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                                       Same Love

 

Ken & Lyn

 

London, 1968

 

This year’s winter takes its toll on everybody.

 

18 year-old Ken had just left a cosy nest of his family home. Shortly after he had been absorbed by the London freedom fever. 

 

Just like every night, on this frosty evening, he was in search of a house party. He found one, invited by a friend. He wasn’t expecting anything special from this evening. Ken wasn’t feeling well on that day. He had spent it preparing himself to a several-month long, solitary journey through Europe that was about to start the following morning. 

He wanted to say goodbye to his friends and  come back to his warm bed for the last time to rest before the journey of his life. 

 

Around midnight, when he was going to leave, he saw him. 

Tall, handsome, dark-haired, a little bit shy 22 year-old was standing by the door and greeting his friends. 

 

Why hadn’t he met him before? Where were they hiding him during the last months? 

One glimpse was enough. Nothing else was necessary. They knew. 

They spent this night together seduced by passion, youth, freedom. The world was at their feet. Nothing mattered, they were there, absorbed by mutual fascination. They weren’t thinking about the morning. They were there. Suspended in the space and time. In distant reality. 

Still, the time was passing by, without any exceptions, without heeding anything or anyone. They didn’t want to separate. The unavoidable morning came with the rising sun. Therefore came the moment of separation. They said goodbye. Ken shouldered his backpack and set off on a journey without looking back. 

 

A month without any trace of that daring boy was hard to stand for Lyn. He tried everything to find the mysterious stranger. He couldn’t believe that he was gone. One day he understood that it was supposed to be this way and abandoned further search. 

It was March, a beautiful wintry morning heralding the coming of spring. As every other morning, Lyn was drinking his favourite cappuccino while reading newspaper. He was in high spirits. That day was his first day at new workplace. Ready to conquer the London world of corporations, he was opening the door, ready to go. 

 

Touching the handle, he heard the first sounds of a ringing phone. He was going to leave without answering, but his intuition was prompting him that the great world can wait for him few moments more. 

 

He came back to kitchen. He picked up the phone. 

 

He heard that almost forgotten voice. Pure, still immature, but not squeaky anymore. He sat down. He couldn’t believe that this moment came. 

 

They spent that evening together. They dined in one of the best restaurants in London. Eating the whole Lyn’s rent for April didn’t matter. 

 

And again, nothing was important. Completely nothing. The whole world vanished. They have found each other and it was the only thing that mattered. 

After a few hour dinner, they were asked to leave. They were laughing so hard that they scared more than one restaurant’s client. This situation seemed to them a perfect crowning of that evening that they didn’t want to end it with a separation. 

 

So they went to Lyn. He lived in a beautiful, old apartment house. 

The flat was cosy, no longer student like, but not yet marked by a mature man experiences. Still hadn’t seen much, hadn’t lived much. Everything was still in front of it. 

This time, the night they spent together was full of romanticism, warmth, indescribable understanding. It was filled with the sense of community and unity. 

However, the night hasn’t finished the next morning. It lasts till now.

 

Sitges, 2013. 46 years later. 

 

Ken and Lyn – two men in love. 

As every year they spend July in Sitges – their second home. 

They are free, not shy to show their happiness. 

Men of mature age, proud of their life choices. Proud that they never had to walk alone. They could always count on company of one another. They are walking side by side for almost half a century now, going together through the best and the worst moments of their lives. 

They are not boys anymore, not almost mature adolescents, but flesh and blood men that can’t be surprised. Strong. With a backpack full of experiences. Humble. Happy. Fulfilled.

Recently married. 

 

Together they create harmony. They complement each other. 

Still handsome, stately, although grey-haired Ken and warm, hearty, lovely Lyn. 

68 year-old and 63 year-old, with still noticeable spark of boys that they used to be, on one frosty night ’68 on a party at their common friend’s. The first night of the rest of their lives. 

 

Brandon & Juan

 

Barcelona, 1981

 

February. An ordinary, Spanish winter.

 

Brandon, a freshman in the world of business, set off in the morning on a duty trip to Barcelona.

He was enjoying it, he had always loved to travel. 

That’s why, among others, he had decided to set up a company dealing with export of whisky. He knew he was going to live out of a suitcase.

Last months were for him a time to get to know new and completely unknown world. They were related to a thorough revaluation of his life. 

 

A year ago, in Rotterdam, he entered one of the sex shops by curiosity. 

