Today is Mister E’s and my third anniversary!
Three years ago today, we found each other again.
We met when we were teenagers. I was sixteen, healing from an emotionally draining relationship; he was nineteen, celebrating his birthday and Spring Break all at once. Neither of us had a very good track record with love. M introduced us and we were instantly crazy about each other. Love at first sight and all that sappy stuff that I refused to believe in until the moment we met.
Because we were stupid teenagers, things happened and our relationship only lasted eight months. I was the stupid one, breaking up with him for reasons that, now, when I think about them, make me want to crawl behind the couch with the special needs cat. I couldn’t bring myself to stay friends with him because it made me think of all the times I failed him.
Over the years, we got in touch with each other a couple of times; there was this undercurrent of romance that neither of us seemed willing or able to acknowledge. All my exes knew his name because I was always talking about the things we did in high school or how I regretted breaking up with him.
Then, fourteen years later, I found myself alone in Chicago and was just starting to let myself think about a new relationship after some mishaps in the romance department. I knew what I wanted and knew I wasn’t going to settle for anything less.
I was on the bus when it happened. It was a friend request from Mister E on Facebook and it took me all of thirty seconds to hit “accept.” Ten minutes later, we were messaging each other. By the next day, we were texting. I got a terrible haircut and he called to console me. Hearing his voice again, it was like no time had passed. We could have been just across town from one another instead of across the country. I was happy and relieved to discover that he had not only forgiven me for everything, he didn’t blame me and was still in love with me.
Understandably, we were both nervous when I moved back to Texas. Fourteen years had passed; I’d gained sixty pounds since the last time we saw each other and was the proud survivor of two breakdowns.
But the minute he showed up at my door, it was love at first sight all over again. Since that day, we’ve only been apart when it was absolutely unavoidable. I don’t think we’re afraid of losing each other again so much as we want to make up for lost time.
When we finally found each other again, decided to throw caution to the wind, and resume being stupid-happy after several extremely prolonged but wonderful conversations, he said that he hoped it doesn’t bother me but he started wearing the ring I gave him again. I, of course, thought it was absolutely cute and very sweet and said of course I didn’t.
What I didn’t know was that he had gone to James Avery in Texas to see if they still made that ring I gave him with the intention of buying a similar one for me, and found that it had long since been discontinued. However, the people who helped him were so touched by the story of two drunk kids falling down the stairs that they gave him the address of Chris Avery, the current president of the company. E proceeded to write him a letter about us, how we were together and drifted apart and then somehow found each other again, asking if he would consider reproducing one piece of this long-since-gone piece of jewelry. After a week or so, E got a letter back from Chris Avery saying that although it’s their policy not to sell discontinued pieces, he would be willing to have just one more made. For me.
I had never had anyone do something so thoughtful, so romantic for me as this. That he cared enough to not only go look for it, but to not give up when they said it was discontinued and convince the president of a company to make one just for me? I didn’t even have the words. If there had been any doubt in my mind about whether or not he was the perfect guy for me, this would have erased all of them.
Now we’ve been back together for three years and living together for a little under that long. We’ve had some really rough times, things that would make some people break up or fall out of love, things that would send lesser couples shooting into the opposite direction like the balls when I play pool. Not us. We’ve fought for our love and we win, every day. Every day I think about how lucky I am, and every day I love him more.
When we were teenagers, we used to lay on the lawn of the modern art museum and look up at the stars; we talked about how we would get married when I turned eighteen. Next year, we’re finally going to realize that dream and spend the rest of our lives collecting cats and driving each other crazy.
Happy anniversary, Mister E. I love you.