I had already done my Christmas shopping for him. While we had already professed our love for one another, it was still a new relationship and I wasn’t exactly sure what to get him as I was really just getting to know him. I chose a pair of red silk boxer shorts, which was really a selfish gift on my part. I couldn’t wait to see how he would fill them out. Billy had the legs and butt of a soccer player. I also got him a Stevie Nicks CD, a t-shirt, some socks and underwear (this would become a yearly tradition) and four cards – all with poems.
We were still at the point in our relationship where my stomach got tied up every time I was about to see him. Knotted with excitement. I went up to the gate and left it unlocked so he didn’t have to yell down to the boat for me to come and get him. I was lying on the couch watching TV. I heard him board the boat from the rear, got up and saw him coming down the few stairs into the master bedroom.
He had a small tree, a big bag of ornaments and tinsel and lights, and a huge Christmas basket. We kissed big time and went up to the living room. He was so excited about decorating that we put off opening presents until everything was up. He transformed the boat into a “winter wonderland.” That’s what he said. “Look! It’s a winter wonderland!” We turned off all of the lights except for the Christmas ones and the warm glow surrounded us as we laid one the couch, and kissed and talked.
He opened his presents first. He wanted it that way. He seemed happy about the gifts and saved the boxers modeling for later. It was my turn to open my “Christmas basket.” Again, his words. The basket was beautiful. It looked professionally made. I tore open the red and green cellophane that it was wrapped in and out poured all these wind-up toys and a CD and a shirt and underwear and socks. If nothing else, we were both practical when it came it underwear and socks. He also drew three cards for me, each containing a poem. The CD was “MTV Never Mind The Mainstream #2.” It had some of my favorite songs (“Orange Crush,” “This Is Not A Love Song,” by PIL, “Eardrum Buzz” by Wire and “We Care A Lot” by Faith No More).
While the TV image was still playing, I put in the CD and we just kept talking. “We Care A Lot” was one of the last songs on the CD. The moment it started, he got up and started to dance. I’ve tried before but it’s hard to describe Billy’s dance style. It was fun, masculine and unique. Music took control of his body and with his military training, he knew exactly where each part of his body was going at any given point. I’m still not adequately describing his style. All I know is when he danced at a club, by the end of the night, there were many guys trying his moves. .
I was sitting on the top stair of the steps that led down to the living room and he danced up toward me then back. It was almost a military march move. Each time, he had this sly look and smile on his face. It was a good and sexy smile. He also would throw a punch in synch with the music that would land a half-inch from my face. That move was also a constant in our relationship whether he was dancing or not. He’d say, “Boom boom out go the lights” while making that almost-punch. He did that for nine plus years. He would do it for no reason, out of nowhere.
No one had ever put that much effort into a present for me. My ex, Russell with whom I remain best friends, is a kind and very generous man. His gifts were always elaborate and well chosen but his strong suit was not handicrafts or poem writing. What Billy showed me that night was how creative and committed he was to himself and his instincts.
The song ended, I stood up and kissed him. What he didn’t see is I was also crying from happiness. Not sobbing, just tearing up a little. I took his hand and led him into our bedroom.
The room we chose as ours was the middle bedroom. The master was at the rear of the boat and much bigger. The third bedroom was at the front of the boat and colder. The middle one was the smallest. It was a single bed that opened into a double bed. Once opened, the bed literally filled all of the space in that room. Solid bed. It was wood paneled on three sides and the ceiling. The fourth wall was a top to bottom mirror. That may have played a part in our choosing that room as well.
We closed the door and went for it. By the time we were done, the mirror was completely fogged up. With my toe, I drew a heart on the mirror. With his, he drew the words “My Guy.” We laughed, kissed and cuddled.
After that day, there was no turning back. Our journey had solidly begun and everything was possible in our world. Even at that very moment, I knew this would be one of the best Christmases I ever had.