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I’m remembering this morning, the long gray days when you were away.

How I walked in the cold, sloshed through the remnants of January snow. How I served coffee, went to class, sat in silence beneath twinkling Christmas lights in a dorm room that wasn’t my own.

This was before Facebook, before digital cameras and camera phones, before I even had a cell phone. This was the unbearable stretch of winter, with you across the ocean.

The class was mandatory and taught (lorded over) by an arrogant professor who was under constant attack from the stick-figure snipers marching along the tops of my notebook pages. Anything to make the hour hand move. Anything to snip away at the length of a month.

I’m remembering short phone calls, breaths of air. And I’m remembering the sight of you, bearded and dressed in black, luggage falling to the floor, walking through the door. Your coat, your hands, your nose, your skin – all cold.

I don’t think I ever told you, but, for me, this has always been the start.

Not three months prior, when we were holding hands and fumbling through  newness, when we walked late into the night and stood for hours at the doorstep of Munro Hall, waiting. Talking ourselves to sleep on our feet, rather than saying goodnight.

That was all nice, but this, this moment of seeing you new and in the doorway, home from a journey I could only imagine, you with a beard and a giant cold kiss. This was the start. And I see you clearer in this memory than even walking down the aisle on our wedding day.

It was the maneuvering back together into one after having the time apart, the learning how to fit again. Any couple can fall in love, but can they do it twice? Three times? Forever?

A few weeks later, we sat in your car in the school parking lot and asked ourselves, could we?

This morning I’m remembering. More than ten years of you and I walking through doorways, ever-so-slightly different. More than ten years of kisses with varying degrees of facial hair, of hands and cheeks and noses coming in from the cold. A small lifetime of warming each other, of learning each other, again and again.

And I marvel at this blessing, this small lifetime of ordinary moments made better just by having you walk through that door.

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