Saturday, August 29, 2009

An Open Letter to Andrew on His Birthday

Dear Andrew:

It's Sunday and you're already out, walking up and down the hilly street behind our apartment, out to get coffee in the chilly air of the last August morning this year. I know, even before you've reached the front door, before I hear the rusty turn of the old handle, the stomping of your feet on worn wooden stairs, that you will come back to the bedroom with coffee, yes, always what you went out for, but also a bag of doughnuts tucked neatly under one arm as if they will surprise me. I know, before you even ask me to guess what else you've brought, or grin sheepishly over the spontaneous treat, that you've asked the girl behind the counter for my favorite doughnut, your favorite doughnut, and then, of course, our favorite doughnut, so that we can each have our treat and then share the last hunched together over the bag to avoid crumbs, trading bites and breaking only to smile the words "I'm so glad you love this, too."

This morning, while you're gone, I'm thinking about your birthday that just passed, four years after the first one I watched you celebrate, emotional light years after the first time I met you. I thought you were so young, so silly and immature, so I closed my eyes an hummed a little tune until you went away. And you did, for a while, go away, and I marched on, same as before, so sure of myself alone, because for the first time in years, I was going to be alone. It's a little funny now, I have to admit, to remember the sheer stubbornness I exhibited those first few weeks. It's amusing to remember how sure I was that you weren't the one, because really, I thought, what is "the one" and who, really, can be the one for someone else? As it turns out, the answer for me was you, you, you. The answer also, as it unfolds each additional year I'm lucky enough to spend with you, is that "the one," that slightly cliche and absolutely oversimplified way of saying you really fit with someone else like you've never fit before, well, it sometimes is just that simple.

What I want to tell you is that nothing, not the "surprise" doughnuts, not the numerous pieces of "free" street side furniture collecting in our apartment, not the way you message me when you get to work each night so I won't worry, not the way you play with my hair when you get home late to make sure I stay asleep, not the way you have six boxes of cereal in the pantry and will come home with one more, and not the smile on your face every time I enter the room, gets past me. I notice every bit because I notice you, and noticing you, finally, was the best decision I've made so far in this life. Because with you, it isn't just about being a couple, or being in love, or being married, or really, even liking the same doughnuts sometimes; it is because with you it's about being a team.

So I could go on, and I'm sure that I should, about all the wonderful things that make you, you, and about how this birthday you should know that you're not just my husband, you're my best friend, but really, if we're talking about cliches, that one's got to top the boat, so instead I'll just say that in the three legged race that is life, I'm glad I'm tied to you.

Love Always,