Many years ago, I told my mom that there was this boy that wouldn’t leave me alone. At the time he had a terrible mullet and often smelled like clothes left too long in the washer, the opposite of every boy I had ever dated. 

He’d meet me outside the store and offer rides, show up at parties I was at and one day I arrived home from work, to find him sitting with my grandpa drinking scotch and water (the brave soul). In an attempt to rid myself of this guy I told him that I liked cowboys (not true) so the next day he showed up wearing a brand-new straw cowboy hat complete with new jeans and boots. 

Even though he looked ridiculous, that boy began to grow on me and when I finally accepted that ride from him, I never looked back. 

Fast forward to 25 years later, I’m lying in bed and laughing so hard I’m crying. That same boy has just stubbed his toe. The same toe that he had smashed with a log the previous day. He is always stubbing his toes. After I contain myself and see that there is no blood, I then accept the blame for whatever he stubbed his toe on. 

And that’s how it goes, one day you are young and in love and the next thing you know you are both middle aged people whose love affair has evolved into an unbreakable friendship. The laughing kind, the teasing kind, the best kind. 

Yes, love is different after 25 years. After 25 years, love is me not eating Indian food because he hates curry. Love is bringing me coffee every morning in the right cup – not too thick, not to thin, and not the one with the dumb handle. Love is bringing me water before bed and spilling it all over the nightstand. Love is not falling asleep during his many flute solos. Love is nagging him about cholesterol, blood pressure and heart disease. Love is him telling a story about my dad and never asking to drive my truck. Love is knowing everyone I know. Love is me watching him cry over a dog that broke our heart. In the early morning hours before work it is love that keeps me from killing him when he decides to play the piano. 

I know now that it was love that drew me to that boy with the bad mullet, but it is luck that has kept him stubbing his toe in my bedroom for 25 years. I love you Zach and now everybody knows.