Yesterday was the first anniversary of the day B and I met in person.
He picked me up from work and chuckled. “I recognize that shirt.” I was wearing the outfit I had worn to the Thai restaurant. And he too, had put on what he’d worn that first “date,” though I didn’t recognize it. (Gray t-shirt with writing on it; I remember it as a plain gray shirt. Ah, well.)
There was a package wrapped up and tied with string on the passenger seat of his car, and a little glass bottle of a variety of colorful flowers that he’d picked from around his house. In the back of the car was the old Coleman cooler he’d recently acquired for our upcoming road trip.
Back at my place, an album and a card on my kitchen table waited for B. For months I have been working on a scrapbook of our first year. I’m not a scrapbooker, and I don’t really enjoy the tediousness of cutting and gluing things. But, those albums with sticky pages are bad for photos, so embark upon my first scrapbook project I did. Gradually, I realized I wasn’t going to get anywhere near finishing it. So right now he has May through September, and maybe the rest will be done by Christmas. I can’t help but be thorough and I read through this blog, my journal, and our emails for all the details, so I included things like, “Today we got deli sandwiches and watched x movie” and then printed out a little picture of the movie cover. Yes, very time-consuming.
That morning, I’d picked out a blank card and sat down to write to him. I got a little teary and had to put it aside and try again a few minutes later. B got a little teary himself when he read the card, and he took my hand and said those things back to me. Then I gave him the scrapbook. He paused at every page and told me his memories. I put the first postcard he sent me in it, and he told me how he’d had to go all over looking for stamps, what the cashier said when he paid, and then how he went all over looking for a mailbox. Each page in the scrapbook elicits memories for him that I can’t know; we each experienced everything in our own way… He didn’t look at it all–he said needs to do it in small doses because there’s so much emotion associated with everything. So I opened my paper packages from him. There were three tied together, and in each one was a t-shirt that he’d hand-dyed. The shirts were made from bamboo and organic cotton and he’d tried to do each one a different color. One was made with blueberries and mulberries, and it’s turned out to be a lovely shade of…sage. (Which I actually really like, but he was going for purple.) He told me how it was a completely different color when it was freshly dyed, and then different after the boiling vinegar and still different after the sun drying, and I understood how hard he’d labored over the process. One was made with turmeric, so he told me not to wear it if I was going to get sweaty because I might turn yellow. =)
Then he kicked me out of my kitchen. When he escorted me back in twenty minutes later, he handed me a handwritten menu, and the spread on the table was amazing and lovely. He’d made rice with green curry (I love green curry) and there were strawberries and peaches (my two favorite fruits). And lots of other things. We ate and ate. I brought out the brownies I’d made him, and they went quite well with the whipped cream and chocolate sauce he’d made. Then he asked if my house was shaking. Indeed it was. I’d felt earthquakes in other places in California I’d lived, but never here. For a moment we feared that we were feeling far-away tremors from a huge Bay Area quake, but we looked it up, and there was no disaster. Of course we made jokes about feeling the earth move. It’s definitely going in the scrapbook.
We took pictures of each other with the food and the gifts and the flowers and he kept making fun that every time he looked over at me, I was smiling. “What?” I said. “I smile when I’m happy.”