March 27, 2005.

18 years ago I made a decision that changed the course of my life.

I remember standing in the kitchen, holding the phone in my hand, trying to decide whether to dial or not. Before that moment I never would have dialled, but that day I did. I decided to push forward.

That day I invited Joe over to watch movies with me. I had a bunch of movies I was watching for a paper I was writing for my Mass Communications course – representations of journalists in film, or it might even have been specifically female journalists – we had talked about it earlier in the day before I left the newspaper office. I called to invite him to join me.

My friend Bob talks about these moments when we can go one way or the other, and I think of this moment when something in me told me to do the riskier thing. Put myself out there.

Joe and I had become friends, we had a lot in common, we’d been spending more time together. One of our colleagues predicted we would get married. I was terrified, but he was Joe.

I called, he came, and that night we kissed for the first time. The next morning I woke up to a heart-fluttering email that I still have copies of – printed and electronic. After being so scared of something, I have never been so sure so quickly in my life.

I’ve been watching a lot of romantic comedies (mostly 90s, some early 2000s) and I feel like I never got it right, the way that these people fall lustily into each others arms.

What I do know is that whenever I’m in a room full of people, I’m always more comfortable if Joe is in that room too. That when I walk into a room he finds me and I find him.

He has seen the ugliest of me – the deepest depression, the grief, the pain. He doesn’t care – has never cared – that I didn’t fit into all the boxes laid out for me by all the women’s magazines I read when I was a teenager and a young adult. He likes me.

From March 2005 to December 2005 we became a couple, moved in together and got a dog. We talked about marriage. I had never wanted to get married, I never expected to – but I wanted to be married to him.

We’ve been married for 15 years now, we’ve got a 13 year old, life has not been easy on us.

Something in my head or my heart or the universe told me 18 years ago to make that phone call so that Joe could be my tranquility in the chaos.

*Did you know that Mariah Carey is 53? I had no idea.

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