Thursday, November 15, 2012

What Does This Remind You Of?

Today, Brendan and I were sitting in the coffee shop at Barnes and Noble both reading books that we purchased (despite the fact that we both have way too many books at home waiting to be read) was the middle of the day. I had to look up and say "What does this remind you of?" Immediately, Brendan said, "Books a Dozen." (Books a Dozen is what we lovingly call Books a Million...due to the small selection, actually, this phrase was coined by our program director Neil Connelly's 5 year-old son).

It was almost uncanny.

Here's why: Back in graduate school, shortly before we started dating, every Tuesday, Brendan and I would meet up at the Lake Charles Books a Million for coffee and reading time. We read workshop stories, or, at least, that's what we were supposed to be reality, we usually ended up talking, for four hours, which has been incredibly typical of us since we met in April 2008.

When the Books a Million meet ups took place, it was during the hardest period of my adult life. It is not an over-exaggeration to say that I looked forward to these Tuesdays more than anything else. Brendan brought joy and laughter to a difficult time, and it was easy to be happy around him. For those few hours, I could be living in the present. On those days, I knew what love should feel like: being uplifted and feeling secure, and giving your best to someone--seeing one another as real people, flaws and all, and staying there. We were both too busy and had too many things going on (thesis, classes we were taking, classes we were teaching), and yet, we always, always stayed.

Coffee turned into long walks later in the day. We did not tire of each other's company. And though at the time, those days were both wonderful and agonizing for me (were we friends, were we more?), I look back on them now with such fondness, and I feel close to tears just thinking about them. The place was so magical for us, and graduate school was a wonderful time in our lives. The friends we had there...I could never describe the experience and do it justice, so I'm glad Brendan lived through it with me, that we both already understand.

Lake Charles, Books a Million 
And things change...we've moved to a brand new city, we're both employed college teachers instead of struggling graduate students, and we went from being friends to being engaged. We've had to make all new friends. We traded the swamp for the desert and humidity for dryness. If we want workshop stories, we have to write them ourselves. We still have Tuesday afternoons off together though (after 1pm)...and you know, it's funny that while the world around us looks completely different from before...there are many things that have stayed the same:

Midland, Barnes and Noble 

These hours spent over coffee and books, revealing in our shared passion and companionship...they still make me fall in love with him even more. I still look forward to these times so much. I look outside and it's a different parking lot and a different shopping center, but it feels just like where we came from. Because if there is one thing about love I know, it's this: It doesn't matter where you are, where you've been, or where you're going. It only matters who you're with. 

Here's to a lifetime of coffee shops in bookstores, Brendan. May we sit at one in fifty years and say "What does this remind you of?" 
<3 S 

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