August 7, 2012

The First Year

Getting distracted making dinner.

Today marks a full year since deciding to date one of my great friends and it's easily one of the best decisions I've ever made. But while we've been dating a year, our relationship started more than two years ago when we met. I remember telling someone once, slightly more than a year ago, about our friendship and how I didn't think it would come to be considering how it started, and then saying how very glad I was that it did.

Right off the bat this was the person I texted more than anyone else. We had immediately established a mutual love of food and burritos (and what he was eating, normally way past normal bedtimes) became a frequent topic of conversation. Part of this was fueled by my late night job which required me to eat dinner around 11pm, which was right around the time he'd be grabbing a burrito or carne asada fries. After I left that job I remember laying in bed once just before midnight and checked my phone: no text from my friend. And no texts the whole day or day before that, either. Suddenly that felt weird, even though we didn't necessarily text daily. I must have just gotten used to that communication.

A few months before we started dating I was fed up and frustrated... I had been off and on seeing someone I felt meh about and was ready for someone I'd feel more for. My mind kept going back to my friend, making me ask myself why we weren't dating. I couldn't explain it but something just wasn't there, and by then he'd become too good a friend to risk a short term fling (I really liked him and I didn't exactly have a good track record of staying in touch, much less staying friends, with people I dated). But I caught myself thinking about him more than I should if we were just friends, and way more than I should if I was sort-of-seeing someone else. This was someone who was ready to be there for me, someone who talked me to sleep when my psycho housemate had some sort of night terror, who picked me up to take me to get my car at a mechanic, who made me leap out of my bar stool at a restaurant when I saw him so I could go say hi, who felt comfortable asking me about the brief time we pseudo-dated to assess a strange rejection, who introduced me to great little restaurants, who took me to the zoo for our friendship zooversary, who took me on a day date to a theatre matinee... why, again, weren't we dating?

And then all of a sudden, through a strange turn of events I still don't fully understand, we were. And it was the easiest, least awkward, and most exciting time. When my phone buzzed from a text it was already likely going to be from him, but now my heart was doing little skips hoping it was him. I hadn't had that in... a long time.

It turned out that year of being friends, and growing into good friends, was what made me fall in love with him without even realizing it. All we did was acknowledge it. And because of that, I've been lucky enough to have spent the last year with someone who:
*Pulls me closer in the middle of the night, without realizing what he's doing
*Dances with me in the grocery store (rather, dances next to me while I stand there looking awkward)
*Tells me I'm weird. And silly.
*Turns on Friends and laughs hysterically at all the same parts
*Brings me a cupcake from our favorite dessert place, just because I was having a bad day (and flowers just because)
*Sends me romantic text messages randomly, even ones that just have a heart
*Wanted to collaborate on a blog about food
*Looks at me in a way I've never been looked at before
*Is not afraid to be honest or direct with me
*Will eat anything I make, even banana bread
*Noticeably talks with me openly about our differences or disagreements
*Makes me feel like a real partner, an equal

Now this is a better representation of us.

When I wrote about having a boyfriend a week after we made things official I had said that I'd never felt this way about someone, that there hasn't been a person I've been this crazy for. Ever. A year later that's still true. I still, 12 months later, get that in-love feeling. I look at him when he's just sitting there, or playing with his dog, or editing photos, or (my favorite) out cold asleep, and get this wonderful surge of love. 

I get a similar feeling from his dog. From night one Argo has slept next to me (that might have far more to do with me being new than with me being me, but it still feels nice), sandwiching me in between him and my boyfriend, and as time has gone on he's seemed to get more attached and more comfortable with me. When the boyfriend is in the other room, Argo will come and hang out with me on the couch, and he's relaxed enough now to fall asleep on the couch spread out up against me or let me bury my toes in his warm fur. Through training and conditioning, partially due to my efforts but mostly due to the efforts of my boyfriend who immediately wanted us to have a deep connection, the dog now listens to my commands (mostly) and has developed an interesting level of respect for me that's entirely different from the respect he gives his dad. I'm still the fun one, but when I have to lay down the law he listens. And I can't help but think, when all three of us are cuddled on the couch, what a great little family we make. Now, to get the cat on board...

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