Saturday was Day One of Paul’s big move across town to this apartment that we now share. I didn’t do much to help him move, which in hindsight makes me feel like a slug. I was busy trying to wrangle my possessions into new homes so that he could have (most of) a bedroom to himself. I try to keep my packrat tendencies under control, but I’m pretty sure it’s genetic.
While I wasn’t much help with the move proper, I did make us a celebratory pizza from scratch—crust, sauce, veggies, the whole shebang. But I completely failed to get our uncooked pizza from the pizza peel* to the pizza stone, so I waited for Paul to arrive so he could work his magic with the cornmeal. By the time he slid it onto the pizza stone, the unbaked pizza had arranged itself into a striking heart-shaped pie. I commemorated the event by borrowing Paul’s iPhone to take photos. After I was done, he asked, “Am I really living with someone who takes pictures of her food?”
To which I replied, “Yes.”
And then we ate.
It’s taken us a long time to make this move happen, due to our crazy-busy lives. I think I’m repeating myself, but what’s amazed me most is how easily we’ve brainstormed ideas on how to make this space work for two of us, after one of us has lived here for 4+ years. Actually, that’s not quite right. Though it’s awesome that we are creative problem-solvers, what has amazed me more is how I don’t feel like I’m losing anything in this transition. I expected to feel at least a little bit threatened by the prospect of living with a partner. I thought I might feel like I was losing part of myself, losing the home I’d carefully maintained throughout all these years of single life. And maybe I will feel the loss later, as we adjust to an everyday routine that includes the other. If those feelings bubble up, I’ll honor them as part of the process. But for now, all I feel is happy that we have arrived at this point, that our partnership is taking on a new dimension.
Today I came home from work, and I peeked into Paul’s room. He had been here earlier. I saw that the bed was made and there were books on his bookshelves. The room smelled like him, a vague clean scent. And on top of his bookshelf were two photo frames, one containing a photo of him from college, I presume. For a moment, I mused on the Paul in that photo. He would never know me, of course, but I felt this surge of love and protection for him, knowing that he would grow into the man I love now. I wanted to reach into the past to tell him that his future was going to be awesome, that he had so much to look forward to, that it might take a while to find me but he shouldn’t stop looking, that I’d be looking for him too.
Maybe that strikes you as too Time Traveler’s Wife, but gratitude makes me sentimental. I spent my early 20s watching my friends get married. I had concluded that I was too stubborn and curmudgeonly to build a life with someone. That was the story I stuck to, at least in my head. I wasn’t unhappy as a single person, and I’m sure it has given me the perspective to be a better partner now. But now, I feel like the best experiences that are ahead of me are those that will come from being part of a team. After all those years alone, it’s a tremendous gift to be with someone who is more than I could have hoped for in a partner.
My apartment for one has become a home for three (don’t forget about Lucy!). For now, I am content.
* That Paul made himself! Oh, I love it so much. I’ll have to show it to you when my camera returns.