In 2007, I starting dating a scuba diving instructor.
I had known him long ago in what feels like another lifetime (we have so many lifetimes, don't we?), I was 13 or 14, he was the teacher's assistant in my band class, and was 3 years older than me. I was terrified of facial hair at that age, he and his friends seemed so much OLDER. But they were always so nice to me, like the older brothers and sisters I might have had (this is still true, I feel like they all still look out for me 3 decades later, love you guys). He graduated, and I didn't hear much beyond the updates from our mutual friends.
In 2007, he texted me and said he was in town. Our shared group of friends has been going to a bar every Tuesday for decades, and he asked if I would be there, which I was. We had a lot of fun, lots of laughing and joking, and he invited me out for what I kept insisting was a "NON-DATE".
I knew liked him immediately.
We did the normal things people do on this NON-DATE, we went to dinner.
I ate all his food
We went walking around the downtown we both grew up in,
catching each other up on our lives
and all the old stories and experiences we shared,
all our common connections.
He must have been starving.
We had lived completely separate lives for a decade.
I remember, we kept walking and talking, and I didn't want the night to end,
I could have stayed in those hours indefinitely (and there are times now where I still see us there, feel us there, in our normal daily lives. It is the best).
He reached over and held my hand in his.
He is not a little guy, and I'm 5'4'' (I thought for most of my life I was 5'6'' but that is another story for another time) but his immense hand fit perfectly with my minuscule one. How funny 2 sizes fitting so well together.
I held his hand as we walked.
"Oh," I thought. "HERE he is."
Just from that simple gesture, I knew he was my partner.