a toast to ross.

I moved to New York for the stories.

As I packed my life into boxes, emptied my Indiana apartment, I explained it to my friends and family. Every time I’ve gone there, it’s been the same. You walk outside, follow your intuition, and a story sort of unravels at your feet.

It’s a decidedly bright-eyed sentiment, the kind of line sure to elicit a groan from a seasoned New Yorker, but it holds true. It keeps me here when things are hard. I get to call home a city that brims with possibility, meaning, unexplored corners.

Before I met Ross Morgan, I’d never encountered the same quality in a person.

We met through a gay kickball league. At a pre-game brunch on the East side, he shared a story from his college years I could not believe was true. Charmed, I stuck by his side as we walked toward the tram, and our conversation blossomed. “Don’t fall in love with me,” he shrugged a warning, “I’m probably not in the city for much longer.”

He wandered into my life and stories shimmied in right alongside him: The Halloween he tripped and fell in the street as Freddie Mercury in drag. The night we paused a horror film to discuss his snack of choice –– uncooked pasta. The COVID-19 pandemic, when he disguised me in medical scrubs so we could watch a show together in his hotel. The night we smoked weed on his fire escape because I’d lost my job. Get out of my face. Or that’s not the way people feel about me. Adventures in Pittsburgh and Miami and Muncie and Jax Beach. A drunken synopsis of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.

The stories proliferate; I have loved every page.

Ross departs New York City today, his apartment emptied into a moving van and his eyes fixed on a new horizon. HI and a hundred other people will miss him here, often, and we’re excited for him all the same.

There’s the funny thing about stories: We gather enough of them, and suddenly our lives become home. Move to a new town, start a new job, begin a new hobby, and there’s not much story to tell. Eventually, though, the pages stack up into chapters, and you’re at home among them.

Ross, I know you will be home wherever you go, because you have the magic of making them flourish around you. New York will always be home to you, because there are hundred Ross stories in every corner. It’s why so many people call you friend; they’ve found a home in you.

And I know I will always have a home in you, because I have loved you, we have loved each other, and there’s a stack of stories to prove it.

You are the shot of tequila and the cup of coffee the morning after.

To you, my sweet, cacophonous friend.


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