I used to brag that I had every rose anyone had ever given me.

I don’t know if that says more about the state of my love life or my angst quotient. It wasn’t a few roses; it was many, dried and hanging in strands and streamers from the ceiling in one apartment, as carefully threaded curtains in another. I preserved them delicately, protection against some future where no-one ever gave me another rose.

I lived like that; live like that, if I’m being completely honest. I hoard food, candy, money, waiting for some day my internal clock tells me is inevitable, the day I can’t somehow acquire a bar of chocolate or really need a $2 Canadian coin.

And then I bumped into someone from my past. My distant past, truth be told, third grade Koosh fights in the schoolyard and sneaking out past the chainlink fence to the river on recess. My Nintendo-playing bike-riding past.

I’d learned things in the meantime. How to save a rose. How to make pickles, and restore hardwood floors. How to rewire an old house and hand-sew a hoop skirt.

But so had he.

He’d learned to kill. He’d learned to watch friends die, and move on.

And he’d learned to send lilies so I couldn’t preserve them, and to say nerdy things like “I love you sideways 8” when our only connection was email over thousands of miles of connecting line. He taught me to spend money on experiences instead of things, and to let things go when they break.

Which is good, cause he breaks a lot of my things. I’m pretty sure he survives through sheer durability.

And he leaves socks in the middle of the floor and steals the fans and eats the last of the noodles I was saving for breakfast and sets trash right next to the trash can.

But he’s also really good at the parts of grownupping that I struggle with, like putting shit in the actual calendar, and making phone calls, and going to the store for stuff on days when that feels like a really overwhelming thing to have to do. Why are there so many humans at the store, anyway? Surely they don’t all need to be buying eggs at 2pm.

I’ve been thinking about this lately because on August 8 one year during a giant heat wave when I was so cranky I wasn’t paying any attention, he proposed. And I’ve been thinking how damn nice it is to have a partner in crime whose statements aren’t admissible. But mostly I’ve been thinking that we still don’t have an air conditioner and it’s like 97 degrees and a thousand percent humidity out so I’m probably going to miss something else important.picture-01026