I still remember it like it was yesterday.
We were going out for my best friend’s birthday. He bought my red solo cup for a few bucks. And made sure it was always full. A ploy that had more to do with him than me. But which was enough to sway my beer soaked hormones.
Do you want to come home with me? I asked as I exited Big Daddy, a taxi service for students at Michigan State University.
And so it began.
The next morning we went to breakfast and I was left with the opinion that he was the weirdest person I had ever met. He played the Outkast song “Happy Valentine’s Day” on repeat on both the ride to and from the restaurant. Singing at the top of his lungs.
It was annoying.
But the next weekend, I decided to call him again.
I remember the time we went to IHOP and he wore my bright pink Paul Frank pants. Of course, with my friend’s stuffed monkey strapped to his leg. Only speaking to the waitress through the monkey.
Or our first trip out to Los Angeles for Nathan Sr’s wedding. I was 20-years-old. Sneaking into fancy hotel bars. A reception at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. And my first time at Disneyland.
I was in love.
We sat on Venice Beach taking selfies before they were selfies. Knowing full well that we would miss our flight. Not caring in the least.
When he told me he was moving to Switzerland, my heart breaking into a million pieces.
And when I lost my job in Chicago. He said, come to California with me.
And I said, sure.
From starlit nights snuggled inside a tent. To dancing under a kaleidoscope aquarium of sound and color. He has supported me tirelessly in my quest to find peace and happiness. Listened to my every anxiety and fear. Pushed me to be braver than I could have ever imagined. Taken care of me when I needed it the most.
Given me a son that is our everything.
He’s my person.
We’ve weathered more storms than my younger self could have ever imagined when she said, I kind of like you. Struggled to find ourselves alongside someone else. Learning all those hard lessons together with twice the bullshit and baggage.
But I wouldn’t be me without him.
The golden retriever to my sullen bunny. His boundless puppy dreams executed through my methodical logic and critically discerning eye. At times exuding a recklessness that threatens to break us both. Held firmly in place by my unwavering yin to his yang. In as many ways as it doesn’t make sense. It does.
And for that, I am thankful.
Happy Anniversary, babe. I love you.