We met in high school, though not the same one, and through mutual friends who are no longer friends. I think I was 14, maybe 15, and Joe a year older. A sweet, perhaps non-committal coupling at first, we stayed together, officially or not, through those years. We lived weekend to weekend when we could see each other, when our parents were willing to drive the 40 minute distance, and we filled the gaps with phone and online conversations, however heartfelt or inane. It was fun and dramatic and hard and silly and I loved it every minute of it.
When Joe graduated and left for college in Buffalo, I waited. In my school search, I was led to Canisius, the Jesuit haven in the sketchy heart of Buffalo. It was not my first choice. But they offered me a hefty scholarship (one I apparently was not worthy of at NYU or Smith), so I visited. And it was right, the school and the city; and I’m sure Joe had nothing to do with it.
As a sophomore, and him a junior, we decided to live together, much to the dismay of his four male roommates. We will never do that again. After that treacherous semester, we found our own space, downtown in the colorful Allentown neighborhood. We could be creative and crazy, messy and clean, all in our own little place. And we felt like real adults, together.
We’ve been together 6 years now, almost 7. And right now, between graduations, engagements, and other life events, I feel as though everything is changing. But I stand at an impasse with the most important constant in my life, my Joe. I will love him forever, madly, stupidly, sweetly, and deeply.
(photo: circa 2006)