we fell in love on a friday afternoon. at a park frequented by pregnant women walking with strollers, overachievers exercising and tribes of homeless relaxing across the street near the side of the library. we were supposed to meet friends at the park and hang out, play bocce ball, drink coffee. no one else showed up except us.
eleven am to four pm. we sat on a big spread out sleeping bag, sandwiches untouched. he drew. i wrote. (i think i wrote the same sentence over and over to look busy.) he found songs on his ipod and played them for me, one by one. to tell you the truth, i think we barely spoke. just sat there. together. i left the park walking in stop motion, made out of metal shavings, shifting with each breath of air.
we didn't kiss until the next day, a sweet first kiss next to my car before we headed out to a friend's house to drink wine and smoke cigarettes. when i closed my eyes, i saw sunflares.
we said 'i love you' on day three. both of us not quite acting like ourselves, all in with one heavy push of the hand, the pot in the middle filled with promises to make the absolute best of what we found sitting under the tree in the park that afternoon.
shortly after i found out i was pregnant the first time, we almost broke up. it was serious. we cracked in tiny pieces and i sat looking at the shards of us spilling all over the linoleum thinking there is no way to glue this back together. i tried and tried to put the pieces back in their right spots and all i saw were the cracks. i blamed him for ruining my fairy tale. and then i remembered: i never (even as a child) wanted to be a damsel in distress, rescued by a prince with a foot fetish. so we slowly collected the pieces and put them in a jar for safe keeping. for months, we would find tiny shards stuck in corners, hidden near baseboards. with each new piece found, bryan would hand it to me and i would put it in the jar, safe and visible.
we became two different people entirely, stripped of all of our preconceived notions about love and lust and relationships and the truth. we learned how to be ourselves with each other without leaving scars. we are still learning that, i think. and i'm not sure it's something you ever really stop learning. because with each new ring of the tree under our belts, there are scratches on the walls and marks on the floor. there is a mess left behind.
i will never forget the way the afternoon smelled the day bryan and i sat in our living room, angles askew, the fork in the road stuck in our thighs. we chose to stay. we chose to move on. we chose to rebuild what we had destroyed and create something entirely new.
we chose each other.
i have not regretted my choice. not once.
and i left the shards of our broken past in our old apartment in the crime-filled neighborhood where we learned what we were worth to each other.
we're worth more than the silly preconceived notions.
so much more.
i remember the afternoon in the park like it was yesterday. because i unlocked the part of my ribcage that was previously walled in steel. i opened the door and silently invited him in.
and he came in.