I liked Hans so much after our first date that I was sure he’d never want to see me again.
We met at Union Square, under the statue of Washington. Well, officially we “met” online. We emailed back and forth and never even spoke on the phone. Hans, who was at Princeton at the time, suggested the statue of Washington as a good meeting spot. I emailed back and asked which statue that was without realizing how obvious it must be.
Surprisingly, Hans didn’t give up on me. He carefully emailed back exactly where we were to meet (he still helps me with directions.) That evening, we walked to a restaurant off the square and I tried to breathe through my nose so I didn’t appear to be out of breath. This was a tall man who took long strides! Always ignoring numbers, I hadn’t noticed from his profile just how tall he was.
After a lovely dinner, coffee at French Roast and then drinks at a bar with live music, Hans and I sat in a park. We’d talked about everything and I was smitten. Hans leaned over and put his arm around me. Another night in NYC, we’d kiss with me standing on a stoop and Hans on the sidewalk. Despite our differences in height, we saw eye to eye.
Since then, we’ve been busy.
We’ve been to 17 states and territories together: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, DC, and two countries: Italy, Canada.
We’ve cooked, seen movies, taken salsa and foxtrot lessons, gone to museums, flown on a hot air balloon, driven down the coast of California, went to a Smith reunion, went to Hans’ UCLA graduation, celebrated birthdays and holidays, gone shopping, celebrated friends and family member’s weddings together, cried when loved ones have passed, kissed on New Year’s Eve, attended poetry readings and political science conferences, text messaged, emailed, called, talked, whispered and snuggled.
My favorite memory of Hans when we first started dating was spending the weekend with him in Princeton. I had grading to complete and he had work to do on his book. We’d go to Small World Coffee and set up at a back booth. He’d work on his laptop and I’d start grading papers. We’d drink cappuccino and periodically joke about our work or the folks sitting around us. It was peaceful and I knew I found a man who I not only trusted, but with whom I could simply live with.
And now we do live together. Our apartment in Michigan is our first shared home. We’d lived together in spurts when we were first dating, Hans patiently visiting me at my parents’ house, my driving down to Princeton for a few days and then my apartment in Roselle Park, NJ and his apartment in Washington, DC. Really living together takes the cake, as they say.
I put his Northwestern University license plate frame on my car and he drinks coffee out of my Smith College mug. We divide the chores and sit in front of the fire on cold weekends playing Scrabble or watching a movie. We make pizza together and read the Sunday New York Times.
Hans is the love of my life. I look forward to seeing the world with him and revisiting our favorite places. I used to think that marrying someone would just be signing a piece of paper and continuing with our lives. Meeting the right person changed that.
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