Montreal was one of our favorite cities. I didn’t travel there often before I met Annie and because of that I knew little of the city. That all changed with Annie.
Annie loved Montreal and convinced me to travel there more often so we could meet and she could show me all the great things about the city. It only took a few trips for me to realize how much I had been missing and how this particular city was so well suited to who we are and our dreams together for the future.
As I write this, you have to remember that all of this transpired a long time ago. Annie was never welcome in the U.S. during that time. The fact that she had a successful corporate career was a testament to her drive and the fact that she found herself in a company that refused to allow discrimination within its ranks. Even by today’s standards, many companies pay lip service to non-discrimination but turn an eye away from actual instances of it.
I became an expert at watching for “the look.” The more often I saw someone looking at Annie with disdain and hostility, the more dismayed I became for her safety. The reality of the situation was that since I was accompanying her, those feelings were projected onto myself as well.
We shared our feelings over this many times and we worked hard to find a place where we could live and have a future together in a welcoming environment. In the end, Montreal became the obvious choice. Even though it was only a short plane ride away, it was like traveling to another world where your gender or color of your skin held no sway over living an every day life in peace and happiness. The U.S. held no such hope for us. Even today, while I still live in the U.S., I would prefer to live somewhere else that is more inclusive and welcoming to everyone.
Without Annie however, there is little motivation for me to leave. Without Annie, life has become something like living on a treadmill. The day-to-day is repetitive, all the while my memories of her surround everything I see and do.
Her picture in my phone and her iPod, which frequently finds itself in my pocket, represent the shattered life that remains from the love that we shared for each other.