It is one year since I moved in with Kurtis.
This one year mark signifies a new status in Canada, at least by Immigration and Revenue; common-law spouse. This one year outshines all others: the first kiss, the first date, the first “I love you”. I have had butterflies and swells of happiness, rising in the pit of my tummy reaching right into my throat and my smile. I once wondered if I would ever fall in love. I lived the perfect single life. I never knew falling in love was easy, and it is.
Over the past year, we had a number of moments of wondering how hard this could possibly be; challenges we faced together like when I was told my Irish license wasn’t valid (it was with an international permit easily purchased from Ireland) and I was not eligible for a Canadian license (I found out a week later I was, and now have it); Heart-wrenching arguments against each other about cutlery drawers and visiting friends, washing machines and wall decorations. Genuinely, the fights that cut deepest in hindsight seem absurd, and yet I would never presume to undermine the depth of feeling they still retain.
We have learned to fight better; we work to listen rather than be right, sometimes. We remind each other, “I love you”. I try and remember that when he forgets to phone or tells me how to do things his way or falls asleep on the couch rather than come to bed. I try not to nag, I try not to be lazy and I try to respect his ways of doing things.
What means the most, is that he helps me be a better person. He encourages me to run, to write, to rest. He reminds me of my values when I speak in anger. He, an atheist, brought me to Mass, when I didn’t have a license to drive myself.
I see in his eyes my future. He asks about my family and listens to what is going on at home today. He tells me about his dreams. He put a photo of my favourite on canvas and hung it above our bed.
Tomorrow, I will go back to mock sarcasm and the usual Irish condescension I normally use for our relationship to outsiders, but for today, on our first anniversary, I thank Kurtis for us.