The first time I met the Southerner he was 19 and I was 17. He came to Atlanta one weekend to visit a friend of mine hoping to get in her pants, met me, and hoped to get in my pants instead. We stayed up all night at my friend’s house talking about Henry Miller and listening to Morphine. Then we slept in the same bed together in the basement of my friend’s house, and while nothing happened, I can still remember the friction and nervousness I felt at being so close to him. After he left, we wrote each other letters about our teen-angst ridden lives and he sent me a story he’d written about me.
A couple months after our initial meeting he came back to Atlanta and took me out on a date. I was so nervous when he tried to kiss me at the end of the night I spilled an open cup of yogurt all over the inside of his car, jumped out of the car and never talked to him again. I had some pent up drama back in those days.
In the subsequent years I got married, then divorced and moved into my own place in Atlanta. During the move, I found the story the Southerner had written me and started to have a nagging feeling in the back of my head that I needed to talk to him. One night after a couple of glasses of wine, I googled him and he was the third link I found complete with a picture (thank you internet gods for allowing me to stalk someone so easily). After two more weeks of searching (ahem, stalking) I found his email address and sent him a really nutty email that went something like “Remember me? I’m that really crazy half-Hispanic girl who liked to talk about shit all the time. How have you been for the past 11 years?” I never actually thought he would respond. I just wanted to send something out into the internet and hope. He responded within two days and we started emailing each other volumes, catching up on our lives, and getting to know one another again.
Eventually we transitioned to the phone. I hate the phone more than mint toothpaste and movies that are in serious need of editing (Deer Hunter, for example). But we talked on the phone for four or five hours some nights. He had the sexiest Southern accent. The second time we spoke he called me from an airport in Miami and asked me if in a couple years I wouldn’t mind moving to the Keys with him and living our lives together. I thought he was utterly crazy, but I said yes, and I meant it.
During this time, I’d applied and been accepted to the Peace Corps. While I assured him that he wasn’t one of the reasons I turned the post down, I lied. A couple of months before we spoke on the phone, I’d made a list, at my mother’s insistence, of 21 qualities I wanted in a partner and the Southerner met all of them with the exception of one. It would’ve been hard to move to West Africa knowing that I’d left someone behind who was good with tools and loved to read.
Eventually, I flew out to New Orleans where he lived to meet him in person. I was so nervous I drove everyone at my office crazy the morning before my flight. I brought three different pairs of shoes with me to work and made everyone take a poll as to which pair they liked best. Then, I got so drunk at the airport bar I was worried I might throw up on him the minute we met. I think I loved him from the moment I saw him waiting for me by my gate exit, or at least I knew that I would love him. I’ve never been so excited to just know a person.
Six months later, after several flights back and forth to New Orleans and Atlanta, I moved to New Orleans. At this point, I loved him and New Orleans and luckily my work allowed me to have both. Right from our first conversations we talked about traveling. Both of us were shuffled around a lot as children and we like and adapt well to being in different places. Both of our jobs also make this possible and so we’ve ended up in Montana for the summer. Having done the long distance thing, I never take forgranted being able to wake up in the same bed together, living together, or even going on a date. I hope I never do.
So, anyhoooo, I love you viejo. Happy anniversary!
Thank you for:
Being one of the biggest supporters of this blog and allowing me to write about our lives here.
Bringing me home Milano cookies whenever you do the groceries.
Calling my dad and my brother sometimes just to say hello and see how they’re doing.
Taking my contacts out at night for me because I don’t like touching my eyeballs.
Always encouraging my ideas and taking them seriously, even when they begin with the words “I wonder if it would be fun to run a brothel? What do you think the taxes are like?”
Teaching me how to fish and bringing me to Montana.
The most loving and collaborative relationship I’ve ever had the privilege to be a part of.