30 years ago, my mom put a sign in the yard of the house where I grew up, and a couple made an offer that day. So we started to build the warm, sturdy house where I would spend my teens and twenties and part of my thirties.
26 years ago, my ex and I had dated for one month, and I broke up with him flightily. We were 16 and 15, respectively. I stared into the collapsing coals in his parents’ fireplace, memorizing their arrangement, as he tried not to cry.
21 years ago, my sister was one week dead. I signed up for a poetry workshop for spring semester, figuring I’d have plenty to write about.
13 years ago, I’d just been dumped by someone I didn’t even like that much, two friends of mine had recently died in a drunk driving accident, and just before the holidays I got the flu. I spent New Year’s alone on my parents’ couch eating pizza, convinced my life had already hit its peak and everything from here was downhill.
10 years ago, I spent the night wearing sequins and listening to live jazz, drinking Dom Perignon, and eating poached salmon cleverly and aesthetically arranged to look like a fish, with cucumbers and halved cherry tomatoes for eyes, at the house of my ex’s mentor, who was essentially a modern-day Gatsby, with all the annoying and sad things that implies.
7 years ago, I was reading IT. Disgusted, afraid, impatient, I couldn’t stop. It took me one week to get through all 1200-plus pages. One day, there were several red helium balloons inexplicably caught in a tree outside our bedroom window. A few days later I’d catch my ex cheating, and he’d threaten to kill himself.
5 years ago, I wore a cut-off thrifted black velvet and lace minidress to the fanciest restaurant in town, and ate a seven-course “wild food” dinner that included wild greens vichyssoise and elk carpaccio. Then I came home and my ex put a gun to my head.
4 years ago, I made a frittata with purple potatoes and chorizo. I committed to writing a poem a day – a resolution I abandoned in May. Later that year, I would run 26.2 miles.
3 years ago, N and I spent our first New Year’s Eve together, getting dressed up, going out to eat Ethiopian food with our fingers from a shared platter, and comparing formerly closeted skeletons.
2 years ago, we had a party at his house. We cleared off the kitchen table and the desk in the office and put out curried cauliflower pickles, cheese straws, molasses spice cookies, magnums of champagne. We listened to Conway Twitty’s “You’ve Never Been This Far Before.”
1 year ago, I had the flu again. I dozed all evening, sustained by the Kraft mac-and-cheese and double-bergamot tea N had made me for lunch. Convinced the world might well end within the year, I don’t remember whether I even made it to midnight.
Last night, in the house N and I now own together, I joked with my parents on the phone, ate the best steak of my life, replicated a longtime favorite steakhouse recipe, laughed and kissed many times, petted cats, drank too much, danced in the living room, walked outside at 2 a.m. in bare feet in 15-degree weather to look up at the nearly full moon.