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On The Precipice, Wings Spread | With Megan Hilty

2017-02-01 | 🔗

Tony-nominee Megan Hilty of "Smash" and "Noises Off" reads an essay about a couple with a seemingly perfect relationship--until the other shoe drops.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Modern love. The podcast is supported by o from the New York Times and WB. You are Boston. This is modern love, the stories of love loss and redemption. I'm your host Megan. Everybody In the beginning of a relationship. We walk in blissfully ignorant with no knowledge of the skeletons that may lurk in a levers closet, but the true test comes when the doors fly open and those skeletons rattle out. This week's s eye by carry Sandberg takes us
into the closet and back out again Tony nominated actor. Megan Hildy reads us carries essay. You may recognize her voice from her work on Broadway production, such as wicked and noises off. Here's Megan Hildy reading carry Sandberg essay on the precipice wings spread on paper. who appeared to be the worst boyfriend possible. Forty one to my nineteen are recovering alcoholic and father to a spirited teenage daughter who lived nearby with his Ex wife I didn't realize any of that when we met in the summer of nineteen. Ninety two at the Westchester County Health Food store rose working while home from college. all I knew was that he looked like a young fit. Jeff bridges was a grand
which student in landscape architecture at Cornell and liked weird seaweed: crackers, butterflies, flapped. In my stomach every time he approached my register one morning he commented on the count Basie Album. I was on a store stereo, and we discovered our mutual love of big band music. The next afternoon he walked in and handed me a mix tape. At Friday we went on our first date overs if she, which I was too embarrassed to admit. I'd never had before I learned all his age, his daughter, his drinkin drug filled past
the only other alcoholic, I knew, was my father, a violent watery, I'd creature who'd never been sober for twelve consecutive days, let alone twelve years. This handsome man, sipping green tea, seem to belong to an entirely different species and, unlike my fragile bipolar, first boyfriend, he radio physical and mental house. After dinner, sitting behind the wheel of his ancient Volvo in the sushi bar parking lot, YO took a deep breath and turned to me. I he began assuming he was going to say something benign like I had next time. I cut to the chase and kissed him when he kissed me back, I felt weak knees and a flash of recognition. Yes, this is it. We spent the next few
means talking in restaurants and then making out in Theo's car. I liked the way it was progressing with a kind of passionate restraint. He seemed holding back because of my age. So all we did was talk and kiss night when I made a move to do more. He stopped me and finished the sentence that I had interrupted at the end of our first date. I need to tell you something he said I am HIV positive. While I sat beside him in stunned silence, he described testing positive for years earlier in nineteen eighty eight and how doctors had given him no chance of long term survival, but he was sure he'd been infected all the way back in nineteen eighty by a needle shared with a friend who had since died of AIDS,
If so, Theo had carried the virus for twelve years and according to recent blood work, his immune system still showed no signs of damage. nobody knew if it was due to his sobriety, is healthy diet, a genetic quirk or just dumb luck. Hey, they say act. If he told me if you don't have faith, if you do until you get it, so I've decided to act as if I have a future That's why I enrolled in graduate school planned a long term career and it seems to be working. You know he paused, but I felt too dizzy to answer. I never should have asked you out. He said his voice thick with emotion,
I'm sorry, I didn't tell you sooner. I meant to but I've been enjoying your company. So much that I I kept chickening out. I want, Thank you. If you never want to talk to me again again, he paused for me to respond, and this time I knew what to do. I put my arms round him and found his mouth in the dark and kissed him. I thought briefly about tears and saliva and and didn't care. I wasn't afraid.
