Twenty-four years ago, you left me in front of Ms. Moreau’s geometry class to go to the weight room. It was a Tuesday.
“What just happened?” my friends ask as we make our way down the even rows to our seats in class.
“What?” I answer, a grin plastered to my face.
“We just passed him in the hallway, and he looked like he was, like, literally walking on the moon.”
“Oh, I just said ‘Yes,'” I tell them. “I’m officially his girlfriend.” The words come out like lyrics.
“It’s about time,” one says.
“I knew it!” says another.
Yeah. I drift into a daydream-replay that started a few days earlier.
Twenty-four years and a few days ago, we talked for hours on the phone. It might have been a Thursday.
“So, I was just thinking,” he says.
“Yeah?” I let him know I’m still listening.
“You see, you don’t have a boyfriend.”
“And I don’t have a girlfriend.”
“Yeah?” Still listening, the phone pressed against my ear, my finger pauses mid-twirl on the cord. I know exactly what he is asking. We’ve been on a date to the movies. I’ve been grounded for talking on the phone past curfew. We’ve shared a first kiss plus a few – okay, many – more.
“So what can we do about that?”
I should have known this was coming.
“Don’t you think we could just see where this goes?”
Twenty-four years ago today, you took me out to lunch in the Hyundai and walked me to math class.
“So, about that question you asked me,” I start, feeling more certain of what I am about to say than I have ever been before.
“Yes.” In a word, I answer the question he never really asked, but that we’d both been punctuating for days. A smile spread between us.
He leans in and kisses me.
My boyfriend, he kissed me.
Twenty-four years ago today, you showed me a glimpse of the life we would build together. You were patient and present. You exuded hope and happiness. Hell, you floated to the weight room like gravity didn’t exist. You are everything I could have dreamed and like nothing I could have imagined.
I, like, love our life. Twenty-four years and counting.