Today it has been five years since we met for drinks at Mattison’s City Grille. You were impressed that I was drinking a Guinness at the bar when you arrived (I studied your facebook pictures beforehand and noticed your penchant for the dark Irish brew).
Today it has been 5 years since we crossed Main Street and were drawn into the pulse-pounding, smoky-aired, body-jammed Gator Club. You held my hand as we walked up the stairs and passed by the pool players to settle into two big armchairs and smile giddily at each other.
Today it has been five years since we walked around Bayfront Park at 2 a.m. and found a cozy bench overlooking the water. The dolphin fountain with its colored lights provided the movie-perfect backdrop for a romantic kiss. Or two, or three …
Today it has been almost 13 years since we met on the dance floor of the Hyatt Regency ballroom at Sarasota High School’s prom. We both arrived with other dates but left with each other to attend the afterparty, which was held at a motel across the street from The Quay (both buildings have since been torn down but we are still standing).
Today we have spent five years drinking at The Sports Page, Smoking Joe’s, and Badda Bing’s (in Gulf Gate, of course). Today we have spent five years eating take-out pad thai from Taste of Asia, take-out reubens (the best in Florida) from Ham Heaven and Devil Dogs and take-out deli sandwiches from Main Bar Sandwich Shop. Today we have spent five years watching movies at Hollywood 20, bowling at Sarasota Lanes and attending weddings at St. Martha’s Catholic Church (Father Fausto always says: “Now, smooch and go!”).
Today I can drive all around this town and think of it as Our Town. There’s the Ringling Bridge that we ran across in the pouring rain with our best friends Ila and Paul when we were all trying to get healthy together. There’s Laurel Park where we lived in our first house (The 'Katie Hale House,’ a historic structure that was constantly toured by tourists on Segways). Today we can visit my parents, your parents, my brother and your sister because somehow---after a brief stint in Los Angeles---we’ve ended up living a perfect small-town life in this perfect small-town city, and today I’d like to say that I love Sarasota almost as much as I love you.