Late this morning — actually, pretty close to noon — the Chef and I left our bed and walked into the kitchen. Yes, we slept in late. But mostly, we lounged together, all morning long, listening to Breakfast with the Beatles and reading the newspaper. We both work hard — ten-hour days sometimes — so it was a welcome relief to finally have a Sunday with nowhere to go, no friends to see, no activities planned. We could be for each other.
When we finally emerged into the kitchen, the Chef took a look in the refrigerator. “Honey, I’ll be right back,” he said, his voice echoing into quiet down the stairs. I made us some strong coffee and checked my email. A few moments later, I heard him come into the kitchen as I typed away at the computer. When I turned toward him, I saw him pull two champagne flutes out of the freezer.
He had been to the store, to buy us navel oranges, and a bottle of champagne. While I ran over to kiss him, grateful for every moment, he squeezed some orange juice, then poured us mimosas.
“Happy anniversary, baby,” he grinned at me, clinking our glasses.
Oh, this man. How did I get so lucky?
Today is our seven-month anniversary. Last month, I posted the essay about us getting married. Today, our celebration has been more private. I am told that after we have been together for ten or fifteen years, we might not mark every 26th of the month. But you know what? I’m pretty sure we will. Because we were in our late thirties when we met and therefore lived most of our lives alone, because we have both been through hard times enough to appreciate the lives we have, and because we are both just ecstatic little kids at living those lives — we are going to keep celebrating. Every morning, we say I love you, the first moment our eyes are open. And every day, we say what has moved us. We are not waiting for later. He makes me tear up with his constant thoughtful actions, he makes me laugh hard seventy-four times a day, and he makes me the best food I have ever eaten. How could I not love this man?
We clinked our glasses and drank our toasts to each other. And then he set out to make us breakfast: gluten-free eggs benedict with prosciutto and hollandaise sauce made on the spot. Oh god, I cannot describe it. Eggs benedict in a restaurant never tasted like this.
And the rest of the day? Grocery shopping. Cleaning the kitchen (as you can imagined, this one is well-used). Eating a gluten-free cornbread I made up on the spot. Walking in the early darkness, through snow that has just begun to fall.
And at the moment, he is putting the finishing touches on a pork tenderloin he has been marinating for hours, in meyer lemons, ginger, clementine juice, tamari sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and cilantro. I am writing by his side, in the kitchen. He just dipped his finger in the reduction sauce he has made from that marinade (plus rice wine vinegar and chicken stock) and ran over to me to let me taste it. I felt like a baby bird, being fed from above. That taste — earthy, slightly sweet, unexpected depth, layers upon layers of surprises — it tastes like him.
It doesn’t require much to be happy in this world. It certainly doesn’t require a lot of money. We’re not rich, in cash at least. But in living? We feel like millionaires.
Anyone who tells you that living gluten-free is deprivation? Tell that person to change her mind. It’s just being alive.
Happy Anniversary, baby. I love you, forever.