Saturday, June 1, 2013
It was the summer after I turned eighteen years old. Just a few days previously, I had put on a cap and gown in the colors of my alma mater and waited anxiously with my classmates to be awarded my diploma, to make it official that the high school years were complete. I distinctly remember sitting there, listening to the speeches, and feeling like I was on the lift hill of a rollercoaster. There was the rush of crossing that stage and moving the tassel on that cap, and then, celebrations with family and friends. This is it, I remember thinking. This is the beginning of the rest of our lives. It was the very end of May, and I had a few months of summer at home ahead of me before leaving for college.
A few days passed. Through an unexpected set of circumstances and events, on a sunny Thursday in June I found myself on a train to the city to meet a boy from the North Shore, a friend of a friend. It was a question, an inquiry of sorts, that I had answered affirmatively; I went into it with an open mind, hoping that at the very least, I might come out of it with a new friend.
The train pulled to a stop at the station, and we stepped onto the pavement, into the sunshine. They were waiting, and there we were. I knew I was in trouble almost immediately.
It was the way he smiled, reached out his hand to shake mine. I was nervous but trying not to show it; I was certainly shaking in my black low-top Converse sneakers, finding myself attracted to him instantly, unable to help it. (I was not usually so forward, but I was feeling brave that day. I mean, I even ended up wearing a skirt… something that was so unlike me, but so… perfect, really.) And so, it began. It has been seven years since that first day, but I can recall almost everything like it happened last week. It was the day that changed the very course of my life.
I have so many memories of that first summer, and all of the summers that have followed. A date to Reckless Records and the batting cages at Novelty Golf; deep dish pizza at Giordano’s and the hookah lounge; a concert up in Milwaukee, out near the lake, on the perfect hot July night, an utter dream; and since then, so many more adventures and fond recollections… and the difficulties, the heartbreaks, have only made us stronger, have only served to fortify our connection. We have spent the last seven years growing up, falling in love, making a life together.
I wake up today, and every day, completely grateful to have found my best friend, my other half. The one who fills my spaces. I cannot imagine what life would be like without him and I am so glad to have him along for the ride. It’s been seven years (and two since we’ve been married), and I fall more and more head over heels in love every single day; every day I want him more. I will never be able to fully put into words the love I have for him, the happiness and adoration I am overwhelmed with on a constant basis… and yet, I could fill pages and pages with paragraphs and notes and sentences about him, for him, for always.
Our life, while not how we always pictured it, is better than anything I could have ever possibly dreamt up. I still remember the end of that very first day… and standing there in that gravel parking lot beneath that shining sky of stars and moonlight, sharing a kiss of goodbye, I couldn’t begin to fathom what lay ahead for the two of us. As we parted ways, I hoped (oh God, did I hope) we’d see one another again…
…and now, just seven years later, I sit here and smile, happy to be his wife. I can’t wait to see where the next seven years—hell, the next seventy years—take us. I am the luckiest woman in the entire Universe, overcome with a passion and admiration I am scarcely able to articulate. Completely in love, the happiest I’ve ever been.