September 13, 2013 2 Comments
Now that I have an inconvenient medical condition, I think about what I did to cause it. I smoked for fourteen years, knowing that it was a terrible thing for me, knowing that Dad died of lung cancer, as did several of his brothers and sisters. I think about eating badly, and exposure to all kinds of pesticides and chemicals and god knows what over the years.
Also, being superstitious, I think about all the taboos I’ve broken: all the salt I’ve spilled without throwing a few grains over my shoulder, all the ladders I’ve walked under.
Mostly I think guiltily of all the people I’ve been unpleasant to, or actually hurt, either accidentally or on purpose. (Of course I have. You have too. But we’re talking about me, not you.)
But I have had very much happiness in this life – more than I deserve, really. Partner is largely responsible for much of that. But I was lucky to grow up in a place that was as beautiful as Washington state; lucky to go to a funky Catholic-liberal college like Gonzaga in the crazy 1970s; lucky that my first city was Spokane, an easy-to-navigate place that wasn’t at all threatening; lucky to get into Brown for grad school (though I threw it over after a year); lucky to find my way to Providence, my dear dowdy hometown for thirty-five years now; lucky to get into the Peace Corps, and meet all kinds of interesting people, American and Moroccan and British and Tunisian, some of whom still keep in touch with me; lucky after that to work at Brown University, in a job that has mostly been very good for me, and to work alongside people whom I have grown to love and respect.
And then there’s Partner.
I cannot even tell you what he means to me. We met in 1995, and I knew as soon as I saw him that I probably loved him. Does that sound silly? He tells me that he felt the same way, and I respect him too much to tell him that I have a hard time believing that anyone could ever love me at first sight. At any rate, we were living together within a few years. We moved to our present residence in 2002 – a nice little apartment, just right for the two of us. I’ve grown to love Partner’s family – his two sisters and their families – and I think of them and love them as my family, just as I feel about my own family back in Washington.
Partner and I have grown older together. We’ve traveled together. We’ve been angry with each other, and reconciled. We’ve been sick, and taken care of each other. We shop for groceries together, and go to work together in the morning.
I’d be lost without him.
No matter what happens from here on, I consider myself very lucky.