It was the winter of 1982. I was living in Toronto with some friends in the Bain Co-op, nestled between Broadview and Logan, just south of the Danforth. I was working at a terrible job with the Ministry of Energy. My friend, Sue, and I were in Convocation Hall to see a presentation by Ralph Nader, who was famous at that time for his work as a consumer advocate. Sitting in the beautiful domed hall, waiting for the presentation to begin, Sue spotted her friend, Terry, across the Hall, with people that we both knew from Waterloo University.
After the presentation, we all headed up to Mother’s on Bloor Street for a beer. Twelve of us crowded around four tables that we pushed together. I sat at one end of the group catching up with Gary who I had worked with two summers before. Sue was at the other end, catching up with her friend, Terry, and his brother, Dan. When all the Waterloo folks got up to leave, there were only four of us left; Sue and Terry, Cam and me. I had never met Cam before and I had not really noticed him until everyone else left. The four of us headed out together walking east on an empty sidewalk on Bloor Street.
Sue and Terry walked ahead, deep in conversation, with their arms linked. Dan and I, who had never spoken before, linked arms, started to sing “Follow the yellow brick road”, and skipped our way along the sidewalk. We were parting ways at the subway station where they would drive north while we took the train east. When Dan and I turned towards each other to say, “Good Night”, a bolt of light flashed between us. I had never experienced anything like it before and nothing like it since.
Three months later, I called Dan to see if he wanted to go birdwatching at Point Pelee with a group of people from Waterloo University. That call started a relationships that has lasted 30 years. Dan and I have had our ups and downs. There have been children, victories, and joy. There have been losses, debts, and grief. There have been times when we have drifted apart. There were years when I thought of leaving. But there has always been a feeling that we were meant to be together. There has always been love. There has always been hope that we would find our way back home. There has always been that flash of light between us.