One winter day when I was 18, school was canceled: a snow day. You brushed off your car, bundled up in your dad’s gloves, and drove cautiously through the piles and piles of snow to my house. Little did we know, then, that you driving to visit me would become such a significant romantic gesture throughout the coming years. During college, 1000 hours is a conservative estimate for how long you spent on the highway.
Comfortable in the warmth of home, I peered through the window to see your chapped-red smiling face as you approached the front door. We hugged, my heat and your cold slamming together. You convinced me to throw on a coat and pulled me outside to enjoy the ice and snow.
I wasn’t wearing any makeup around you for the first time in our two-month relationship. The last time you’d seen me this bare, I was a 6th grader. I worried that my facials features looked grotesque because my pale completion was lit by the harsh white light reflecting off the snow. You didn’t notice, or pretended not to.
We roamed around in the cold for I don’t know how many hours, laughing and trying to keep each other’s attention. We pointed out the beauty of the ice to each other, strange water formations frozen in time. Nature has a way of bringing people closer.
We talked and played and talked and played, getting goofier as the day went on. I spotted a spectacular icicle that had formed on a rod-iron fence. It was beautiful. You snapped it off the fence and handed it to me.
What to do with this special item? What will make you laugh? I lifted the icicle straight up into the air, pointing its tip toward the sky. I was silent, with a stoic and serious face. I treated this action with the importance that a wizard might when raising his staff to banish all evil. The world was cold and still around us. You were quiet for a while. I worried that I’d taken the quirkiness too far. It was too odd - too strange - what I was doing with this icicle.
After a while, you said slowly, deeply, “With honor.” You got what I was after. I was safe. Our laughing couldn’t stop. I fell in love.