Two years ago yesterday, I played a three- or four-letter word (I can’t remember which) on Scrabulous (remember the good old days?) and got 39 points. Yes, over 30 points with under 5 letters. And Turtle typed in that little chat box, “I would be mad, but I’m smitten.” And while that’s not quite where it all began, that was the point where it switched over from “maybe she likes me and maybe I like her, but maybe we’re just friendly happy coworkers” (tee hee, coworkers, yeah…) to “Whoa. She likes me. Do I like her? I think I liker her. Uh, now what?”. What I mean to say is that I commenced freaking out a little bit, which I expressed by not responding to her increasingly frantic emails (“Did you get my message? Uh, how embarrassed do I need to be the next time we see each other?”) and not calling her, despite her sending me her phone number.
I danced around her messages and implied, with more subtlety than I thought at the time, that the feelings were mutual. Two years ago today, I got a haircut and very carefully planned my outfit for the next day, when I would see her; I even ended up wearing makeup. It was a Sunday and it was a big fundraiser walk for our organization. I crutched around like a rockstar and pretended that I didn’t know exactly where she was the entire day. I knew exactly where she was.
When I first arrived at the walk, she came over to me and handed me a cup of tea. She handed me a cup of tea like I was her person, like of course she would share her cup of tea; and I took it like I knew that it was our cup of tea. It was the most natural thing to do, and it was strange that we were just there, at this level of comfort and knowing each other.
After the event was over and all the attendees had left, I stood around and offered to help carry boxes. This was while I was on crutches and couldn’t walk, so I think this is where my subtlety ended. We went to Starbucks for “a coffee” and drank several cups of tea and did almost the entire Sunday NYTimes crossword. When it finally became clear that we’d been there for way too long – say, five hours – she asked me to have dinner with her.
I don’t think we held hands, and we didn’t kiss. I ran away from her – I was crazy skilled on my crutches – when my train came, because I wanted to be sure that I really, really liked her before I let her kiss me.
In the last two years, we have both left two jobs. Between the two of us, we have taken in a kitten, a cat, and a dog. We have fostered two other cats. We have connected more strongly with some friends and lost our connection to others. We have been to every state in New England except for Connecticut. We have had so much fun, and we have supported each other through heartbreak, through depression, through big decisions. We have learned how to talk to each other, how to listen to each other and to ourselves, and how to be a family. We are always doing the work.
Marrying her, I expect, will always be work. It is work planning this wedding; it is work discussing and deciding what we want our marriage to be. It is work when it is not about the wedding or the marriage, but whose turn it is to walk the dog or clean the litter boxes. It is work in many little ways and some big ways and all of this work is so worth it.
Happy anniversary, you.