Ten years ago today, at ten-thirty p.m., I was taking a nap on the couch in my living room. I had planned to meet friends from work that night, but I was exhausted and ready to call it off. At eleven, I sat up and decided to go out anyway, which is good, because that is how I met Laurea.
The universe of ways I could have crossed paths with Laurea, even when you set aside the infinitesimal luck of her and my even existing, was tiny. She was from California, here on vacation, meeting a casual friend—the girlfriend of one of my coworkers—just for the night. Sometime shortly after eleven o’clock on June 8, 2002, from a block away, I saw her waiting in front of a bar on Ludlow Street; when I closed that distance, she gave me a really hard handshake and said two words: “I’m Laurea.” That was the last moment in my life that I did not know her.
We spent the summer together, decided cautiously when she went back to California to stay together “as long as it felt right”, outlasted a two-and-a-half-year long-distance relationship, built a life in New York with each other, hiked twenty-four miles through the Ventana Wilderness with seven Power Bars and two Cup o’ Noodles, got married (woo!), traveled the world, and became two sides of a personality that I’m really proud of.
In 2008, six years after we met, I started my wedding vows by saying, “When I first fell in love with you, I had this thrill of knowing you existed.” Let’s not even discuss the being-with-each-other, the commitment, the long-distance video chats, the co-ownership of cats, or the wedding rings. It is hard for me to believe that somebody as amazing as my wife ever came to be; it takes my breath away that we met at all, and I pinch myself daily as a reminder.
That thrill I feel at our co-existence (amazing!) has flourished with time, and when I woke up this morning, I looked into Laurea’s eyes, still as big and open and loving and demanding and confident and caring as the ones I fell in love with in the summer of 2002, and said, “Ten years.” I like a wedding anniversary as much as anybody else, but a handshake’s a handshake, and I gotta say: This has been a pretty amazing decade.