Seven years ago this week, I put on a purple shirt and braided my hair in two braids, bought some flowers, and took BART to the Oakland airport.
This was back when one could still meet people at the gate, so I looked at the monitor to find out where you’d be coming in, and waited. A crowd of people deplaned before you did, and I almost didn’t recognize you because of how blond your goatee was. But it turned out to be you, and I gave you a hug and the flowers. My stomach did somersaults as we walked back through the airport, and I met your uncle John on our way; I guess he had come to pick up your parents? Anyhow, I didn’t meet them on that trip, but your uncle John shook my hand, and then we were outside and taking the shuttle to BART.
I sat on your left side. I could see that you had a white spot in your hair, which I asked you about. You smelled good.
We made it to the BART station and waited for a train to take us to Berkeley. I was distracted, talking to you, still totally nervous, and when the train rolled into the station the train operator honked the horn. It wasn’t until you pulled me back form the yellow area that I realized *I* was the reason the train had yet to pull in. You still tease me about that sometimes, when we’re in the Bay Area and waiting for a BART train.
We made it back to Berkeley and you put your stuff down, and we spent the day walking all over town, me showing you the sights and you asking questions. We walked by the Campanile and, feeling daring, I bit your hand that I had been holding, gently. You didn’t appear to object. I showed you around campus, and around Telegraph avenue, and around the neighborhood on the walk back down to my place. I wanted to kiss you all day, but I don’t think I actually did until we were standing in my room, glass french doors wide open. It was a really good kiss; my knees ended up buckling a little bit.
I sewed a button back on your nice pants, which you changed into because you had to attend your Grandfather’s memorial service. I told you how to get back to BART, which train to get on, but I found out later you were so twitterpated you’d taken a train in the wrong direction and ended up far later to the service than you expected to be. That night, I went to my cousin’s birthday party in the city, but I was really distracted, thinking about you coming back to stay with me after both our social obligations were completed. I already missed you, and I’d only spent a few hours in your presence.
We both made it back to my place at some point, you driven by your brother (I think) and you slept in my bed. My head fit perfectly in the crook of your arm, on your chest. It was the best sleep I’d had in ages.
The next morning, we were standing in the kitchen. Maybe I made you breakfast, or we both cooked, or QIR cooked, or Bequi – I can’t remember. But I do remember that you came up behind me, hooked my arms in yours behind my back, and leaned against me – an embrace I’d never had before, but one that felt familiar, comforting. That day we took BART again, into the city to spend some time at the Haight Street Fair. The photo I took of you and QIR waiting for the train, she in a straw hat, you with a gigantic grin, still hangs in my cubicle. I look at it every day. You still had an earring then, and something boyish about your face. We made it to Haight street and it was a complete madhouse, a situation neither of us relishes. Too many people, too close together, and I felt bad for subjecting you to a great part of the city under such unideal circumstances. We bought ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s and walked off Haight a bit to eat. QIR got ice cream all over her face. I could hardly eat for thinking that you’d soon be flying back to Colorado.
We took the train back across to the East Bay, and you left your new prescription sunglasses, which were really expensive. You just left them on the seat, and I didn’t think to make sure we’d all grabbed everything. But six and a half years later I would do the same thing with my camera in Italy, so I think we both need to start looking out for each other’s belongings on trains; we don’t have such good luck with that.
I think QIR drove us to the airport, and I kissed you goodbye. My heart was in my throat as we drove home. I wouldn’t see you again for another month, and by then we’d already have decided we were officially together, in a relationship. July 3 is the day we say is our anniversary, but I think of that first weekend trip, during which we spent the entire time together (aside from the memorial service), as an important time as well. It’s the day we met in person, finally, after spending months on the phone and IMing with each other. It’s the day I knew my feelings for you had a basis in truth rather than fantasy. It’s the day you gave up watching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in which your hockey team beat the other hockey team to win the cup and you didn’t even tell me you wanted to watch the game, because you decided you’d rather spend the time with me, and I didn’t know until years later what a big deal it was to you.
Happy meet-a-versary, Dan. I love you very much. *vapt*