Ray Harrison

July 1997

It has been a quick month for me. I never thought that I would be rushing to get this column finished at the last minute.

David and I went on vacation to Austin, Texas this past month. It was my graduation present and since David lived over five yeas in Texas, he was excited to show me. I was a little nervous because we were going to be staying with his best friend and fiancee for the first few days while we were there.

His best friend, also named Dave met us at the airport. They had grown up in the same town, and are very close. After being introduced, we left the airport and went back to his place. I wasn't used to the humidity at all, and I was sweating like a pig even though it wasn't hot like Austin is known to get. Canada was never like this. I loved Austin instantly. The diversity, the green parks, and the gay pride. I could spot pride bumper stickers everywhere, I felt so good.

It was bit awkward with David's best friend at first. I could sense that he didn't know how to act around me. David had come out to him over a year ago, but this was a first time that he met David's partner. But after a few beers and listening to them talk about old times, and relax, we all were able to talk about the awkwardness in the air.

We spent the next few days seeing Austin, and enjoying the humidity. (at least I did). We bought our tickets for the big Meltdown party, which is a big weekend party for gays and lesbians that attracts people from all over.

We spent the second half of our vacation with our friends that we went to San Francisco with in November. We had originally met them over the Internet. They live in a beautiful area south of Austin. We made full use of the pool and hot tub. I felt like a child. So many new experiences. I saw fire-flies for the first time. Everyone thought it was funny to see me get excited over something they took for granted, and what struck me as cool.

OK, fast forward to Saturday night... It was the big circuit party. The main event of the weekend. We went to the Austin Music hall or something like that. There ended up to be about 1000 men at the party that night. The music was hypnotic. The men were outstanding. Everyone had their shirts off. David took his off so I followed. It felt so natural. It didn't bother me at all. Dancers danced on the stage, lights flashed in my face, and the music consumed me. I was hooked. During the middle of the night, there was a trapeze act. Two men hung from the ceiling and did acrobatics. It was so empowering. I felt so proud to be gay.

The next day, we rented a boat with some friends and went out on the lake to where all the action was going on. We parked the boat, and people swam on to our boat, and we socialized with different people. Maybe I am a little ignorant but I noticed an excessive use of drugs throughout this weekend event. I saw with my own eyes guys doing cocaine. Now, I'm not stupid, or it isn't like I have never seen drug use before, but why is it that it was so common? Why is it that this is a necessary thing to do for so many to have a good time? I am not here debating the use of it, I would just like to know why it has to be like this. For so many gay youth coming out into the scene, they are dealing with who they are, it is so easy to fall into the darker part of gay life.

We made some great friends in Austin, and they are all on the Internet as well so we keep in touch. David and I have also focused on moving to Austin in the near future. We both love the city.

We returned home, and started back to work the next day. I can't believe that we have been together for over a month now. It didn't take long to get used to living together. It feels so natural. We spent so many months apart I think we really value our relationship more than the average couple. Things are going better than I could have ever imagined.

You can email me anytime at raharris@cadvision.com

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