Our eyes met across a crowded room.
Okay, that’s not actually quite true. The room was extremely crowded and she later claimed she noticed me. I most certainly noticed her. Everybody there did.
It’s a long and entertaining story but not generally fit for public consumption—due to no fault of her own, mind you. No, she was merely bolding standing up for the rights of the oppressed, staring down a very large and quite inebriated gentleman who seemed more than willing to take her on, despite weighing twice as much and being about a foot taller. She just stood there and laughed at him as others pulled him away and hustled him out of the room, hurling threats her way all the while. Though she be but little, she is fierce.
It’s funny. Because I first saw her at a party, I assumed for quite some time that she was a party girl, when in reality, she was just like me: there only because it was a Friday night and that’s where all her friends were going, so it was either that or sit alone in her room.
Well, she wasn’t just like me. She was way smarter and funnier and much more well-read and more talented. And oh so much cuter. And if it turned out she had terrible taste in men, well, all the better for me.
And when our eyes finally did meet, across a table at the first read-through of the play we were later cast in, I had an idea immediately that there was maybe something there. When a few weeks later we both discovered that neither of us liked parties at all, deserting one (in her own room, thrown by her roommates) to instead hang out for five hours talking in the television room of her dorm—completely vacant, of course, because it was a Friday night and who wants to watch TV on a Friday night when you could be at a party?—my idea turned into an unshakeable conviction.
And nearly nineteen years later we’ve now known each other longer than we haven’t known each other. And she’s even cuter now than she was then, and smarter and funnier and more well-read and there’s still nothing in the whole wide world I’d rather do than avoid a party to just sit alone in a room and talk with her.
Happy birthday, love o’ my life. Today may be your day, but every day with you, I’m the one who gets a gift.