Halloween 2012. (Charlie’s Birthday!)
I’m just gonna break it down for a minute here – you know, get all sappy and lovey and emotional, and maybe even shed a tear (seriously). Three years ago I met the man I so lovingly refer to as Charlie, even when he’s in trouble. (His mother prefers to call him Joe. Pft. That’s just his real name.) We met in a bar (you really can meet the love of your life in one of those) and he bought me a shot of whiskey and I resisted the urge to throw up because I was 21 and had never tasted whiskey let alone smelled it, and some song came on and we danced and by the end of the night he asked for my phone number and I was holding his hand and rambling some drunken nonsense.
We hung out a few times, and by the fourth time I felt it was necessary to know things such as age and last name. Well, my jaw dropped when the words “thirty-six” left his lips and he shifted a little in his seat, too, when I stated my age. But, as we’d just been laughing and talking about music and movies and making plans to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, I took another sip of my wine, shrugged my shoulders, and kissed him.
After that, almost every night turned into dawn and notes were scribbled onto paper towels and left where he would find them when he woke up and I had to leave for class, and those words, that “thirty-six” had faded from my mind as fast as it had appeared, because my heart was beginning to grasp at something that does not know such limits as age (no worry of legality here). I was sleepless for weeks but so high off of my own happiness I didn’t even notice until I was in his arms, in his bed, listening to that Company of Thieves song and watching the flames from the candles on his book stand flicker against the ceiling. I’d never dated anyone who liked Jazz, and his bedroom was filled with books and albums and instruments and artists I had never heard of and it was clean, a room of someone who was responsible and it made me smile.
He still smells the same as he has since we met and I still love to bury my face in that little crease between his neck and shoulder and inhale. You know how a familiar smell can bring you to a specific moment in time and space?
We spent time – weeks, months, laughing and playing and drinking and learning about each other. He taught me, I taught him, I’d found an equal who held more life experience in their grasp yet didn’t hang it over my head as if my age were a sure sign I knew nothing at all. We’d never had such a large age difference in the dating realm. But it worked. It worked – and works – beautifully.
A year flew by, then another, the few fights we have (knock on wood) end in hugs and kisses and someone cracking some nonsense joke. We talk in strange voices and make strange faces and sometimes we look deeply at each other for a second or a minute and go right back to whatever it was we were doing. We watch television and he wraps a single finger and my single finger, he’s scraped the frost off my windshield since the first time we got snowed in together. We live together and he still walks me to my car even at seven in the morning. He tells me to be careful when I leave to go shopping. I say I’m cold and a minute later there’s a blanket on my lap. I make him coffee, sometimes I make the bed, I try my best to be as amazing as he is but I can’t even compare. I break things and I can’t cook but he loves me anyway.
We are so, so, so lucky, those of us who feel this sort of love. Knowing there’s another human being who can look at me when there’s a pimple between my eyes and there’s eyeliner from two days ago streaming down one side of my face and I’m wearing slippers and Christmas pajamas in September, knowing this person can still look at me and have a genuine smile spread across his face as he leans in and kisses my chapped lips? No. Words.
To you, Charlie; you saw me through one of my darkest moments this past year, you have, and continue, to treat me like a queen, you accept all of my quirks and my craziness (and maybe even embrace it), and you support me in every single thing I do. And I will always do the same for you. We’re buying a house, we’re just getting started, and I get to spend the rest of my life with you. So, what about that age difference thing? The man stole my heart – I have to follow it.
“There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.” – Sarah Dessen
At the end of, at the end of the world
Will you find me?
So that we can go together