|A few days after 9-24-11|
We were together for a good spell before we got married, 5 or 6 years. I am surprised when I remember that for years we lived apart, that we worked opposite shifts, that we were often separate. We would meet up for dinner as I was home from work, as he was waking, always a few paces off from each other. Or we would meet in the morning, him buzzing with weary alertness after a night on his feet in the hospital, me resenting wakefulness, sunlight, noise, the world.
We've been inconveniently stuck together since we first met, in a way that was too old for me, and yet I was able to be young. I raced the cars that catcalled me on my bike and I pounded my fist on their windshields and I never wore a helmet. I closed bars with my friends, sat on their laps after hours amidst the shelves of liquor stock. We hopped fences to swim in hotel pools in our underwear or less. At the end of the night I'd buy donuts from the 24 hour place, and ride over to the hospital.
I would sit on a bench by the entrance, head spinning, my wet bra blooming dark spots in stereo through my shirt, waiting for someone to emerge to smoke a cigarette. As the door closed slowly, pneumatically, behind them I was able to slip in, to call up to his floor from an abandoned phone, to ask him to meet me real quick if he could. And he would emerge into the lobby's yellow fluorescence and wedge the proffered donut between his teeth and fold me, soaked with poolwater, stinking like alcohol, into him.
He didn't make me feel foolish or begrudge me my fun (the way I might have, in his shoes, were I in the middle of a perpetually understaffed shift changing rotten dressings..). He was always glad to see me, fullstop.
It is easy to see that time in warm sepia-tone but it was difficult. Living apart and the cosmic not-knowing was an ache. It is better like this, to be cozy, in premature dotage under Netflix's bluish glow, knit together, dull as dirt.
He gave me the gift of seeing myself as he does, as "wonderfully enough". He gave it to me when I was too young to know it, to want anything to do with it. I am glad we are together but if we can't be someday, I will still have it. If I smother him in a murderous fit due to his seismic, biblical snoring, I will always have it. And it has made my whole life.