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Long, long ago
In a land far, far away...

Qué romantico, ¿verdad?

Well, it was a long time ago. I was 21 years old, and now I'm older than 21. The land was, indeed, far away. According to Google maps it is 2,255.5 miles from Austin, TX to San Ramón, Alajuela, Costa Rica. They even give you driving directions if you're interested.

It's raining, I've just left work and now I'm sitting in corporate coffee shop waiting for Nameless to get finished with his haircut so we can go to dinner. I woke up this morning with a strange feeling of contentment. I'm not sure what I did to deserve that, but I'll take it. Now I feel like I'm just kind of drifting along on the edge of a dream, drinking a pumpkin spice latte and enjoying the cooler weather that this week has brought. And I'm enjoying the rain.

So... long, long ago in a land far, far away I was visiting my brother, whom I barely knew, and he was taking me around the beautiful countryside of Costa Rica where he lived. He had a whole circle of friends that we visited at different times. We visited waterfalls and parks and friends and we ate wonderful Costa Rican food and drank Costa Rican coffee, which is just a different beverage than anything I've had before or since.

A few things about that trip are worth mentioning. I was young. And stupid. Costa Rica is a rain forest, which means it rains a lot. Rainy season hadn't officially begun, so it rained slightly less than half the time as opposed to the constant rain for weeks on end that my brother told me about. I love rain, I always have. I had discovered international music (Spanish) and Juan Luis Guerra was all the rage with his Bachata Rosa album. My brother didn't have a car, so we walked and rode buses a lot. I was 22 years old and very naïve with regards to sex and love, and I was gay and somewhat lonely in general. And I had a 32-inch waist.

I met a man named Gustavo. (What the heck; I'll use his name. How many Gustavo’s are there in Costa Rica?) I barely spoke Spanish at the time (which, from what I gathered from my brother, might have actually helped the situation) and we were sitting on a patio of a club in San Jose having drinks and eats. I was doing my best to talk to Gustavo, but I had learned my Spanish from Mexicans and the Costa Rican accent is very different. We talked about music and stuff and nonsense. I do remember mentioning that I had always wanted to be kissed in the rain. I don't know that he took me entirely seriously. I was young, I was naïve and a little silly. But, I was giddy and happy, and free.

Gustavo had dark hair and dark eyes and beautiful full lips and I left him in San Jose when I returned with my brother to the mountain town of San Ramón. But, he came to visit me, he rode a bus and we walked to the station to pick him up. We all hung around the house and played card games, listened to music, ate and lounged, talking during the afternoon rain. (You could set your watch by the afternoon showers.) Later, it cleared up and Gustavo and I sneaked out for some pretext that I don't remember. As we walked through the streets of San Ramón amidst the smell of the food and earth, it began to rain again. I could tell that he was a little wary of making a spectacle, but he put his arms around me in the light rain and he looked me in the eyes, and gently he put his lips on mine, and he kissed me in the rain.