked him out of the tent and onto the trail.  Before we left I slipped away a moment and retrieved the rings from my backpack.  The hike we were about to take was only seven miles total so there was really no need to take anything but water…and the rings.  The morning was sunny-bright and cold but once we’d gone a mile or so, I didn’t even notice the chill.  I love the woods of Alabama.  The elements are so familiar to me and I could tell the seasons if by no other way than the way the leaves smell.  By December, the leaves that dropped in autumn smell musty and sharp as they become food for the next generation.  Pines are plentiful and when the sun hits their cold needles, it permeates the air with an aroma that seems to wake up every crevice of the mind.  Having Adam there with me was a complete joy.  You have to realize that of all the holy places I have visited around this planet, the woods of Alabama are my original temple.  The acres of thick trees behind our house when I was growing up were a solace and always provided a comfortable getaway from a sometimes-unfriendly world.  It was there that I learned to talk to God in my own way and when I would take off my clothes and run naked through the trails, I got to know my Cherokee ancestors.  It has always been true and I hope it will forever be that as soon as I am there, everything is well with my soul.  When I go to the next life, put my body in a simple cedar box, burn it and strew my ashes there.  I will be home.  To show this most important place to the man who makes my heart sing was an experience I had longed for since I was a little boy.  As we climbed the mountain that day, I wondered about other Two-Spirits who went before us who might have traversed that same wonderland.

The red trail at Oak Mountain reaches a high point and then goes along the top of the tree-covered mountain for about a quarter mile.  I knew that this was the place I wanted to ask Adam to marry me; but where along this section of the trail?  My heart was beating like a teenager’s.  What if he said no?  That was silly.  After all, hadn’t he said “I’m going to marry you” the night before?  But what if he said…oh hell, the waiting was killing me.  I wanted to be just the right spot though.  Then I saw it.  A small gathering of rocks, the largest shaped like a pyramid.  I knew about the power of the pyramid so I decided that this was the place. Adam had already jumped up on the rocks and was looking out through the trees at the view.  You can see for miles from there.  I just kept thinking, “This is the moment I’ve waited my whole life for.”   I was electrified.  I bent over and put my hands on my knees.  “You okay?” He said.  “I don’t know.  That was a pretty tough hike.”  (It wasn’t)  “You mind carrying something down for me?”  He looked at me funny because I wasn’t carrying anything but a bottle of water.  I jumped up on the rock by him and got down on one knee.  I took out the box of rings and said, “Would you marry me?”  His eyes turned into those little half-moons that they do when he smiles and he laughed.  “Of course I’ll marry you, Jeff” and we both started to cry.   We kissed for a long time and then we just started running through the woods, laughing and shouting to each other.  In those few short miles he said everything to me I had always wanted to hear from a man.  We must have planned our whole life together that day.  We talked about kids and careers and a log cabin by a lake.  We talked about our lives leading up to our coming together.  I was as excited as I’ve ever been!  When we got back to camp, I called my family on the cell phone to give them the good news.  I put Adam on the phone to them and they told him how happy they were for us.  Then Adam got this weird look on his face, “Oh no.”  I got this horrible sinking feeling?  “What?!”  “I’m supposed to fly to Utah tomorrow.  How can I keep this to myself?  Nobody in my family even knows I’m gay except my parents.  I want to tell everybody.  I wish you could come with me!”  “Do you want me to?”  I was really hoping he said yes.  “You’d do that?”  “Abso-fucking-lutely!”  So I called up Southwest Airlines and changed my flight.  Adam flew to Utah a day before me to have a private talk with his grandmothers.  The plan was to tell the whole family at once.  The Nelsons have this tradition of going to this really tacky Chinese restaurant on Christmas Eve.  There are about thirty gathered around one of those tables you sit on the floor.   Adam was afraid the shock would cause at least one grandmother to croak so we both thought it best if he went a day early and told them alone, one at a time.  I would fly in the next day, on Christmas Eve and he would pick me up at the airport on the way to the dinner.  I was nervous as a cat…but I knew Adam was too and I was prepared for a lifetime of not letting him have to face anything alone.  As far as I figured, this was just good practice.  So when the tires of that jet hit the runway in Salt Lake City, I just took a deep breath.  I was about to meet thirty new family members that I had never met and they were about to learn something new about their little Adam.  Oh boy.



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