"Do not go where the path may lead," Ralph Waldo Emerson said. "Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
The first time I reached the end of the Santa Monica Pier, I stared out into the Pacific Ocean and started crying.
A few days earlier, Steven and I had arrived at LAX and waited to be picked up by Kelly and her husband, John, who'd moved out to L.A. the year before. It wasn't our first flight together. In our nine years of dating, we'd flown to New Mexico once and Florida to see my parents a few times and Laughlin, Nevada, one time, for Kelly and John's wedding. But for the most part, our idea of an exciting trip was the Jersey shore.
Steven had become close friends with both Kelly and John by then—when I threw him a surprise party to celebrate his degree in graphic design in 2007, they were the only guests. And he was just fine with that.