I woke up early in DC to meet my favorite person at the airport.
After months of promises and failed plans, I was so excited to be reuniting with my favorite person.
I didn't realize.
We laughed and hugged at the exit.
We headed to my apartment to wake up my roommate and convince her to join us for pancakes at the hole-in-the-wall diner down the street.
Then the two of us wandered into Chinatown to check out the International Spy Museum. And while we waited for our turn to pretend to be spies, we had a lunchtime cocktail or two as we laughed and caught up on the past.
I really didn't realize.
Later, after I showed off my emerging culinary skills, my roommate and I took forever, as girls are wont to do, getting dressed up in our various costumes for Halloween dancing that night.
And he, being a guy, just couldn't understand why we were taking so damn long. So, as a distraction, I gave him a gift I'd had sitting, all wrapped up, on my shelf for almost a year.
No, I didn't realize.
Since the gift was supposed to be a distraction while we primped, I gave it to him and bounced out of the room, but what he didn't know was that I kind of stood around the corner, looking just enough to see his reaction as he unwrapped it.
His gift was a framed copy of this picture.
And even still, I didn't realize.
I waited a beat or two and walked back in the room and he hugged me. Really hugged me. One of my favorite kind of hugs. I still didn't realize.
He tried to kiss me.
I walked out of the room.
Oh, oh yes, I did. I walked out of the room.
I realized then.
Whether I wanted it to or not, everything was changing in those moments. He was my favorite person. He made me laugh and feel beautiful and brilliant and completely at ease with myself. We were friends. And I knew, right then and there, if we kissed, our friendship would change.
I didn't know if I wanted to take that risk. What if we kissed and it wasn't good? What if we didn't work out? Would we regret it?
And half a heartbeat later, I realized, I really realized, I wanted to kiss him. I wanted to take that risk. Because knowing is better than wondering.
So I turned around and walked back into the room.
He looked up and smiled.
And we kissed.
Oh, we kissed.
And we haven't stopped since.
He still is my favorite person. He makes me laugh and feel beautiful and brilliant and completely at ease with myself. We are best friends. We are in love with each other. We fit together.
It's been four years since that night we first kissed, dressed as Mark Antony and Cleopatra and went out dancing with Little Red Riding Hood, and a Pirate, and a Cat.
It's been four years full of planes and buses and trains between Chicago and DC and Michigan and the Republic of Georgia and Albania. It's been years of Skype dates and curling up on the couch cuddled next to each other under blankets in Albania and Chicago. It's been years of cheating at dominoes and scheming about the puppy we'll get someday and convincing each other to eat that last bite of chocolate. It's been years of sleeping better together and early morning sleepy kisses before work and school.
It's been four years of magic and mundane. Of fights and laughter. Of certainty and uncertainty. Of challenges - countless challenges.
But it's been four years, together, in love.
It hasn't always been easy, but it has always been worth it. It really has been worth it all. I really do realize that now.
My Love, I can't wait to see what the future brings. Just as long as we're side by side. And kissing each other.
We spent the weekend in the suburbs, visiting Joe's parents.
It was a quiet, lazy weekend. Aside from a memorial service (our real reason for heading out to the suburbs), the weekend was mostly cuddles and snoozes and recovering from a fall cold (poor Joe) and eating way too much.
But in the midst of all that, there were a few perfectly precious moments that I didn't want to ever end.
The feel of the down comforter against my skin as we took a lazy Saturday afternoon nap. The sun streaming in the windows and the feel of Joe's chest rising and falling.
But mostly, the perfect moments were the long train ride back into the city. Squeezed in sideways on the seat so I could snuggle against Joe's shoulder, his arm around me, his jacket serving as a blanket, as I watched the world clickety-clackedty by through half-lidded eyes...partly to protect against the late autumn afternoon sunlight, but also from drowsiness. The feel of my hair and Joe's skin against my cheek and the sun warming my knees. And the contentedness that comes from knowing this is a perfect moment filled with nothing but love. I never wanted that train ride to end, even when I lost feeling in both feet from the awkward angle.
And because I have such a romantic little heart, it never will end....it will live on in my heart forever, joining all those other little perfect moments where I thought "I could not ask for more than this moment, right here, right now."
Such a treasure. I really do love this man.
Pictures taken by Joe's Mom on our Sunday afternoon stroll along the river.
You guys....the heat came on in our building this morning!
This is a big deal.
Our heat is included in rent (fairly common in Chicago, and a definite cost savings in winter), but that means the landlord controls when it's turned on/off for the year.
Last year, it wasn't turned on until late November.
That mean lots of cold fingers and blue noses during the day as I struggled to find a way to type and keep my fingers warm.
I've been dreading the coming drop in temperatures for the past month.
It rained all day yesterday. And then the temperatures dropped dramatically overnight. It made for a chilly morning. I was sitting here shivering, trying not to use a blanket because I'd just get colder as the day went on, but when I got up for more water, I realized there were warm spots in the apartment.
And just like that, I'm now comfortable in my tank top and long sleeved shirt. That means I won't lose feeling in my fingers today.
These are the days I fell in love with you. Just a little year ago. Can you believe? And now those magical days are back and I fall all over again for the magic of the city lights and the fall colors and the leaves just dropping from the sky and the smell of cozy home fires juxtaposed with the noise of city traffic and horns. Oh, Chicago - how did I ever think anywhere else could ever be home for this girl?
I leave you on this happy, sunny, ridiculously warm Friday afternoon with the smile I got when Grandma found the little Halloween surprise I'd wrapped up and left on her dresser before heading home to Chicago last weekend.
Such a silly little light up ghost, such a happy smile. Just a little reminder that it's the little things that make life big after all.
Joe and I usually have typical end of the day conversations as we wind down for the night and get ready for bed and fall asleep. But every so often, our conversation takes a turn towards the funny side because of sleepiness or because I've already taken out my hearing aid and am guessing at what Joe is saying. There's a few recurring themes in our bedtime talks (clearly). Some are too funny to be forgotten:
KtMac: "Because I'm sassy..."
Joe: "That's right. I love my sassy...and gassy...girl."
Shortly after my thyroid surgery...
Joe rubs my leg, then my arm, then my leg again
KtMac: "Yes, yes, I know. They're hairy. It's not easy shaving when you're restricted to taking baths..."
Two days later...
Joe: "What I was trying to tell you the other night is that you had goosebumps."
Playing with Hubert, the stuffed bear I won for myself at the fair:
KtMac: Hubert wants cuddles too! Arf! Arf! Joe: Hubert's a bear!
KtMac: I know! Garf! Garf! Joe: .......
KtMac: You know that even when I can't hear you, I still know when you're farting in bed. I feel it or smell it. Joe: Well, last night I swore your phone was on vibrate in the bed somewhere from all your farts!
KtMac: My juicy melons. Joe: You snore, you fart, you call your boobs "melons," yep, you're turning into a boy alright.
KtMac: A dangerous side effect of living with you for a year.
But no matter what the conversational topic or how sleepy we may be, we always end the day with a few laughs, some cuddles, and sweet dream wishes.
And even now, more than a year later, I still pinch myself to make sure I'm lucky enough to drift off to sleep with Joe by my side instead of 6,000 miles between us.