All five times that I have found myself with what we mutually consented to call a boyfriend, I have found that the word, if it has meaning at all, must be one of the most malleable in the language. This is not to denigrate the concept, but to point out how strange and wonderful it can be each time. Whether out of luck or a perverse form of cosmic justice, I am still very close friends with all but one of these men. I sometimes consider not counting that one at all, as the mutual consent was less binding and I soon realized that the only person he could ever date was himself, but even mistakes help you grow to love better and stronger as age deposits its stores of wisdom and cellulite.
#5 both embodies and confounds the boundaries of the word. A whirlwind of nine months has brought us from conception to this moment. The birth, if you'll allow the lazy metaphor, of our lives together as roommates. He spends today sorting, boxing, reminiscing, closing the door on a life he left eagerly but will no doubt feel tender towards as he makes a million Sophie's choices about which things to keep, which to discard, and which to sit silently and stare at for just a little longer.
I suppose the idea of having a boyfriend move in should frighten me, as he says goodbye to his former roommate (also an ex). But if there are patterns or warnings here to heed, I am blissfully ignoring them. We're different, you see. We are drama-free, endlessly considerate of one another, perfectly at ease sharing living space, wonderfully in sync with each other's needs. In short, we're perfect. This is the lie I choose to cling to for as long as possible, until such a time as we are forced to deal with the frictions of life together, the spectre of unspoken desires, and the routine of being in love. I have no doubts about this step in our relationship - in a world swirling with doubt and fear the only other decision that felt this easy was moving to New York.
After all, what is there to fear? I am gaining a chef, a confidant, a midnight movie and munchies partner, lowering my rent, forcing myself to organize and streamline my piles of needless possessions, sweep the dust bunnies from under my world and start fresh with an adoring face to greet me in an apt. that will finally feel completely like a home. With a live-in boyfriend in as traditional a sense as you can have one in this world, I plan to enjoy exploring all of the ways in which the word can evolve.
(fierce image, inexplicably titled Roommate, found here)