Once I escaped from the claws that were Center City Philadelphia in 1986 - I spent the next seven years living in a self-imposed exile from the scene, tucked away in the Northeast section of the city ... a neighborhood designed for the automobile, which (to this day) I've never learned how to drive.
So I spent much of the time locked away in my little world - traveling to and from work via public transit. I made new friends via, what else - an ad in the Philadelphia Gay News. That, along with the free local acccess lines to the developing 976 networks, gave me a pipeline that kept me from having to step back into downtown Philly.
In spring of 1992, I met someone that allowed me to stop and take a breath from this whole experience ... Tim. Tim was about 10 years younger than I, and we connected on such a pure spiritual level that allowed me the chance to reflect. Seems I had been running non-stop for the past five years and Tim forced me to stop and appreciate what I still had, simply by appreciating me.
We started as friends and then began to date -- fact was, as much as we cared for each other, we were both battling various demons and that, along with life, got in the way of our relationship. We pulled apart once I moved back into center city Philly, but then after a period of cooling off, we revisited our friendship - which really was the root of our happiness. Tim moved south several years ago, and just recently we've reconnected and picked up our friendship where it left off... truly the sign of a pure friend :)