|One day, I rearranged my partner's Hawaiian shells...|
My happiness, our happiness, the happiness my partner and I are making is like sand in an hourglass we may only be allowed to flip over again at some stage although neither of us knows exactly when, if at all.
I love my life. I love our little cross-species family of three; I love my heart being a home for them – and their hearts a home for me; I love the companionship that has replaced the searing loneliness; I love my brain being flooded with inspiration and creative energy just because I am happy; I love being found and no longer lost; I love not having to self-edit under any circumstances because I know that I am loved, truly loved, chasms, cracks and chaos included.
What's not to love about love?
Gratitude is the snuggle blanket from under which I peek anxiously into an impending future made of nothing, where our little family has been atomized and stretched tight across thousands of miles, hoping it won't break, hoping it will eventually ping back together somehow, hoping for the best even in the worst case scenario.
From July 4 onwards, the calendar is a blank page on which there are no birthdays, there is no anniversary, no Christmas – that traumatic time of year we redefined together – or New Year. Nothing to look forward to but limbo, distance, absence and lonesomeness, that faithful companion always waiting in the shadows, ready to pounce.
The rituals that make up our shared daily life, those little big things that we so treasure will stop abruptly, leaving gaping holes in the fabric of our days.
Like the candle that I light every night to welcome my partner.
Like falling asleep every night to the sound of a heart that is not mine, head on chest, shoulder nestled in armpit, fingers entwined.
And waking up next to each other, delighted at the other's presence, sleepy brains racing to be the first to speak the three-word incantation that sets the tone for the day.
I love you.
And hugging unhurriedly every time we feel like it. Which is a lot. And often.
Like putting my forehead against the cat's, unleashing a series of appreciative purrs borne out of mutual appreciation. And having him instinctively pop up on my lap when I am perfectly still, lost once again in the kind of sadness that freeze frames time.
And being woken up by the brush of a whisker against my cheek, a tiny surprised sneeze on my arm or four paws navigating the length and breadth of my body looking for increasingly scarce squishy spots.
And being suddenly meowed at for being distracted and not dispensing enough attention / snacks / cuddles.
And cooking a vegan dinner from scratch – out of fresh ingredients – for three even though there are only two of us and putting the third portion into a take out box for my partner's lunch the next day.
And sharing the same space as him while happily doing entirely different things.
And drinking that first cup of coffee on a Saturday morning, the same cup of coffee I brew every day but this time made by someone who pushes the button on the machine in such a way that the coffee always tastes better.
And being engrossed in offbeat movies and geeky TV shows, clutching a cup of tea, holding hands.
And the list goes on...
Despite acclimatization and teething glitches at first, embracing normality and leaning into happiness made me realize that I have a knack for both after all.
And yet, in exactly 20 days I must part with my best friend, my confidante, my muse, my lover and 6 lbs of fuzzy baby replacement joy that makes my heart explode with cute several times a day.
Because in exactly 20 days, I'm leaving.
Much as I would love to believe and trust that my partner and I will continue building togetherness across the miles, I can't help but wonder why this extraordinary love that neither of us ever thought we'd find is somehow being left to chance.