While entering this temple of lust he was still a heterosexual man, successful with many women. 

He left the shop shocked/in shock. He was gay. 

Already in his schooldays, when he used to play in his rugby team, he noticed that he was paying attention to his mates’ bodies. Despite that fact, he had never expected that a sight of men could be exciting for him in a definitely sexual way.

He was a self-confident boy, always surrounded by girls. He liked women, he adored making love to them. 

 

He wasn’t expecting that it was only a substitute of pleasure for him.

He learned about it only at the age of 26, when for the first time, after a visit to the Rotterdam sex shop, he decided to try to experience the pleasure with another man.

The acceptance of a new reality, a new self, was definitely the most difficult task in the whole life for him.

 

Hadn’t he laugh, along with his colleagues, at those effeminate fags? He himself had insulted more that one gay. He simply couldn’t be one of them!

He tried to prove to himself that nothing had changed. He still could have sex with women. Not one, but dozens!

 

Over the next few months after coming back from Rotterdam he led a promiscuous life, proving himself that this one night spent in bed with a man was just an experiment.

An ordinary experiment, completely understandable in the period of adolescence, of learning about your body and opening up to your own sexuality.

On February 19, standing at the London airport and waiting for the Barcelona plane, he still couldn’t accept the event from almost a year ago that had changed his perception of the world. Of his world.

 

Barcelona captivated him by its beauty. 

On the second day of his stay in this wonderful city he met a charming, funny, fiendishly intelligent student of architecture. In the evening, Brandon was sitting in one of the bars near the hotel where he stopped. He was alone. At a certain moment Juan approached him. He asked for a lighter. They began to talk.

 

The conversation lasted until morning.

They spent together the following days walking around Barcelona. Juan told Brandon everything he had learned about his town. He showed him the city unknown to tourists.

Every day they were getting to know each other better. They were becoming close. Friendship, the foundation of their future relationship, was slowly being formed between them. On the last day of Brandon’s stay in Barcelona, they went to the most exclusive restaurant. They had a great time laughing endlessly. They didn’t say goodbye after the dinner. The meal finished, without a word of explanation, they headed to Brandon’s hotel. Any unnecessary conversations were useless. The desire they were both feeling, meeting every day, has finally found its outlet. 

It was the most beautiful night, for both Brandon and Juan.

Juan, accepting from the start his sexual orientation, could not believe how lucky he was, one night when he was searching for a lighter. He found it in the hands of a man with whom, as it turned out later, he wanted to spend the rest of his life.

The distance that separated them had no relevance. 

From the first letter they wrote to each other, from the first confession of love that took place a week after leaving the airport of Barcelona, they wrote to each other hundreds, or perhaps thousands of similar confessions and letters.

They met after a very long three months.

They knew that they were meant to be.

After a year they started living together in London, then moved their shared home to Brighton. Then they moved to Sitges, where the story continues today.

They opened a bar in the building where their first flat was.

 

Sitges, 2013

 

Every gay man coming to Sitges should visit Casablanca in the first place.

The bar of Juan and Brandon.

 

Everyone there feels at home. Special guests can spend their time in the private library of Juan, located on the top floor of the building. At night, you can also listen to perverse short stories by Juan.

 

After 32 years, Brandon and Juan still form a partner relationship based on friendship. Each decision is made together. They are support and help for each other. They march through life, still remembering that ordinary, Spanish winter 1981.

 

Jeroun & Rudy 

 

Amsterdam, 1995

 

This year the summer came unusually early. Most of the terraces were taken out already in May. The sun was shining with its brightest rays. 

The atmosphere was favouring social meetings, love affairs, freedom and living life to the fullest. 

Despite the beautiful weather, for 24 year-old engineer, Jerome, May 1995 was a time filled with sorrow and frustration. 

 

Dissatisfied, distressed, trapped in a relationship that for a long time hadn’t reminded a relation of two people in love that they had eyes only for themselves. 

Even though his mind was indicating to burn bridges, to move on and to create still unknown, new future, determined Jeroun was trying to fight for his happiness. Everyday he was waiting for Him to come back from work, tired after hours of supervising a flourishing bar. They were talking little lately. Long gone were the days when they used to laugh all day just like in the good old times. 

How much time had passed since they last spent a whole day in bed? How much time had passed from those lie-seasoned calls to bosses or superiors to explain their absence at work with some illness? 

 

No wonder that on a warm, festival night an unknown cowboy with a teardrop drawn in the corner of his eye caught his attention. 

