Every August we have the same conversations, this is the day I arrived in California, this is the day we met, this is the day you went out of your way to find me a Starbucks, this is the day we took that walk. You talked about robots and were so nervous. Pieces of the story that we never forget, that never fade into the mirage of the rest. The beginning of us.
It seems like anything before us was a lifetime ago. There was childhood. College. Us.
Five years now.
The late summer air was thick and warm, typical of Bell Buckle, Tennessee. The barn was swept and decorated, not a single centerpiece looked the same, much to the chagrin of my best friend. Mugs filled with coffee beans, table numbers and crayons. Paper on the tables for drawing. Twinkle lights strung across the loft. And a certain magic in the legacy of this barn, a story that needs to be pressed between pages for safe keeping, another time.
There was the moment I will always cherish, a sweet reverie just for me, as if to close one chapter and signal another. As quickly as it came, it passed and Moon River filled the open air, my cue forward.
It happened beautifully, with a mix of blurred parts and pieces etched in the stonework of our memories. And every year we retell and reminisce. It was a great day, absolutely, full of lovely details and special moments, but it was simply the beginning of our story, the first pieces of exposition that set the scene. The ruffles in the dress that mixed with the pleats at the bottom. The way his face changed when I walked around the corner. How we tried so hard not to laugh during communion as we watched flies feast on our bread. The beginning is what draws us in and hooks us, but the rest, that is why we keep reading… living.
The plot thickens, the characters evolve and grow, you begin to root for them through trials and find yourself in the most unexpected places.
This year, number five, it’s been full. A husband working two jobs, two marvelous, loud creatures that sink deeper and deeper into our hearts, blurring the parts before them, redefining the meaning of exhaustion. The pursuit of dreams, pressing on through glimpses of beauty and struggle and waiting and blessing. Pages full of love and light and shadows and painted skies and new mercies.
This is the part of long days, tired hands, and hard work, where love is decorated less in white dresses and slow dances, but in stolen moments, shared glances, and masked laughter (caused by your kid saying the most ridiculous and brilliant things when they are trying to get out of trouble or eating dinner or going to bed). And it’s no less beautiful. This where were love grows and matures and deepens, refined in the fires of time.
Anniversaries allow us to retell our story from the beginning, to celebrate all the pages that have been filled in since the last year, and dream about the ones to come.
five years later, it’s still my favorite.