It was two years ago, a Friday. I do not remember much, other than talking on the phone to my mother before heading out that evening. I was only going out for awhile, really. I was supposed to meet my suitemate’s chinchillas. Get of the room for awhile. Try to have fun at a time when my greatest desire was to give up; to lie on my bed, my back to the door, and sob with an empty chest.
I was not expecting to meet you.
I don’t remember much, but I do remember seeing you enter the room out of the corner of my eye, a lanky twenty-something in jeans, a baggy button-down shirt. You are the kind of person who would have shaken my hand, but I do not remember touching you. Perhaps I attempted a smile—something I hadn’t exhibited genuinely in weeks.
I don’t remember much, but I do remember sitting in the backseat with you as my suitemates drove to Walgreens, as they craved Chunky Monkey. A plastic spoon between my teeth. Your leather jacket. “Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there, with open arms and open eyes, yeah...” It was cold. My breath froze on the window. I stared despondently through the fog, blood from my fingers pulsating in my ears. I had always wanted to be the girl who needed saving.
I don’t remember much, but I do know that I was wearing what Brent used to call my “Michael Jackson shirt.” I don’t know what shoes I wore, or if I had my hair pulled back. I can tell you that I sat on the futon and stared at the beer pong in front me, feeling alone in a crowded apartment. Desperate for conversation, I shouted numerous titles of ‘80s songs at the make-shift D.J. You downed a Keystone immediately. I sat with a cup of untainted red Kool-Aid; my first party.
I don’t remember much, but I do remember texting my friends. I answered you bluntly, enunciated that I was “NOT drinking.” I was sweating. My shirt smelled like spilt beer. My coat was warm from the intoxicated young woman who passed out on it. I wanted to leave. I wanted to call someone. I wanted to cry ... my first party.
I don’t remember much, but I can admit to being in jagged pieces when you met me. I was a broken mirror; a small shard may reflect a hazel eye, a larger one my jutting collarbone. I was not undivided when we met that Friday—I was utterly (and what I thought to be irrevocably) broken.
I don’t remember much, but I do remember your glasses, your button-down shirts. I remember the yellow tulips a week later. I remember the sleep-induced meal from Papa John’s, my first fountain run. I remember your warm arms cradling me—shivers and goose pimples next to you—as we stood in line for a 2 a.m. funnel cake. I remember a tire blowout in June, a cave exploration in September, our first Christmas. I remember watching Avenue Q, laughing together at “Everyone's a Little Bit Racist.” We drove 2,000 miles in an inestimably remarkable Spring Break road trip. In May, I remember standing above the tracks, sobbing, watching as your early-morning train snaked its way out of my vision towards Chicago, towards India.
I don’t remember much, but I can tell you that—after two Fourth of July's, five semesters of college, three sledding excursions, several hikes, two birthdays apiece, two picnics, two bike rides, one downtown rescue, waffles for breakfast, countless late-night phone calls, two Ash Wednesday services, innumerable shared Sunday sermons, dozens of trips to Walmart, a pair of purple pants, thousands of irreplaceable photos, a five-hour canoe trip, a baseball game, an outdoor symphony, a coupon book, a deep-fryer and one proposal hidden within a fortune cookie—I love you.
Two hours ago, we stood in the middle of my room, clutching each other in one last embrace. I wanted to whisper, “Don’t go,” but was afraid that I would cry—disturb you and your swift exit, too-soon exit. So instead, I buried my face in your neck, breathed in the sweet veneer of sweat. Two hours ago, you thanked me for a wonderful weekend. Two days ago, I welcomed you into the same room, eager to begin our small, but celebratory weekend. Two days ago, I had you and your presence to relish in. A week ago, we spoke over the phone of this day. And, today, not two hours ago, but all day—since the moment the green numbers on my electric SHARP turned to 1, 2, 0, 0—has marked the anniversary of our meeting.
I don’t remember much, but I can tell you that—since I first met you that frigid night two years ago—I have thanked God for your presence in my life nearly every day since. You took me as I was—shattered—and have loved me more than I can ever possibly deserve. I thank you for this brief, but wonderfully-spent weekend, and encourage you to believe that you have introduced a new and more profound happiness in my life, and an affection that pulses within each chamber of my own steady machine.