We sat in grass in the park today, almost five years exactly from when we first met. We’ve seen each other here and there over the years in other cities and different places in our lives. Every time we meet it’s a little different, like skipping ahead in a book.

Her vanilla blonde hair is cropped short now on the back and sides and her bangs sweep across her pale blue eyes. She’s grown more into herself every time that I’ve seen her; she is still the same person at heart, but who she is now feels like the version of herself that’s taking root and flourishing. She carries herself with more confidence in who she is and what she wants for herself. 

We ate sushi beneath a giant northern red oak that was too tall to provide shade from the low hanging sun, talking about life and relationships and people. We didn’t speak much about the times that we’d spent together in the past; mostly just about where we both are now.

We commiserated a little about the different types of relationship communication pains that we’ve each been coping with and it occurred to me how similar we are in the way that we struggle with time and expectation from romantic partners.  She is a choreographer now and a dancer and she loves organized chaos; structure and freedom coming together with intent. Lead or follow; that’s the struggle that we have in common with ourselves and with those we surround ourselves with.

“I don’t want you to get ‘bad boyfriend syndrome’ when I  vent about him”, she said. I    knew just what she meant; people often take the last thing that you’ve said about your partner(s) and paint a picture with that particularly when it’s venting. We don’t often enough sing our partners praises to our friends (and other partners)  or tell friends about the easy Sunday we had with them, but instead we pick up the phone when we need someone to agree with us or understand about something that’s gone wrong. Lately I’ve found myself in a cycle cycle of venting and defending, so I    understood right away what she meant.

We left the park together and I walked her to class, were we hugged goodbye and  made promises to see each again soon. I made my way down the street alone, putting my headphones in to listen to a book as I  considered where we’d been together, where we are now and where we are headed. We are more alike each time that we see each other and in the ways that we are different, I  am reminded of why I was so taken with her when we met. This is the latest chapter in our story, but it’s certainly not the last.