Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012 9:32:41 PM
He flew from Boston and I from New York for a clandestine vacation in Florida in the spring of 1985. I felt excited about a romantic getaway with Gary whom I had started dating a few months earlier. “What started out as friendship has grown stronger…” My suitcase contained sexy lingerie, perfume, a new pair of sunglasses and suntan lotion. I felt nervous because Gary was an employee and I had vowed not to date anyone at work. However, I couldn’t ignore my feelings for him. “I tell myself that I can’t hold out forever…” Gary was full of life, smart, unpretentious and, best of all, he made me laugh.
We sunbathed on lounge chairs all week long, soaking in the salt air and warm, ocean breezes. After our first day in the sun, the left side of my face and the right side of his face were burnt from looking at each other in conversation for hours on end. With our coloring lopsided, we switched sides the next day. We massaged coconut suntan lotion on our bodies and kept talking and laughing, as our books lay on the sand unread. We reveled in the S’s required for a relaxing vacation: sunbathing, swimming, sex, sleeping, sightseeing. “I’m getting closer than I ever thought I might…”
As we cruised over the Clearwater Memorial Causeway Bridge on the way back to the airport that spring morning, REO Speedwagon came on the radio. “Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” had topped the charts for weeks and we instantly looked at each other when we heard the song’s familiar introductory notes. The band belted out the tune as if they knew how Gary and I felt. We shouted more than sang those perfect song lyrics to each other. I couldn’t stop smiling because seated next to me, crooning beautifully off-key, was the love of my life. The image of us cruising over calm, blue waters under a cloudless sky with the sun shining down on us and the wind on our faces is one I’ll never forget. That morning—that specific scene of song and love—ranks as possibly the most carefree moment of my life.
After that weekend, Gary and I knew we crossed a significant milestone in our relationship and were meant to be together. We no longer hid our relationship at work. “It’s time to bring this ship into the shore and throw away the oars forever.”
Twenty-three years later, we’ll stop what we’re doing and dance arm-in-arm in the kitchen whenever we hear “Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” while our daughters roll their eyes.