Rudy – handsome, slim, well built 27 year-old with a great heart. 

With positive attitude towards the world and, who used to live it to its fullest. Living for the moment and enjoying even the shortest and the most fleeting ones on his way. 

He left home in high spirits as always, craving to see what would surprise him on that evening and what would make him smile. 

 

He was going to a party where it was improper to appear without a disguise. He was going to show up in a pink rabbit disguise, but at the very last moment he changed it for a cowboy one. 

There had been an earthquake for a split second. Until now it is hard to tell if it was provoked by weather anomalies of the mid nineties in Holland or it was felt only by two people who came to 1 thousand club on that night and had their lives changed. 

Jeroun sneaked into the bathroom. He didn’t have to wait long. Rudy was also there in a while, behind the bathroom door. 

A kiss. Passionate. Stolen. Greedy. Too short. 

Words were useless. From the moment they looked into their eyes they knew. 

One look created something that will last forever. Non-volatile. Eternal. 

Jeroun’s friends, worried about his disappearing, found him and took him out to continue the club night. While leaving he managed to shout out to the unknown cowboy that he would be at EAT on next Friday, one of the best-known gay clubs of Amsterdam.

During the next five days Jerome was only thinking about the secret kiss and upcoming meeting with the stranger. Excited, he stopped noticing the presence of his man. He wasn’t waiting anymore. He was busy thinking about the new and the unknown. 

Friday.

That Friday he craved for so long finally came. Eleven o’clock was coming. 

Anxious Jeroun was walking around the flat nervously and was counting minutes to leave. 

His straight friend was fronting him, he was supposed to go to EAT with him. Little after 11p.m. he appeared alone in the appointed place and passed quickly through the club to see if the cowboy had already came. When Jeroun stated that he hadn’t been there yet, he sat down on the sofa right by the entrance, to have an eye on everybody who came. 

After an hour, surprised and very worried, he saw his boyfriend and his brother entering the club. He couldn’t believe that. He was so close to his happiness that was now, in one moment, moving away relentlessly. 

 

He invented an excuse on the spot. He made it! He got rid of them! They disappeared.

There he was again, stuck on the sofa. Waiting. 

At 2 o’clock, discouraged, he started to doubt if the anticipated meeting was going to occur. Slowly, he began to get ready to leave. Unhurriedly. Slowly. With concealed hope. 

He saw him with the corner of his eye.

Even more handsome and appealing. 

 

They approached each other saluting with a kiss on the lips. They started talking. 

Engrossed in the conversation, they didn’t notice that the dawn had already broken. Hours were passing. All the other guests had already left. They were alone. They left as the last. They said goodbye. This time they were both sure that they were to see each other the very same day. Their affair lasted one week. Every day when Jeroun was left alone and his partner went out to work, he was running to see Rudy as quickly as possible and coming back before 2, to be there before the usual homecoming hour of his boyfriend.

 

Overworked, constantly tired boyfriend, who shouldn’t had been called by this name for a long time, didn’t notice anything. He didn’t find out that Jeroun’s heart belonged already to somebody else. 

 

Rudy, tired of hiding his love for that cheerful, wonderful, young man from the world, gave him an ultimatum. 

Jeroun had to decide. 

On the day when he heard about the choice he had to make, he learned about the birth of his nephew.

On that happy day a thought came. Celebrating at his sister’s house, he suddenly got up and pronounced the words: “There’s a new member in our family, so one must go away”. Nobody knew what Jeroun was trying to say. 

Puzzled family was only watching the boy collecting his things hastily and running out of the house without explaining anything. 

The next day everybody knew about the breakup. 

After coming back home, resolute Jeroun said goodbye to a man with whom he had spent last 3,5 years. He didn’t feel any pain, sorrow or bleeding heart that often follows moments of separation. 

He felt a great relief instead. He was happy. Free.

He had never regretted the decision he made in May 1995. 

He has been moving towards the happiness with Rudy for 17 years. They are going hand in hand, from time to time by the arm. Always together.

 

Sitges, 2013

 

Jeroun and Rudy. Rudy and Jeroun.

They are well known for their love for fun. They leave clubs last. Their passion for the best evening clothes continues. 

On the last party you could get to know two handsome, Dutch girlies in clogs. 

They have been one for 17 years.

Proud. Happy. Free. Always faithful to each other. 

They celebrate life every day, always making the most of every moment spent together. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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