I loved Roger's poems. Before I even knew him, I loved his poems. So one Friday afternoon in early October, I walked up to him with a boldness I'd never felt before and said, "I like your poems. We should be friends." And somehow, we were.
I spent the rest of the fall and winter hounding him into friendship, inviting him everywhere with me, breaking his curfew constantly. I decided I loved him right after my birthday, when he gave me a copy of Morning in the Burned House, and I knew for the first time that poetry could move a person. It took him a few months to figure out he loved me, too.
Long, painful months, if I'm remembering correctly, though they were filled with happy memories, too: singing "The General" and pulling an all-nighter on our way to Ithaca to see Rufus Wainwright; stealing his costume bow-tie from the last drama show I was in; slow-dancing to "Unchained Melody" at prom. One night in July, while we were watching The Butterfly Effect in the dark in my living room, he held my hand and I felt electric.
It could so easily have been a summer fling. We spent the hot months driving around in my convertible, listening to the Beach Boys. I wore a scarf and sunglasses. We spent hours together in the sun on the beach where I worked, and went out for ice cream at Friendly's so often one waitress there recognized me by my perfume. It was so serious, because we're both such serious people, but light in a way I'd never thought love could be. Mostly I expected it would end when I went to Sarah Lawrence, and that was hard.
|Bar Harbor, 2010|
|New York, 2011|
I think you know how the rest of the story goes. Instead, we grew closer, as we grew independently. Two years later, he decided to go to Hobart and I took a spot at Oxford. He visited me once classes let out for him, and we wandered around Europe together before both spending the summer learning French. The next spring, he spent a semester in Senegal while I graduated from Sarah Lawrence. The next summer, he lived in my apartment in Brooklyn and we celebrated our fifth anniversary by getting matching tattoos.
|South Salem, 2012|
We spent a year partying together almost every weekend in Geneva, where we met some of the people we still call our closest friends, and then he graduated too, and six years in, we decided to finally end this long-distance business. We both moved back to our hometown to save some money and plan our next moves. In 2011 we found our first apartment in Harlem and moved in together. We both went to grad school. We had some epic problems, but kept loving each other and saw our way through it. We ate a lot of take-out and then we both lost weight. I graduated and Roger found a new job that he loves. We moved to Brooklyn.
|New Haven, 2014|
Along the way, we visited nine countries on three continents, held fifteen jobs between us, and said at least a million I love you-s. Everyday, Roger makes me a kinder, more generous and adventurous version of myself. He encourages me to work harder for the things I care about, and his own passion for his work is a daily inspiration to me. With his intelligence, passion, and adventurous spirit, there's no with whom I'd rather explore this life and this world and all its challenges and beauties.
|New Years Eve is sort of our holiday. Here's how we spent the last 11 of them. The upper right-hand corner image is the first photo we ever took together. I like to think we've improved a bit in the past decade.|
Happy tenth anniversary, Roger. I love you!