It was seven years ago today that My Beloved and I first met.
A mutual friend invited him, me and a few other co-workers out for drinks after work. Having just learned that afternoon that my favourite Uncle's cancer was indeed terminal, I wasn't particularly in the mood to socialize, but because I had already promised to go to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto to hear my sister's school choir sing the anthem before the game, I reluctantly agreed.
I made a lousy first impression. I was quiet, sad and starving. I ordered a giant red pepper dip appetizer (which I didn't offer to share) along with a big blue martini, and proceeded to ignore virtually everyone at the table in favour of my plate and very, very welcome beverage.
My Beloved, not expecting a table full of people, was also quieter than normal - and cranky as a result of the stressful day he'd had at work.
So there we sat, me fully engaged in my dip and drink, and My Beloved quietly observing a crowd of strangers he didn't expect - or want - to be sitting with after a long, rotten day.
And yet somehow, seven years later, here we are.
Sometimes I look at pictures of us from those early days - the days before death stormed its way into our home making us far too old and far too sad before our time - and wonder at the innocence and joy I see in our eyes. We look so much younger in the smiling "before" pictures - even ones taken as late as three years ago.
Death takes its toll.
But there's something that pictures of us now, both older and wiser, can't possibly capture. It's the depth of our commitment and attachment to each other, and the unspoken understanding that we can survive the unthinkable as long as we're together.
Misery loves company, sure, but sorrow craves the security of knowing that a wounded heart has one place where it can find comfort and protection - a place where it knows it won't be subjected to more pain. A place where it can rest and heal.
I have that in My Beloved.
Seven years ago I had absolutely no way of knowing that the man I sat with for an hour after work would become My Beloved. Nor did I know that I would find such complete joy or such devastating sorrow in a life joined with his.
But I have, and I'm so thankful for every single second.
Yes, since I know you're wondering, even the farty ones.