Friday evening when I got to Hugh's place, I decided to go eat somewhere a little more expensive than the frugal options he suggested, because I wanted pasta, not a sandwich. And I remembered something on the way there.
We had a good meal, appetizers and seafood pasta and dessert. As we walked through the parking lot back to the car, I said "Happy more-or-less anniversary."
"Oh, yeah," he said, "I guess it must be two years since that Steampunk World's Fair."
I smiled and held up one finger. "Just one. It only seems like forever."
It seems only appropriate that we measure our relationship by conventions and not by calendar days. Three years, four months since the Arisia when I got brave enough to introduce myself to a stranger with beautiful brown eyes. Two years, three months since the Wicked Faire where I turned myself into a photographer's assistant and earned myself a second chance at a friendship derailed by an unhealthy crush. Twenty months since the New York Maker Fair when I saw a tie with tentacles, and realized that against my better judgment, I'd fallen in love with someone who doesn't just have issues, he has the entire print run. Eighteen months since the Philcon when he didn't say, "I just don't feel the same," but instead said, "I'm not there yet, but please don't give up on me. Fifteen since Wicked Faire when he told me the first time that he thinks of me as a partner. A year since Steampunk World's Fair, when both of us were finally pretty sure that the thing between us was actually a relationship. Nine months since Summerfest, when dealing with awkward questions made us stop quibbling over terminology and go public about it all over the Internet.
Every day that we're together is a lovely gift that I never take for granted. I had mostly lost hope that anyone would ever again find anything about me desirable. It's still hard for me to believe that he isn't going to come to his senses someday and stop wasting his time with me. I still get nervous about making plans more than a couple of months out. And yet, for the first time in a very long time, I'm willing to ignore my conviction that nothing lasts forever. He makes me want to promise always.
It gets harder from here. His financial situation is worse than dire. Mine is OK only as long as my job lasts, which will probably be no more than six months from now. Things have to change, very soon. And they're going to get worse before they get better. I am afraid, not just about what the future holds, but also that I might not be strong enough. There's going to be a lot to cope with, and coping is not my best skill. But by God, I will fight tooth and nail to hang in there and hold us together to deal with whatever is in store. He makes me happy. He helps me be the person I want to be. I love him, so damn much that those little words are too tiny to hold all I feel.
And a year from now, more or less, I want to look back at the fears and worries I have today and laugh about them together. Or cry, or anything. As long as we do it together, it'll be just fine.