And I wasn't angry I'd chickened out plenty of times too, but tonight wouldn't be one of them tonight. I had been asked to believe the unbelievable to make a leap of faith, and I did. Six weeks later I went back to school and Amherst Massachusetts fear returned a core now and together we discovered that phone sex was not on safe, but surprisingly fun. My friends thought I was crazy. My mother threatened to cut me out of her will if our relationship continued fear- and I talked about their reactions and everything else during marathon phone conversations that sometimes lasted until dawn after graduation, we
For a few years and at the Canoe York then spent several more on the road in a nineteen, seventy three window may go brave, who we tried to balance planning our future with enjoying the present, even though Theo appear. to fit into the lucky new long term Non Progressor category his HIV status taught us to savor each day because you never know how many you'll have we did our best to maintain that balance sexually to creating a repertory that was spontaneous without being reckless careful, but not fearful. according to a guy on the centers for Disease Control Hotline, our brand of lesbian inspired lovemaking posed a slight risk of transmission, but I also had a slight risk of dying from just about anything. What was I supposed to do? Never leave the house
None of this made any sense to my mother, who stayed up nights worrying and doing deep breathing exercises to calm herself. Can't you just find another. she asked in despair, any other guy, this The woman who had married my father, a man who looked on paper and turned into a monster after they wed and continued making her miss bull years after their divorce. Her experience has taught me that it's a risk to love anyone. Six years after we met theo- and I were married under abandoned, in key West. Then we sold the Winnebago and moved into a nice apartment in Chicago where Theo had a job with a prestigious landscape architecture. Firm we settled down, and
That, ironically, was nearly the end of us, not HIV, not our twenty two, your age difference were my mother's steadfast opposition, not the o's alcoholism or my scars from growing up with an alcoholic father not it's: their money or the difficult process of deciding we shouldn't have children, given all the complications know what near We undid us is that we became a normal couple, after so many years of continued good health, he I ve are ticking time bomb our reminder to live in love to the fullest receipt hid in our consciousness. Virus started sounding less like a ticking bomb and more like the old fashioned clock on our nightstand lulling, us to sleep like so many couples. We began to take each other for granted.
We drifted apart and Theo obsessed over his work. I spent how much time on line and we didn't fall out of love, but we did start to sleep, walk through our life snoring away and are comfortable rut. We woke up when Theo became sick. Maybe it was the stress of his high pressure job that weakened his immune system or or maybe the disease had just finally started to progress as we slumbered forgetting to monitor his blood. Whatever the case in the summer of two thousand and one Theo was in a hospital bed in Evanston Illinois dying from AIDS related pneumonia, keeping the
so let S bedside, I lost, waits, sprouted colds whores and wondered if I might be HIV positive too. I couldn't remember the last time I ve been tested, but as the old fever spiked so high that he murmured about sing angel. I didn't have time to worry about myself. My husband was dying. I had never been more exhausted yet more fully awake in my life. High doses of antibiotics fought off the pneumonia, and a cocktail of later restored him to half its been nine years since then I remain uninfected were back to our usual lives Some days, I don't even remember Theo is HIV positive until after dinner, when he swallows his handful of confetti colored pills, and even then I don't always stop to give thanks to the good people who developed these.
Ugh order remind myself to appreciate each day I have with the man I love. We ve been together a teen years now, and I am pretty sure that if we ve come this far we're gonna make it until death to US part whenever that, maybe we have supported each other through so much already heartbreaking death of Theo's daughter at thirty. Because of looking, yeah are sick parents and injured dogs and running a business together during an economic crisis and moving back to Westchester and sharing a house with my mother, who, God bless her, has finally accepted that Theo is a good man, not her worst nightmare.
