the beginning parts feel like being trapped in a taylor swift song. the non-angsty “it’s a love story, baby just say yes” ones. there are times you think your heart will explode from sheer and utter happiness, but it doesn’t. instead you just walk around with a big smile on your face and bruise marks on your arm from pinching yourself so many times to make sure what you’re experiencing isn’t a dream.
and it’s not a dream. it’s real. and you’re terrified and excited and terrified again all at the same time.
and it takes you exactly one month and fourteen days to exchange “i love yous” even though you swear you would have said it earlier if it didn’t sound so crazy to feel those feelings so quickly into a new relationship. and you hold hands, and giggle, and make out like you’re in high school. and you’re sleep deprived, living on coffee and endorphins and people ask you if something’s different about you -“did you change your hair?” and you probably did because you can never stay one color for too long, but mostly they’re implying that something has you smiley and glowy and as one person told you, “radiating.” and something does. he does. and the very thought of him makes you feel like you’re living in a daydream. and it’s all the feels all the time.
and then you move into a new chapter of your love story. the part where you’re vulnerable, and transparent, and you take off your make-up in front of him, just like you take off the intangible masks you inevitably wear when you don’t want people to see the real “you.” and he kisses your freshly washed forehead and tells you look beautiful as you sit in your oversized abercrombie sweats and four-day old unwashed hair. and you tell him things you’ve never told anyone before -lies you’ve told yourself and believed as truth for years, insecurities, fears, the ugly parts you shield from the promise of a new relationship out of shame and embarrassment and guilt. you cry in front of him. the ugly cry. sometimes it’s at the hand of an episode of parenthood but other times it’s at the hand of real life. when you realize that this is a serious relationship and oh my gosh, i’ve screwed up every other relationship i’ve had before and what if i mess this one up too? and sometimes you cry because you’re so happy that someone could love you as much as he does. that his love isn’t conditional and endures hanger, and the hours before coffee, and when you’re hormonal and please give me all the chocolate and no one gets hurt. and he meets your parents and you meet his and you’re equal parts shocked and not at all surprised how effortlessly everyone gets along. and suddenly you’re celebrating your sixth month anniversary and you can’t believe how quickly a half of year has passed you by.
and you feel safe. for the first time in, no, for the first time ever you can exhale. those hours you used to spend over-analyzing or worrying yourself sick can be spent on more important things -like simply enjoying the time you spend with him, relishing in the present day nuances of your relationship, the love story you continue to write with every selfless gesture and belly laugh.
and yes, sometimes you miss the very beginning. how it all began, so simply, so effortlessly. one day he wasn’t in your life, the next you couldn’t imagine life before he arrived. you miss the can’t wait until i see you again feeling, the feeling of breathlessness until his next text. you miss your first kiss, your first i love you, the first moment when you both realized that whoa, you just might be the one with whom i spend forever.
but you wouldn’t trade anything in the world for where you are now. the comfortable phase. the way you know exactly what he’s going to say before he says it or the way you can ask or tell him anything without a hint of worry or doubt. you love that he knows your order at starbucks and chipotle and that even though you say you don’t want anything at the store, he always brings you home a treat (it’s usually gluten free pretzels). you love that you make future plans -of where you’ll travel, or where you’ll live, what your future children’s names will be, and how you’ll never stop pursuing each other no matter how old and wrinkly and grey you become.
the way love evolves over time is something so extraordinary. just when you think you can’t love him more, he does or says or makes something so remarkable that you find a space in your heart for that love to grow even bigger, deeper, stronger. and every chapter you pen seems to be better than the last. actually, they’re equally as perfect in their individual ways. because while you miss date one, you are so thankful that it brought you to date 1,001.
you’ve waited your whole life to find someone with whom to share it. you have endured bad dates and bad relationships. you’ve done online dating, and no dating, and “i’ll date anything with a pulse who thinks i’m pretty.” and while you wish you could have always just started and ended with him, you know every last awkward meet up for coffee or pathetic attempt at flirting was worth it if it meant he was the light to come at the end of the frog-lined tunnel.
today marks one whole year as S’s teammate, best friend, and partner-in-crime. 365 days of learning and growing and embracing our love story. to quote walt whitman,
“we were together, i forget the rest.”
happy one year anniversary, love.
here’s to the next chapter,
and a zillion after that.5