Saturday, February 24, 2007


Those of you who figured out what enneadecahebdoversary meant, or caught some other clue I’ve given about timing, or know Hannah and me well and have a knack for dates, will realize that today Hannah and I are celebrating six months together. (Yes, I know “hexa” is a Greek prefix which I’ve stuck on a Latin-based neologism. But I decided a while back that the Greek numerical prefixes are almost always cooler and even more natural-sounding than the Latin ones. “Seximensiversary”? Does that work at all? Plus, it has too many overtones in English.) Honestly, I did more for Valentine’s Day than I’m doing for today, partly because I completely lost track of the dates and didn’t realize this was coming up until yesterday when it came up in conversation. (Right now, all time is measured strictly by the number of days remaining until Hannah comes to visit—three weeks from yesterday—rather than by Gregory’s ancient decree of quotidian nomenclature.) If I were in Ithaca, however, it would be different. We would have gone out to dinner on Valentine’s Day, certainly, and I would have brought Hannah flowers. But today, were I there, I would take Hannah on a walk in the snow, perhaps go down to the Carriage House and have a hot drink and a nice brunch. We’d spend the afternoon inside, keeping warm, perhaps working some because we’re students and there’s always work to do, but we’d take time in conversation to remember how lucky we are to have grown so close and to have the promise of so much more. (We had part of this conversation yesterday, as we recalled our histories. We’ve both changed a lot over this time, becoming more and more suited to each other. But in the days before I left Ithaca, before we were dating, we were desperately trying to make sense of our situation. I didn’t think it would be a good idea for us to start dating; I wanted to give her freedom for the year. But as Hannah has pointed out, I still wanted to be the closest man in her life.) I’d sing her a love song

Moi je t’offrirai
Des perles de pluie
Venues de pays
Où il ne pleut pas
Je creuserai la terre
Jusqu’après ma mort
Pour couvrir ton corps
D’or et de lumière
Je ferai un domaine
Où l’amour sera roi
Où l’amour sera loi
Où tu seras reine

We’d make dinner together. And we’d kiss each other good night, preparing for the morning when we’d go worship together.

Why should this be any different from how we’d spend any other Saturday? I guess in many ways it’s not. Days can be made special by either event or intent. Six months into a relationship is something of a hurdle; a lot has happened by this point, and while things can remain fresh (as they can throughout a lifetime), the relationship isn’t pristine any longer. Many of the complications of depending on another person and having lost some measure of independence have been brought into relief. Six months isn’t a moment to fear, but it is a moment to mark, and maybe marvel. The work has been done, and will continue. The intent of today is to declare that the decision made half a year ago, in such doubt and anxiety and excitement, is now sure. “Happy six months” doesn’t mean that every moment or even every day of those six months has been happy, because that’s simply not true. We have had pain and confusion and sorrow. It means that today I’m happy we’re still together, and I want to remain that way. It means this time has been incredibly wonderful and joyful, despite the hardships. It means, for us, that when I return to the States and a full nine months will have elapsed since the spurt that pushed us into this, the time will not have been lost. It means thank you for being willing to live this experience with me.

Happy six months, Hannah.

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