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My name’s Troy Chatteron, I’m from Dayton, Ohio. And I moved to New York City to become a designer; a fashion designer. That was my dream and looking back, it was my dream and I didn’t become a fashion designer but instead I discovered a way of living I don’t think I would have ever discovered or found if I had stayed in Dayton, Ohio, or stayed where I was from.
I moved to New York and I was engaged and probably would have been married in a couple years but my girlfriend broke up with me. And about a year later is when I really came out and had my first boyfriend, and then we broke up and somehow my 30s just almost got away from me and I didn’t really have a significant relationship in my 30s. So I was 39 years old in the summer of 2008, and it was a summer night, like around this time, and I went out for a drink close by and met this guy and we really hit it off. And I’ll never forget, it was about a month that we had known one another and he asked me if I wanted to go to Hamlet, Shakespeare in the Park, and we did. It’s outside and we’re right in the middle of the crowd and all of a sudden he just reaches his hand and holds my hand, and I’ll never forget it because for me, it was…it was like my heart was going to explode. And it’s not like it was the first time I’d ever held a guy’s hand before, it was that combination of really kind of liking someone and it just being this kind of unusual moment. And right as it happened, this firefly kind of flew right between us and its light went on, and we both looked up and we both looked at one another, and then it whoooosh it left, but that firefly…I’ll be 100 and I’ll remember it because it kind of marked that moment.
I’ve often thought of this story because he and I never became real boyfriends. We’re close friends now. But it came after a real long time of thinking that I hadn’t fallen in love or I really hadn’t fallen for someone, and I really wondered at 39 if it was ever going to happen to me. And I know that’s kind of an irrational thought, but it didn’t feel irrational. It awakened something in me that…that I wasn’t even sure was still there.