They deserved it. After a troubled graduation, years of family struggle and a suicide attempt, Todd and Neil deserved a little peace. New York was always their dream destination and feeling like they were building up a life together there was like a prize for making each other strong enough to overcome so much.
Before they even found an apartment, Neil went looking for the small theater company he followed on Instagram and planned to enter since the end of high school. Until the production of "The Piano Lesson" he had already had made lifelong friends, like the little outgoing butterfly he is. Everyone loved his super cute and blushy boyfriend since day one. The first time Todd went to watch one of their rehearsals was, as he described in one of his poems, touching. “The stage lit itself up with that so-well-known flame/ Eyes bright with new coals of hope ”.
Though as much as Neil tried to forget, the ghost of what happened after his first play still haunted him, coming back in full force on freezing evenings, when the snow could be seen out of the window, like it did on that night. He used to wake up screaming, covered in sweat, feeling his heartbeat shake down his ribcage. "It's okay" Todd tried to comfort him with his softest, most serene voice. "I'm here now. You will never be all by yourself again, love. ” He hugged Neil as strong as he could and promised to never let go. Neil snuggled into his arms, letting his tears fall in the dark. He always woke up feeling better, the sunlight and Todd's aspect so close to his making him feel hoome.
Anderson stayed with writing. Neil always encouraged him, as he knew how much it was an important part of his life. Almost as important as himself, he used to say. Todd couldn't be seen without his notebook: a mess of sketches, to-do lists, and coffee stains from the Starbucks shop he worked at, to pay for half of his creative writing college. His parents payed the other half. Todd suspected that they didn't even remember what he applied for, and only sent the money as a self reassurance that they weren't that bad at parenting. The freedom of living in a progressive city had really helped Todd to build up his self-confidence, but he still had a long way to go until reaching his bold goal: becoming an English teacher, just as good as the one he had on high school. Keating still called him from time to time, to tell him the highlights of his retirement in London.
Sometimes, while Todd watched Neil get ready in the morning, or when he handed him his tea along with a passionate kiss. When he squeezed him in a hug, spread kisses across his face, repeated in whispers "I love you so much", as if it were their little secret, Todd wondered how something so extraordinary could be real.