It’s a simple red, leather journal, thick with memories and promises, dreams, and dares, and the opening chapters of a happily-ever-after love story.
The unedited version.
Once in a while, I read back through the pages of this book. My gift to you on the occasion of our first Christmas together. Our first emails and notes are glued to the pages, quilted together with song lyrics and poetry and notes in the margins.
Our paths had crossed many times before we started dating. More than a parallel universe, at times it seems we traveled two lanes of the same highway, heading in the same direction.
In those early days, we grew together as friends as we cautiously mended our broken wings and cynical hearts. With baby steps, we carefully introduced one another to our worlds. We had doubts along the way. We wondered if it was worth the effort. And we laughed. A lot. And I learned that love can be easy. And life really can be seamless.
In our wedding vows, we said to one another, “You are my best friend, my last first kiss, my coat from the cold, and the great love of my life. In all ways and forever. And nine days. That is my vow to you.”
Today, we celebrate seven years. And truly, I’d wish for seventy more years in this. Realistically, we know we won’t get that, but we have had a chance to see what all those folks have been painting and dancing and writing and singing about for thousands of years. True love. It’s easy. And it’s worth it.
“Let the world stop turning, let the sun stop burning,
Let them tell me love’s not worth going through.
If it all falls apart, I will know deep in my heart
The only dream that mattered had come true.
In this life, I was loved by you.”
– Mike Reid, Allen Shamblin
As I archived and clipped and glued and scribbled notes in the margins, I came to the last pages of that journal. I couldn’t – no, wouldn’t think of a way to fill the final page. It is a book of beginnings.
Someday, I hope our children and their children will stumble across this story of how we came to find the great love of our lives. I wish for each of them one true love. And the chance to feel – if only for one moment in forever – the way I feel about you.
Happy anniversary, Mark.
Happily ever after. We’re living the dream.
Listening to: Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – “In This Life”