What worries me most these days is complacency, because the rattle of pills of my husband shakes them into his palm each night, except pleasing sound, like the gentle tech of our nightstand clock. and I have to fight to stay awake I Megan Hilty. Reading Carrie Briggs essay on the precipice wings spread will catch up with Kerry. The break. I I love following my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together. By together I mean sitting
to each other of playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed. We may have happened again. You can. I have one friend. who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words. Then I always get nervous. I sent it to my parents or something me and my dad. We like this time you together and I wish out the it J, J, C K, P, o t it's a jackpot Yeah right nice,
I'm same as the sky, the digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at N Y Times dot com, slash games. This is modern love. I magnetar Cromarty back in two thousand and ten when this essay was published, Carrie Sandberg was excited, but also a bit worried about our. Theo as HIV positive. But in the end there was something even more serious to think about. I woke up one morning felt alarm at seven years old, I hadn't been getting mammograms yet so I went Right away had it checked out and was basically diagnosed the same day we had breast cancer and the aggressive tumors had already spread into her lymph nodes. I was so used to Being the person that was strong and other people relied on when they were going through medical crisis that I told Theo don't come with me, no big deal I'll go to the doctor, get checked out. If I,
You I'll call you, but I was on my way from the doctor's office downstairs to radiology to get the mammogram and Theo On his way up the stairs, he had left work to come and be with me just having the feeling that this was going to be bad, which it was. doctors immediately started. Carry on chemotherapy they needed to shrink. The tumors before doing surgery it was a whirlwind and I spent fad weekend that the peace came out basically on the couch, with a bucket hope. anti nausea. Meds would would see me through because I had just started chemo and I was completely uncertain as to what the future held for me. Kerry and Theo's relationship was about to experience a revolution of sorts, a complete role reversal. This time it was Theo coming with me
doctor's appointments and holding my hand through treatment and sleeping in the chair at my hospital bedside. While I had surgery- and it is very hard for him, but he wanted to do it because we have each other's back. That's what we do and it was hard for me to accept his help, but I did because that's what we do and he was amazing through it, and he and my mom kind of bond. in a way that they hadn't before it's been six years since Carey's diagnosis, she and Theo have moved to Rural Maine and their dream of living off. The land is now a reality. They run a small landscape business and enjoy fixing up their old New England Farmhouse, but Carrion Theo still go back to New York every four months for checkups, because it was a really aggressive strain and the chances of coming back.
are pretty good. Ironically Sea oats, healthier than I am right now. My immune system didn't really bounce back after chemo, so I'm still am, you know suppressed while he is perfect. Health takes his meds, really strong he's doing great, and one thing that's funny is that I had to have my ovaries removed as part of my treatment, so I was basically thrown into surgical menopause at thirty seven and aged twenty years overnight, hormonally physiologically so Theo, sixty five, Now I'm forty four and were kind of growing old together in this strange way, were kind of getting to experience some of these things together, which we never could have anticipated having the aged difference and we ve been together for twenty five years now. This summer will be the twenty Fiveth anniversary of our first date, and I never could imagine. We would have this much time together
carry Sandberg she and her husband. Theo live on the Maine Coast and run red twig landscape carry recently finished a memoir and has begun work on a novel after the break. Modern love, editor Daniel Jones plus Megan Hilty, on what she shares with Carrie Sandberg.
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Hu, I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words. Then I was get nervous. I sent it to my parents or some me and my dad- we like to play fun together and I wish Cutler out. I it J, a c k, p o t It's a jackpot. yeah right nice. I'm same is risky the digital positive for the New York Times. You can try, spelling bee and all our games at an why times. Dot com, Slash games, Daniel Jones is.
editor of modern love for the New York Times. I get so many stories of people who are looking for love and have this firm idea. You know sometimes sort of scarily from idea of what that person who that person is going to be and what kind of person they're going to fall in love with, and so often that's not who you fall in love with, and sometimes it's even the opposite of that person that you have in mind and in Cary story. This is very much just love when it just happens. She she meet somebody and they have a connection and everything fights against them. So I love how she goes into this with an open, heart and how this is love at its most vulnerable Dan Jones, editor of modern love for the New York Times. You can read
of his ruminations on love in his book love illuminated exploring life's most mystifying subject with the help of fifty thousand strangers thanks again to Megan Hilty for reading this week's essay. She says this piece really touched a nerve. What really struck me Honestly. Is the idea of being afraid of being a normal couple or complacency or falling into a rut. You know as someone who is married and has been married for several years now. I completely worry about the same things and I, I think that's a pretty universal feeling, and I think it was just her beautifully in a story. Megan Hilty is a tony nominated actor known for her role on the television series. Smash she's released three albums most recently a merry little Christmas. This past December should be on tour throughout two thousand and seventeen.
the next week on modern love at Selma, STAR, David, o, yellow. He shares a man's story of blindness and marriage, just think about the inevitable disconnection she smiles and unless I'm told to smile back, I don't. I can't gaze at her no look into her eyes. Modern love is a production of the New York Times and W B you are Boston, NPR station, its produced, directed and edited by Jessica Elbow John Karate and Emory Seaford said the idea for the modern love podcast was conceived by LISA Tobin, Iris Adler's, our executive producer
Daniel Jones is the editor of modern love for the New York Times advisor to the show music for the plug, just courtesy of a piano. I magnet everybody see you next week.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-17.