I remember when I realized that the words I was reading meant that you loved me, that you wanted what I wanted, that we had been hoping for the exact same thing. And then I was all shy and embarrassed, like when we open Christmas presents in front of the whole family, everyone watching and anticipating a response. I remember the olive green trenchcoat you always wore and the way it smelled of the woods and your cologne and the way I leaned into you, holding your coat pockets. And there was the Ford Bronco named Elf where we sat together as lightning flashed across a blue black October sky, the whole back a pile of red roses.
It took long moments for me to really understand what you were saying, to know that it wasn't just wishful thinking, that you were really there and I was really there, and you were asking if you could kiss me. I'd never kissed anyone before, unless you counted my parents and all the little babies at church. I leaned in to you, and you leaned into me, and then I pulled back, too overcome with awkwardness mumbling something about never having kissed anyone before. And you said, "It's ok. I've never kissed anyone I loved like this before." And I knew you were nervous, too, and then it was ok.
I remember the cassette tape of songs you had recorded for this very night. (Remember cassette tapes?) And there was the notebook I had been writing since the night of the Mary Chapin Carpenter concert at the State Fair when we wished on the first star together. I had wished for this moment ever since.
You slid a little gold ring onto my finger. The ring bears the swirling pattern of a Celtic knot, something that's part of your heritage now belonging to me...
...now belonging to the family we have created together. Everything's built on this memory, the starting point, this fragile, tender, indelible beginning.