If I were a poet, I’d write about how we—you and I—used to count our anniversaries in months, celebrating each thirty days that passed since the day we met. That first day over coffee and Rex Stout was less like meeting than like finding, and each subsequent month a kind of witness to our miracle of discovery and recognition and great good fortune. That first day, you held me for the first time, and you wrote to me, after, that holding me “felt like the future.”
Neither of us imagined how hard the road to our future would be, paved with crisis and disappointment—our good fortune seeming to fall by the wayside. And yet, you always found a way to enjoy the ride, no matter how bleak or devastating the scenery: art by crazy people, the local blues band at the local bar on icy winter nights, white pelicans on a Midwestern lake, the best roast chicken we ever had in a washed-up prairie iron town. Months, though, no longer seemed celebratory—we measured time differently, braced for the future, awaiting developments, hoping for a break. We spent our days acquiring perspective and grace and a pronounced squint, the better to recognize our good fortune when it did appear again, arriving as it has in disjointed bits and pieces.
Thousands of miles later and almost 33 months since we met, I am re-reading Rex Stout and writing to tell you that holding you feels like the future to me. Those miles and months created a forge of almost devastating intensity, into which our new relationship was thrown, carelessly, by a universe that didn’t care if we had other plans. We’ve been stressed to points that would have broken many relationships yet, this far along the road (and two years into our marriage), we are still bending: there may be stresses here, but there is also glue, and sharp eyes, and no doubts.