All it took was a few months; a few months starting in a dingy, 12 x 7 room with carpet older than American politics and just as dirty. That’s all it took for me to know that I wouldn’t last the rest of this life without you. Okay, maybe that’s not entirely true. There were stints here and there when I was more in love with myself than anything else. And then there were other stints when, for whatever reason, the timing, structure, feeling, and meaning of our lives just didn’t call for the plans we had in our minds. But notwithstanding our growing pains as a pair, I can honestly say that it was in that room, tucked away in Provo Canyon, out of cell reception and farther than any pizza joint is willing to deliver, where you wrung your fingers around my heart and I resolved to never let you let go.
I was sitting in a broken swivel chair with both of my legs hanging over one of the armrests – talking to whomever about whatever – when Mara brought you into the back office to introduce you as Sundance’s newest employee. And it’s hard to pinpoint what went through my mind the first time I saw you because I’d hate for the first memory I have of you to be pedestrian, anything less than fireworks. But there weren’t any notable sparks, no string quartet. And I guess that’s okay, sometimes love-at-first-sight needs a double- or triple-take. And sometimes it needs months or even years to really stick.
But I do, however, remember what you were wearing; that blue floral top with the synch-tie thing in the front and a pair of faded jeans with ankle Converse. And I remember you crossed your arms in front of you and when you first smiled at me you didn’t show your teeth but when you laughed at a joke I made your entire body opened. I noticed your hair. And your eyes. And that you had no social currency in our office politics yet, but you knew better than anyone else that your worth couldn’t be handled or valued by anyone but you. I didn’t know much about you after first meeting you, but I knew you intimidated me. And I knew I wanted to know why. And I’m still trying to figure it out.
Two days into your job at Sundance, I decided you were the funniest girl I’d ever met. You did things with your face and made the most realistic fart noises with your mouth that I’d laugh more out of shock that someone as buoyant as you actually existed and that you’d taken me this long to find.
A week or two after you started, I knew for a fact that you could read my mind. It didn’t matter what it was – Broadway lyrics, 1950’s film lines, Jewish idioms – you always knew the exact reference I was about to make before I could even finish the thought in my mind.
It took about a month for me to realize you were probably the most lovely girl I’d known. It was your 25th birthday and you came to work with your hair curled and you wore that blue dress and before you blew out the candle on your birthday cookie you spent about 45 seconds constructing the perfect wish that I hope has since come true. And when I asked you what wild thing you wanted to do for your milestone 25th birthday you told me, “I want to take a long walk.” And you did.
And a few months after meeting you, we went on our first date. And when I walked to your front door to pick you up, I saw you through the front window playing your guitar. And I stopped and listened and watched you for a moment. And then we met my friends for steaks and you had the biggest one but still ate the leftovers off of everyone’s plate including mine. And then we all went to the corn maze and I tripped and fell into the corn stalks and rather than help me up you laughed so hard you peed your pants. And then we hopped onto an empty stage and danced and bowed to empty rows of chairs and laughed and my friends thought we were crazy. And then I dropped you off at your home and hugged you goodnight and breathed in your Pink Sugar perfume. And the next morning the smell of your perfume was still on the passenger seat belt. And every day after that, I was deep in love.
I don’t know what jobs will come and what jobs will go, but I know that wherever I arrive and regardless of circumstance, there’ll always be a part of me wanting to go back to that mildewed office. Back to the time of eating overpriced sandwiches by the creek and soaking our swollen feet in the water, using the Redford Center bathrooms because they stink infinitely less than the Creekside bathrooms, and taking shortcuts through the kitchen and holding your hand for everyone to see so the prep cooks will stop hitting on you. Back to a time of butterflies and confusing text messages. Back to a time of three hour-long goodbyes and holding in my gas when I’m around you. First kisses. First “I love you’s”. And first “I’m sorry’s”. Back to first engagements and then second engagements, because sometimes “no” simply means “not now” and that’s okay and no one’s to blame and I may not always understand you but I’ll always fight in your army.
Back to making minimum wage. And feeling like the richest man in the world.