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Accomplishment, Love, and Pride.

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It was his first out pride, the first time he ever felt safe enough in himself to go out and not care who saw him or what their reactions to him were going to be. He was gay and proud and he was going to celebrate it with pride.

He had some face paint on, sparkles by his eyes in a rainbow pattern and a beautiful shade of pink lipstick. He felt free, walking the streets with other queer people holding flags and singing along to empowering songs. It was something every queer person should experience, being free and open and okay with themselves even if it’s just one time in their lives. It felt amazing.

The best part, however, was Phil holding his hand as they marched. They had matching rainbow shirts that Phil got for them when Dan had said he wanted to go that year. His was black with the flag in the middle, Phil’s was white. Matching but still their own people, the way they always would be.

People respected them more than they thought they would, they didn’t ask for selfies, or if they did they respected the fact that Dan and Phil didn’t want to. It was incredibly freeing to just be out and be them in a place where they always wanted to belong. They were so proud of who they were as individuals and who they were together.

They finished the parade and made their way away from the crowd, towards a spot that they both knew they needed to return to. The spot where it all started. The spot where they became more than friends and the spot where Dan felt true love for the first time. It was a spot where he took a deep breath and was finally able to exhale for the first time in his entire life.

The fountain in which they sat during the Halloween gathering 2009.

They got a few slices of pizza just like they did back then and they sat on the edge, looking out at all the people being happy and free in the park celebrating the part in themselves that made them special. Dan was so happy he felt like his heart could burst.

“It’s almost been ten years,” Phil said.

Dan smiled even harder. “You know,” he said, “soon I will have been happy and with you longer than I was ever sad. And that is crazy to think about.”

Phil put his hand on Dan’s knee and squeezed it a bit. “I love you Dan. and I’m so fucking proud of you.”

He couldn’t wipe the smile off his face. “You said a bad word in public.” he joked.

“Yeah, but that's how you know just how fucking proud I am,” Phil said it again.

“I love you too Phil, thank you.”

“No.” Phil said, “thank you. You always thank me for loving you and helping you but it was mutual. With you I finally had a purpose and something to work for, I always wanted to better myself and support you and with you, I became the man I always wanted to be. Thank you.

Dan tried not to cry there in the middle of the park. “Let’s go home.” he finally said.

“Lets.”

Phil took his hand once again, and the two of them walked down the street. It was lined with pride flags and rainbow died rice that people threw from their windows in the parade. The sun was setting and they were happy. Their day had come, it was bigger and better than anything they could have imagined.

Dan felt a lot of feelings on that walk.

Accomplishment. Not only for coming out finally but for everything else he’s done on his journey.

Love. not only for Phil but finally for himself.

And Pride.

So much fucking Pride.