A nervous excitement swept over me when I spied My Guy at the airport, who was there to pick me up after my three-week trip to Malaysia, five years ago. At that point, he wasn’t exactly My Guy. Well, he was, up until eight months before when he broke up with me.
The end, the beginning
I knew when he walked away that the only way to heal my wounded, aching heart was to cut him out of my life. Cold turkey. I removed everything that would remind me of him - pictures, cards, and gifts (well, all except for the Le Creuset pot, which I loved and used often; pragmatism certainly trumps idealism).
I also started dating again and challenged myself to meet new and interesting people, which I did. It was a completely different life, and I loved it. Perhaps the breakup wasn’t the end of the world after all. In fact, it was the beginning of an exciting one.
Then one day, a little over five months after the breakup, when I thought I had finally moved on, I responded to his invitation to meet at our favorite place for drinks. Everything in my life was going well; I was single but dating, and I was enjoying every bit of it. I thought I could handle a friendship with him.
I was wrong. (Like you didn’t see that coming.) When I met him that night, it was the first time we saw each other since the night he left. As we sat across from one another, I realized that it wasn’t over. And I think he felt the same way too, because after that evening, we started to see each other again. Casually at first, because this time, we vowed to take it slow.
Even though I continued to date while we saw each other, my interest in others quickly waned. When I left for Malaysia, he was the only one I talked to on the phone. The only one I missed.
When we arrived back at my place that evening, I was energized just by being with him again, despite 30 hours of travel. We celebrated my homecoming with a special steak dinner that we made together. After our meal, I sensed a nervous energy in My Guy when he asked me to sit down across from him on the couch.
When I did, he surprised me with a gift - a photo album of us. It chronicled our relationship, from the time we started dating until shortly before it ended for us. I flipped through each page slowly, overwhelmed by nostalgia as I saw the once-upon-a-time pictures of us. The trips we took, our cats when they were wee kittens, and even embarrassing candid shots of me, for which he had an incredible knack. (Which is also why I won’t be sharing that album with anyone anytime soon.)
He watched me, smiling. When I turned the last page, I found a white ribbon peeking out of a pocket on the inside of the album’s back cover, intriguing and inviting me. I lifted the ribbon and with it came a ring tied to its end.
It was his ring. A plain silver band that he wore when I first met him. One he asked me to wear just before he left for Greece, when we would be apart for four months, at the beginning of our relationship. I wore it until he came home, and continued to wear it until the night he left.
When I saw that ring again, I knew what it meant. And, of course, I said yes.
That was the day we both chose to be together. Again. This time with our eyes wide open. Which was a good thing, considering that four days later, we found out we were pregnant with Little Miss. But that’s a story for another day. We’re just glad that the events turned out in that particular order.
However, even after our first baby, we were tested once more. You know what Shakespeare said about true love - it never does run smooth. But again, we made the choice to stay together.
For years, we couldn’t decide on which anniversary to celebrate - the one that started it all on the day of our first and most amazing kiss of our lives? Or the one where we chose to be together again? Sometimes we’d celebrate one but not the other. And sometimes we’d celebrate both because of our own indecision, unable to justify one over another. It felt odd to be so uncertain over such certainties.
But this year, we figured it out. We will celebrate both because they each represent a significant and different milestone. The kiss sparked the beginning of our relationship, and we used that to mark the passing of time. On August 18 this year, it will be eight years.
The other, the one that brought this ring back to me, worn on my left middle finger every day since that lovely evening with him, will always remind us of how we triumphed in adversity, and how we, when given the choice to stay or to walk away, always chose to be together. On March 10 every year, we celebrate the power, the beauty, and the strength of this choice.
And that, in the biggest, most gigantic nutshell ever, is why we have two anniversaries. Which isn’t unlike married couples who celebrate the day they first started dating and their wedding anniversary. If we do get married someday, I suppose there’ll be a third date to commemorate.
Except, there’s enough complications as it is, who needs another?
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Happy Anniversary Part 1 my love. May we always, always be our best choice.