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 doing...in 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|
|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?"