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  • Eleven years ago my partner and I left Columbus for my hometown of Zanesville. We didn't expect it to be an easy transition. Columbus is pretty much known as the San Francisco of the midwest. Even though it is the capital of an historically "red" state, Columbus has a thriving, open and accepted gay community.
    Zanesville, though it was once the capital of the state, is much smaller. I did not give my hometown enough credit. If you're gay and want a quiet life, come to Zanesville. We have never had any trouble and are accepted by our neighbors and church family as just another couple. It's nice to be normal.
    We left Columbus because my father had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. There had been a few episodes which pointed his doctor to that diagnosis. We came home to be on hand to help my mother. She was determined dad would not go to a nursing home. So when dad decided he had to work on the bathroom plumbing and forgot to turn off the water first, we were there to help clean up the mess. When dad stripped all the phone jacks in his bedroom and removed the electrical outlet faceplates, I put mom at ease by locking away the tools.
    At the same time all this was happening I was also working to accept the pending death of my best friend. The funny thing about Ed was, even though he was dying he was more worried about how I would handle losing him and my father at basically the same time.
    He was a good person like that.
    Leaving him in Columbus to move back to Zanesville was not an easy thing to do. Ed made it a little easier by coming down to spend a few days with us every now and then. Jon and i wanted him to know that our house was his house, so we painted the guest room his favorite color. Ed loved every shade of blue, so that's what we gave him. The ceiling was a light Tiffany blue. The walls were a bakery-frosting blue and the trim was a dark slate blue. It was not a color scheme I would have picked for myself, but this was for Ed.
    Dad and Ed both died within a year of each other. No matter how much I disliked that blue room, I couldn't bring myself to paint over it. There's no mystery there, painting over it was the final act of letting Ed go and I simply haven't been ready.
    That changed today.
    Mom's house is on the market and we're hoping for a buyer soon. When she sells she's moving in with Jon and me. Our house was designed to be easily divided, and she'll have the end of the house with Ed's room. Today we sanded down the walls and trim. Jon has put down the first coat of white paint on the trim, and I've rolled the ceiling to a brilliant white. I'm not as sad as I thought I would be. It actually feels good to see the room moving on. We are literally and metaphorically getting rid of our blues.
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