Happy anniversary to us! Nineteen years ago today - January 3, 1987 - Allan and I began the grand experiment of our domestic partnership.
The day itself will always be memorable to us, as it was rather dramatic - and exhausting.
We had been a long-distance relationship, shuttling between Burlington, Vermont and Brooklyn, New York whenever we could afford it, racking up monster phone bills when we couldn't. We also wrote letters - actual letters, on paper, sent through the US Mail - as this, oh young ones, was in the Dark Time, before the IT gods sent us email.
In the summer of 1986, we decided it was time for a change. (Read: I couldn't take it anymore.) We picked out a logical date, saved money, counted days. Much like we did last year while planning our move to Canada - only last year we knew what we were doing.
On January 2, 1987 I flew up to Burlington for the last time. A blizzard had locked in all of New England. People were strewn all over Newark Airport waiting to get out. My flight was delayed for many hours, there was a rumour it would be cancelled, and then, amazingly, we were boarding. On descent, the plane was rocking back and forth at 30-degree angles. When we landed, people cheered. It was the last flight into Burlington before the airport was shut down entirely.
Meanwhile, most roads in the area were impassable. A kindly co-worker took pity on Allan and picked me up at the airport in his truck.
That night, we packed all of Allan's earthly possessions into a small U-Haul, then stayed up all night in a state somewhere between panic, terror and elation. The next morning, the vehicle was completely snowed in. It took us more than two hours to dig out, and we finally flagged down a plow to tow us off the driveway.
We left Vermont with Bonnie Raitt singing "Angel From Montgomery". We drove through an ice forest of frozen trees. It was quiet and beautiful.
Then a car skidded across the road into our truck. We have no idea where he came from - an elderly man, disoriented, on a completely empty road. Everyone was fine, although both vehicles were damaged, and we've always wondered what happened to that man.
We drove. And drove. The U-Haul was a stick shift, and I don't know how to drive a manual, so I couldn't take a turn. Allan had an injured foot from... well, I wasn't there, so I'll never really know. Something about drunken horseplay on Christmas, and a fat guy he used to hang out with. By the time we hit New York City, Allan's foot was swollen and he was almost in tears from the pain.
But we made it.
When I think back on those people in that U-Haul, I barely recognize them. (And not just because they were thinner and had more hair!) We thought we were adults, and in many ways we were, but we were still so young and stupid. We knew so little about what we wanted, what shape our lives would take. We just followed our hearts and hoped for the best. Which is maybe all anyone can do, and all you can ask of life.
And here we are, 19 years later, in our cozy little house, in Port Credit, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, North America, Earth.
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On a more practical note, the restaurant we chose for our anniversary dinner is still closed for the holidays. This doubles our fun: tonight we'll celebrate at home with champagne, munchies and music, and next week we'll go to Splendido.