The Story: I heard about Vlassis long before I met him. Michael had known him for a few years before they started their transcontinental love affair. For months, we just called him The Greek. (In fact, I think Michael still does.)
I first met Vlassis one night when I was carousing in Boston with Michael and John. He had just flown in from London and showed up at 28 Degrees with his luggage and everything. I’m not sure whether it was he or I (or Michael) that organized it this way, but we ended up sitting next to each other at the bar, talking and getting to know each other.
That night Vlassi told me that Michael only had a photograph of one woman in his apartment and that photograph was of me. I took that to mean that he had noticed how special I am to Michael – and maybe he even knew how special Michael is to me – and I swooned right there and then. It might have been the super sexy accent, or the fact that he’s drop-dead gorgeous, but it was probably that he was tipping his hat to the place I truly hope to occupy in Michael’s life.
I’ve said before that Michael and I are soul mates. There are too many ways that we’re exactly the same. Michael is a brat; he is a tease; he is difficult to pin down but, when he falls in love, he is in love, and this is love.
Last winter Vlassis asked Michael to marry him over champagne in London and Michael said yes. Shortly thereafter, I saw him at one of my favorite bars in Boston, The Gaslight, and it didn’t take me but a minute or two to notice the Cartier band he was wearing on his right ring finger. He was going to play it all cool but I thwarted that plan with my eagle eye for stunning jewelry.
Until now, I’ve only told one person this but Michael and Vlassi were in NH not too long ago to celebrate Michael’s birthday. We had a little party at John’s house. (Let’s please spare our polite readers of the gory details of the end of the night.) Somewhere along the way we started talking about how Vlassi had to leave in a few weeks because his visa expired and they were figuring and plotting when and how he would come back.
While they plan to get married next summer in Greece ¬– and I plan to be there (Note to self: time to start dropping hints about being named Maid of Honor) – that doesn’t eliminate the visa issue since gay marriage is not recognized by the federal government and the federal government oversees immigration.
That night I told Michael and Vlassis that, if they were serious, and if it was really love, that I would marry Vlassis so they could be together. I’ve never said anything like that before and I’m not sure that there’s anyone else on the planet that I would do this for, but I meant it – and the offer still stands. It’s like donating a kidney – you know it has to be a special circumstance and someone truly deserving to even consider making such an offer.
The Drink: Vlassi is Greek; not just of Greek descent, but Greek from the Greek Isles, Greek. So I figured that a drink with Ouzo, the traditional Greek liqueur, would be appropriate. Hence, the Lady in the Ashes.