Bad flow is just something I have been able to read since puberty (my mom would say since I was born). It’s in alignment with my superpower. I remember praying in college for definitive proof that homosexuality was God’s creation and therefore not something that the “holy than thou” hypocrites can judge and persecute. Yes, my prayers have always been specific and complex. Remember this was a time before gay marriage was legal and Macklemore hadn’t even thought of the “Same Love” classic yet. The powers that be brought me Jared!
Jared stood behind me in the airport line as we were about to board to study abroad in London. Evidently, I turned around and said “Hi, I’m Rick” and we were friends ever since. No one in college or studying abroad with us ever knew he was gay. He knew he was, of course, but wasn’t comfortable coming out yet. Fast forward a few months and we were sufficiently inebriated one night in Athens, Greece. Our friendship was quite evolved by then and we’re talking about everything. I asked him how long he had known he was gay and he said, since the second grade. Definitive proof acquired - thank you, God. Jared was a dream for a friend when I was going through the most emotionally difficult time of my life. I had recently just had to watch someone I love die. It wasn’t an enjoyable experience but your suffering certainly makes you stronger. We threw caution to the wind and where we went, the party followed (themes are created when you don’t even know they’re happening). It literally followed - sometimes 40 plus on our tails from adventure to bar to the streets. Twenty years old and lost in the streets of London in a time when cell phones don’t even exist. Can you imagine? I have stories from this time of my life that I can’t even believe are real and yet they are. I’ve learned that if you let go (letting go being the most provocative advice to those on the spiritual journey), you certain will fly in ways you couldn’t imagine from the moments before when you were holding on so tight.
Jared and Zak epitomize the idea of perfect balance in the universe. All great relationships find balance. Balance is the way the world breathes and I imagine the way the gods express their love for us. They didn’t care about photos at their wedding. They wanted them but what they really wanted was to enjoy the experience. They had all their friends come to a venue less than a mile from their home in Chicago and the after bar was their own local bar down the street. Jenny and I shot this wedding and I DJ’d it as well. It was a theme of 2018. We basically just took care of our clients from beginning to end. I will admit, this is the only way to guarantee great Flow. They had glass blown special for their day. It was hot! Jared sang Walking in Memphis to a crowd singing right along with him. Zak had multiple dance offs to the likes of Britney and Robyn. Zak is the dancer in the family. Jenny and I still have dance off battles to see who will win the dancing championship between us.
They jumped on a pedicab at the end! All the guests cheering them off to the after bar that followed. I’m DJing still from the UE Boom speaker in my pocket. The party goes with the music. I tossed them the speaker and paired them up. They took off into the streetlights, music in hand. I stood in the middle of the street and breathed it in. There they go! Happiness! Jenny ran down the street to capture one more shot. After midnight, we still can’t be stopped.
I wrote for the St. Thomas newspaper in college. My final article was titled, “He shouldn’t have to fear.” It was about about a popular kid in college, who many knew by name, but didn’t really know. It discussed the climate of sexuality and acceptance. It cited an unknown character (which took a lot of convincing as the paper had never had an unnamed source before). He was gay, but never felt comfortable coming out to the UST community. It was the final weeks of college and people I’d never talked to kept coming up to me thanking me for that article. At the time, I’m positive I wasn’t even fully aware of the reason for this impact. I get it now.
The road to Zak and Jared is much more than a story of love and a wedding. It’s a story of self discovery. It’s a story of challenge, road blocks and difficulties that most will never understand. It’s a story of being who you are, risking everything, being kicked out of your own family, not being loved, not being accepted and saying f$&k that! It’s a story about letting your light shine so bright that love finds you exactly where you are.