Note to self: “It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy;—it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.” (Jane Austen)

Two years ago, my life changed.  I don’t know quite how to put words to the one story I have come to love the most. Sometimes the words come pouring out and it is all ready to post when I realize that the beauty of that written thought is that it is entirely mine and it seems a pity to share it so widely. Perhaps this is selfish, like hiding in a corner so one can eat a slice of chocolate cake in peace. But for just a little moment, I want to gush to you over how my life has changed.

I grew up with the hopes and dreams of a knight in shining armor, a prince charming, a lover and a friend. Over and over again, the sails of my dream ship were shredded by the grapeshot of a range of fellows ranging from careless to spiteful. Consequently, I slowly stopped mending the sails and set to a row boat wherein I could just put my head down and row like crazy to who-knows-where. I was so focused on rowing I didn’t even realize that someone had started rowing next to me. It honestly took me a whole year of rowing with that someone coming in and out of my life for me to realize that he had found my abandoned ship and fixed its sails.

In that moment, when I first met JR, I felt like the dreams that had been folded up, put away, and forgotten, were flung out from their mind drawers into the fresh open air and were singing for attention. From the first date, he asked me out for coffee (oh, I had always wanted to be asked out for coffee!), he opened my door (hello, chivalry!), and he paid for it all (lanta, somebody’s mama raised him well!).  But then it went further and my hard, so-much-broken heart melted little by little when I heard him pray over our food, when he took me to a baseball game and bought me a hot dog, when he took my pace with no hint of frustration though I know I have done so, when he laughed at my horrible jokes, when he didn’t laugh at my genuine dumb questions, when he kissed me on a summer night for the first time after a whole month of dating, when he said, “I love you,” and I knew that he actually meant it, when he chose me…twice.

He isn’t perfect and I am so glad of it. His flaws, though, make him beautiful. His armor isn’t all shiny, but then if it were shiny that would mean he had never seen battle. He is my champion knight, a survivor and fighter. He has redefined the meaning, the feeling of tender lover, of devoted friend. He makes me want to be better “all of the days and all of the times.” My heart has been smiling so hard for what feels like so long, I don’t know how to contain the joy. Sometimes the joy spills out in tears of disbelief and I wonder if this is all just a story in my head. But then, my phone flashes, my door knocks, a warm hand takes mine and I realize that it is so very real. I hope you’ll pardon my mush, but I had to commemorate this day beyond just the gushy feelings inside and tell you just a little how very much I love the one who has changed my life.