on growing up beside you.

I still remember how you were when I was eighteen. You came to my birthday party-- a scavenger hunt-- even though I barely knew you. Just a kid in my math class, but you were there anyway.

I still remember how you turned your car around on a warm May night to drive to my house and tell me the truth. I was driving down the street and we stared through car windows (going different ways) at our future.

I still remember that August night as we left for college-- and I said “No, this won’t work” and you told me you’d never date anyone else and I laughed. Still eighteen, but slowly growing up.

I still remember when you told me all the things you hated about me at almost twenty. We were on a coffeeshop porch in Athens and I broke your heart and kissed a different boy. For two whole weeks, we stopped being friends.

I still remember kissing you at Christmas the year we weren’t friends and then we were. And you said you loved me. And then you were my boyfriend-- as we turned twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two-- Ben Rector and Rocket Summer and long highway drives in between.

I still remember crying at twenty-three-- moving to different cities and wondering if you really wanted to marry me anyway. We learned how to deal with conflict and more miles and career decisions good and bad.

I still remember promising my life to you the year we turned twenty-four. And what followed were the pieces of laundry and arguments about dinner and backroads and windows down-- new jobs and a puppy and more kissing and fighting and being bad at cleaning and those same life decisions.

And then we were twenty-five, soon (too soon) to be twenty-six. And I remember all the bits and pieces of you and me at eighteen and twenty and today-- you growing up beside me. You becoming who you are and me the same. We grew up beside each other and you invade my memories of becoming. And all I know is that I’m so glad you were there.