Last Friday marked our fifth wedding anniversary. For some reason five years seems like such a milestone, much more than six or seven years. It scares me how quickly time passes. I try not to think about it because when I do, I get overwhelmed knowing there will never be enough time.
I ask myself at least once a day how I was lucky enough to meet Charlie. Seriously, how did I get this lucky? How did I manage to find someone who would love me so completely, someone who would make me better everyday, would challenge me and always support me? I can't believe we recognized what we had when we were so young. I can't believe we married five years ago, especially when I consider how much my love has grown since then. My feelings now so overshadow my feelings then, it's wonder we got married when we did! It makes me realize just how fitting our wedding song was.
Before celebrating with a wonderful dinner at Graham Elliot, we pulled out a book I complied in 2004 of our correspondence up to that point. We read through the first letters we ever exchanged in 2002. We read through hilarious emails sent while I studied abroad and Charlie taught in Harlem. We recalled old nicknames and tried to make sense of inside jokes. I laughed so hard I cried (I think I was much funnier back then). We read through the heartbreaking letters we sent during a year spent apart.
One letter in particular struck a note with me. Charlie sent it to me in January of 2004. I was approaching my final semester of college, he was beginning his second semester as a first year teacher in a tough Baltimore school. Little did I know we were four months away from getting engaged.
With Charlie's permission I'm sharing the letter because it manages to speak volumes of where we were then and where we are now. He's also a great writer and has always managed to put his feelings into words better than I.
January 5, 2004
You are the best part of my life. You are the happy - the meaning - the future. There is a pure unmitigated goodness that I feel spreading over me when we are together. We are together on a couch or at a table or walking and a part of my mind steals state-of-the-union thoughts and smiles. We are talking out loud or with our eyes or with our bodies and I am thinking: "Myndi is mine. We will be like this forever. I love that she loves me. That she chooses me. That she is moving to Baltimore and we can spread our future like a map on a table and decide together." I am astonished at your grace. Your honesty. I want to be clean and clever and powerful for you. I want to always entertain the ethereal romance we conjure together.
You know what I'm looking forward to? I'm looking forward to the changes we'll go through together. I'm looking forward to all of our developments that we'll earn with conversations that run late into the night. The stressful expressions that will bend into smiles as we work together.
Thousands of memories of our time together rain down on me, packaged and separate. I am proud of what we've done so far. My head reels with the prospect of our future. I don't know what it will bring, but I know it will be good because we will be together.
I flip through our life together in an imaginary stack of photos, some yellowed more than others. Our first house - on an airplane wearing berets - first days of school - family holding hands (all tragically hip) - the dated clothing and haircuts - on a ski slope - graying hair and coffee on the porch - a book signing - a holiday party - the wedding - in Moscow - sailing - someone else's wedding - at dinner with great friends - kissing - at the Grand Canyon (on donkeys) - pregnant - laughing - at a bonfire on the beach - white hair and our grandchildren - after the hip replacement - our futuristic flying car - hoverboards - our irresistible children missing front teeth - a robot maid - by the pyramids...
My love for you stretches infinitely into the future. Know that this letter and all the things I've written you and said are merely windows through which I try to show you the infinite reaches of what you do to me. I love you in a way that is at once necessary and transcendent. There should be a word for that. Or at least a simile...let's see...hmm...in the borrowed wisdom of a modern genius: I love you like a fat kid love cake.
You are the best part of my life, as you always will be. There is a new strength and maturity that we earn together because we are together. I love building this with you. I am always yours.
Love from places I never knew existed -