I met him the year I turned twenty-two, and maybe this is a sign that we should keep count of the significant things that happen to us, not the monotony of the years in between during which we are bystanders in our own lives. It would have been the year of disappointments, of looking and never finding, of not knowing what I was looking for, but then I discovered him. There comes a moment when you find all the clichés to be true, your stomach really does lurch and your skin tingles deliciously, the days stretch and disappear with no regard for time, even the weather is agreeable, as though the sun decided to cool off while you got to know each other.
It is the year I remember as the one in which I began to like myself, in spite of the friendships I lost on purpose and the job I never found, the days I stayed in because to have fun you needed money and I was too proud to ask, fearing the chill that overstayed its welcome in my bones and nails.
The first time he asked me if I wanted to accompany him, I didn’t wait before answering yes. For so long I had wanted to. “For so long I wanted to,” I told him. I was going to jump in, not remain content touching the water with my big toe, I didn’t care if it was too cold or too hot. I was giddy, breathing in his smell and eating his words, arguing and retreating, drunk on all the possibilities that stretched before me, and the vodka I chased with orange juice, learning that screwdriver could also mean a drink. One thousand days later, when it would be demanded of me to reveal what I saw in him, I would be puzzled, because never has a more pointless question been asked.
I don’t know if this story changes each time I narrate it. I know this though – on that first night when we stayed up and talked until we saw the dew appear on leaves and the sky discard its clothes, as we fought with our eyelids that tried their best to close, I knew then that this would be a story to remember.