A gorgeous man jumped up from another couch with a "wait, what?" and joined the conversation. Handsome, geeky, silly - young, and I figured no way he'd be into me. We carried on the conversation, now with +1, and we exchanged LJ names, like you do.
Years later, sindrian admitted with a grin that he had been watching me all night and listening for some way, any way, to join the conversation and meet me.
He takes co-op terms at design school and ends up in Boston almost every time. The second time, we are at the Garment District, over by the shoes, and we almost kiss. We are so close, I feel the heat of him, but no, no - because I already know what we're going to be. I already know that we will be Epic. I can't bear beginning something epic when he's only here for a month. I won't.
This does not stop us from eventually kissing, that visit or next. And discovering this magnificent lust we have for each other. But it goes no further. For years. It helps that he brings partners with him when he visits. It is easier not to pounce him when he's holding hands with someone else.
During his visit this spring, I say, "So when you're down here in the fall - can I have that date?"
He says "YES."
He arrives in town, and I meet him at Diesel. I'm sitting in the open front of the store, reading, and there he is, like he never left. It's always like he never left, years of picking up where we left off. He is laughing, we are glowing, and I still have no idea what's about to hit me. Neither of us do.
Our first date is "The Town" at the Somerville Theatre. I pull him into the Museum of Bad Art because I know he'll love it. JP Licks, too. I love my town and I want to show him everything.
He kisses me outside my house, and I practically dance upstairs.
While we were out, the away message on his Gchat was "on a date I've waited years for".
Next date is the big adventurous one I blogged about, but even with all of the awesome stuff we did, what delighted me the most was going to Cardullo's. Because the two of us and food, oh my. We have a childlike glee when presented with fig truffles, acacia honey, all manner of things! Infectious delight! Food becomes a Thing with us, really good food, often food that is very simple but very good.
Cardullo's and the sex.
I will not post about the sex here. Save to say that this was a sexual encounter we'd been hoping and planning for for years. That's a lot of buildup, high expectations.
We way the hell surpassed our expectations. Way, way, way. Y'all.
He came to Boston in late September, so he was right-away face with not regular 'song, intense enough in herself, but default-conchair 'song in the final ramp-up to StrowlerCon. This is a terrifying thing to most. He took it in stride with a smile, brought me to the con hotel, volunteered to be put to work by omnisti. Just walked right in and helped us make things go.
And I have to say again: one of his earliest experiences of me was when I was running a con. And it did not scare him.
This is when I started to realize that he could handle being a partner to me. Trial by fire, passed with flying colors.
I was trying not to fall.
I told myself that this was temporary, this was us dating while he's here, then when he moves back we'll evaluate and see if we want to resume. I hate LDRs and don't want one.
I told myself.
I didn't listen.
We are curled up in bed, the two of us, both of us having tried to be reasonable about this and failing. He whispers, "Is it okay if I'm in love with you?"
I pull him in and snuggle him, whispering back, "Only if it's okay that I'm in love with you." So overwhelmed with relief.
I have photos of him chopping carrots, onions, potatoes. He has become at home in my kitchen, and has the gift Adam and I lack in seeing disparate ingredients and figuring out how to make them dinner. He throws things together and they're perfect. I photograph him with hair tied back, sleeves shoved up, muscles of his forearms defined as he works the knife, loose I'm-humoring-you-now-kiss-me look on his face.
We cannot touch, cannot be near each other, without wanting each other. The power of it surprises both of us. And we learn each other, every time even, astonishingly, better than the last.
We pick Gwyn up from the airport, and by the time we get to the Pike, it's clear she knows he's Family.
It's Thanksgiving where the balance tips even further. When date nights turn into him sleeping over for a few days - Adam, Elayna, me, him, Gwyn, essentially all living together, and having the time of our lives.
I'd tried to keep separation, structure - but it feels too good, being around each other even more. From that point, there are few days we aren't together. It begins to feel strange to be apart. We are entangled, heart and body; we are never not touching.
I will not ask him to stay. Not ever. He must go back and graduate. He must go do his internship. This is what is best for him, and if he were to stay, he would regret it. So I never, ever even consider asking. I will not.
And he knows. He knows how much leaving will suck. But he knows what he needs to do. It's one of the things I love about him.
I'm not sure we spend more than two or three nights in December apart.
I'm not sure that was smart.
I'm pretty sure it wasn't.
I don't regret it.
He has become part of Home to me. This is rare, precious. So many things about our relationship are things I do not do, things I have not done in years, this heedless falling, this being wide open...
He goes to Elayna's winter concert, because of course he does. Family.
The day before I leave, he picks me up from work and I am exhausted and he has to return to mill out some more parts. He drops me off at his place. I drowse, then knit. He comes in much later than expected, and I point a needle teasingly - "Hey, you look familiar!" He smiles, pulls me up, embraces me. Long, firm, silent embrace. Eventually I ask "what?" and he says, quietly, the gravity of tomorrow's departure in his voice, "I missed you."
And I know how hard this is going to be. For both of us. Nine months until he moves here. Nine months, for two people who've only been going a few hours at a time without being in each others' arms. Nine months, for two people who have become home to each other. Nine months. A gestational period. I will work on the novel the universe has been prodding me to work on. He will get his degree, do his internship. And hopefully that will be enough to keep us occupied, keep us from nine months of aching.
When we ache without each other for just a few hours.
"I missed you too." I have been trying to keep from crying, but my breath catches. He knows.
He drives us to the airport, then goes home to pack. My loneliness is a wild thing in my chest. I listen to music, I knit, I get online and maxymyllyn pings me on Gchat with big comforting hugs because he knows. He knows that this was my last time seeing sindrian for a while. I am grateful that everyone knows, everyone sees, everyone understands.
It is visible, our Epicness.
sindrian texts me that night that the bed seems too big and empty without me.
I know the feeling.
He is in Cincinnati now. And I keep running through all the things in my head that he should be here for and won't be - New Year's Eve parties, Arisia, my birthday, the BARCC Walk for Change...
But he will be here for the next round of those. And he will be here for Strowler, and Thanksgiving. And when he comes back to Boston he will be coming home. We have so very much ahead of us.
I was maybe not smart. I did not protect my heart. All these years I have become so accustomed to protecting my heart. But I am laid wide open by him, my whole heart exposed.
I regret nothing.