The Last Thing He Told Me

2.13 Fourteen Months Ago


“So how does it feel? Being a married woman?” Owen asks.
“How does it feel being a married man?” I say.
We were sitting at Frances, an intimate restaurant in the Castro, at the farm
table where our small wedding dinner had taken place. The day had started with
the two of us getting married at city hall. I wore a short white dress, Owen put
on a tie and new Converse sneakers. And it was ending with the two of us, time
rolling toward midnight—as we 􀏯nished the champagne, shoes o􀏦, now that our
handful of guests had left.
Jules had been there, and a few friends of Owen’s—Carl, Patty. And Bailey.
Of course, Bailey. In a rare display of generosity toward me, she arrived at city
hall on time and stayed at the restaurant until after we cut the cake. She even
gave me a smile before leaving to spend the night at her friend Rory’s. I hoped
that meant she was at least a little happy about the day. I knew it probably meant
she was a little happy that Owen let her have champagne.
Either way, I was taking the win.
“It feels pretty great being a married man,” Owen said. “Though I have no
idea how we’re getting home tonight.”
I laughed. “It’s not a bad problem.”
“No,” he said. “Not as far as problems go.”
He reached for the champagne bottle, 􀏯lled his glass, and re􀏯lled mine. Then
he moved his chair away, sat down on the back of mine. I leaned back against
him, breathing in.
“We’ve come a long way from our second date when you wouldn’t even let
me drive you to dinner,” he said.
“I don’t know about that,” I said. “I was pretty crazy about you, even then.”
“You had a funny way of showing it. I wasn’t even sure I was going to get to
see you again after that night.”
“Well, you did ask an awful lot of questions.”
“I had a lot to learn about you.”
“All in one night?”
He shrugged. “I felt like I needed to learn about the could-have-been boys…”
he said. “Thought it was my best shot at not becoming one.”
I reached back and touched his cheek—􀏯rst with the outside of my palm,
then with the inside.
“You became the opposite,” I said.
“I think that might just be the single best thing anyone has ever said to me,”
he said.
“It’s true,” I said.
And it was true. Owen was the opposite. He had felt like the opposite from
day one, from that 􀏯rst meeting in my workshop, but it was more than just a
feeling now. He had proven himself to be the opposite. It wasn’t just that it was
easy to be with him (though it was) or that I felt deepened by him in a way I
never had in a relationship before. It wasn’t even that we understood each other
in that elusive way that you either had with someone or you could never quite
􀏯nd—that pervasive shorthand in which a look could tell us what the other
person needed: Time to leave the party; Time to reach for me; Time to give me
room to breathe.
It was a little bit of all of that and something far bigger than all of that. How
do you explain it when you 􀏯nd in someone what you’ve been waiting for your
whole life? Do you call it fate? It feels lazy to call it fate. It’s more like 􀏯nding
your way home—where home is a place you secretly hoped for, a place you
imagined, but where you’d never before been.
Home. When you weren’t sure you’d ever get to have one.
That’s what he was to me. That’s who he was.
Owen pulled my palm to his lips, held me there. “So… are you going to
answer my question about how it feels?” he said. “To be a married woman?”
I shrugged. “Not sure yet,” I said. “Too soon to tell.”
He laughed. “Okay, well, that’s all right,” he said.
I took a sip of my champagne. I took a sip, and laughed too. I couldn’t help it.
I was happy. I was just… happy.
“Turns out you have a little while to decide,” he said.
“Like the rest of our lives?” I said.
“I hope longer than that,” he said.

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