Today is my wedding anniversary. Three years ago today I got married.
Matt and I first met in early 2005. We were in a one-act play festival together (I almost wrote one-cat play festival, which would be AWESOME), and we met when I was hanging out backstage with my friend Debs. Matt walked in and immediately took off his shirt (because he had to change, not because he wanted so show off his sweet abs), and I remember thinking three things:
1. He is totally my type
2. He looks super young, though
3. Don’t let him catch you staring at him
Later, during the same festival, I came backstage and saw him sitting alone. For some reason I’d gotten it into my head that he was 18, and I felt super gross that, at 22, I had a giant crush on an 18 year old.
One thing that you have to know about me is that I have a history of saying awkward things at awkward times. This explains why, when I found him there, I immediately blurted out, are you really only 18?
No, he said, giving me a weird look, why? Did someone say I was?
No reason! I said, trying to sound super casual and not like a possible cougar. But, um, how old are you?
20, he replied.
Oh. 20. Well, that was do-able (literally, heh).
Okay, I said, starting to back away from him. Well, that’s good! Good to know, I mean. Okay bye!
At the cast party a few days later, we kissed. Then we kissed some more. This was all well and good, except that the party was at the apartment of someone I didn’t really know, and now we were making out on a stranger’s bed. So I asked Matt if he wanted to come back to my place, and he said yes.
Here’s the thing: I was 22 and had never had a one night stand. Though I’d had a succession of roommates who had brought the occasional stranger (or familiar face) home from the bar or a party, I’d never been brave enough to try it myself.
As we walked back to my place in the wee hours of a bitterly cold early spring morning, I couldn’t help doing a little silent preening.
This is it, gloated my inner monologue. My first one-night stand. I am finally a cool grown up who does cool things like bring strangers home. Home to my BED, that is.
(Oh God I hope my mother isn’t reading this)
The problem with the whole one night stand thing was that it turned out that I really liked Matt. I realized this the next morning when we went out to The Spartan (the greasiest of greasy spoons) for breakfast. We were all messy morning hair and bleary, happy eyes, and the old Greek women clucked their tongues scoldingly as they brought us our food.
We giggled as the women retreated behind the counter, occasionally throwing us dark looks while muttering in a language neither of us understood. We know what you’ve been up to, their eyes seemed to say.
It probably didn’t help that Matt had several large hickeys on his neck. Whoops.
We had so much to talk about that morning. I don’t remember any of what was said, but I do remember thinking, this is good.
We saw each other fairly frequently over the next couple of weeks. At some point Matt started to want to define our relationship, but I was hesitant. I’ve never been great at relationships, and I figured that what we had was so nice, why should we risk screwing it up?
Plus, I really loved how grown-up it sounded to say, Oh, him? No, he’s not my boyfriend, he’s just the guy I’m sleeping with.
Then, after several months of not paying the utilities bills, my power was shut off and everything kind of went to hell. We had no electricity, and no hot water. Until we got our shit together and figured this out, my roommate and I needed to find other places to stay.
I called Matt in tears, expecting him to say that he didn’t have room for me.
Come on over, he said. Just come whenever and stay as long as you want.
Later that day I showed up at his front door with a knapsack full of clothing and frozen food. He hugged me and carried my bag upstairs.
At that moment, I realized that he was definitely my boyfriend.
Even after my power was turned back on, I stayed on at Matt’s place, all through that spring and summer. When I think back to that time, it has this sort of enchanted, hazy in-between feel to it. The days were cold and wet, even well into the month of June, and we spent most of our time together in bed. We drank wine and ordered in Chinese. We rented the first two seasons of The O.C. and watched episode after episode, pretending we were sitting in the warm California sun.
We were so young. 20 and 22. That’s crazy.
On September 12th 2009, I walked down the aisle of a tiny stone country church while my friends Rachel and Caitlin played the cello and clarinet. I had a crown of flowers in my hair and Matt, who was waiting for me at the altar, wore a kilt. My smile was impossibly huge; he had tears in his eyes.
Afterwards we went to the Officer’s Mess at the Royal Military College, which had this wonderful feeling of old-world shabby-gentility. We ate, we drank, we danced, we sat by the water and watched someone set off fireworks on Wolfe Island.
Our wedding wasn’t big, or fancy, but it was perfect. I’m a big believer in not thinking of your wedding as the happiest day of your life but, you guys, it was so happy.
And here we are, three years later. This morning I was woken up in the dark hours of the night by Theo wanting to nurse, something which would usually bother me. Today, though, it was different. Waking up to feed my baby reminded me how far we’ve come since we first met, how happy I am that we’ve been on this journey together, and how amazed I am that we made this tiny, sturdy, independent little person. So instead of my usual grousing at having to get up late at night, I leaned over, kissed Matt, and said, happy anniversary.
I love you, Matt. I’m so happy that you’re in this with me.
In case you were wondering, this is the song we danced our cheesy first dance to:
And then the next day I got really fucked up on Ativan and flew to Paris for the Best Honeymoon Ever, but that’s another story for another time.