Jordan proposed on the morning of Saturday, December 17, 2016 amidst the cat condo and stray socks in the living room of his one-bedroom apartment. As he sautéed sweet potatoes for a breakfast hash, he asked me to sort through a pile of postcards on the coffee table—four of his own design—that read simply, “will you marry me?”
I swam so hard to reach you.
In 9th grade, I wrote a love letter to a boy. I imagine it was entirely dramatic—depicting my teenage longing and the color of his eyes with gag-inducing metaphors—but genuinely heartfelt, and honest nonetheless. And while I tried my hardest to emulate the letter-writing greats, like Oscar Wilde and John Keats, my letter read like a scene from Degrassi with the raw emotion of a Dashboard Confessional hit.
The journey to her couch took six weeks of suffering before I arrived. I claimed one corner and pulled my knees to my chest, effectively shrinking myself to a pathetic dot. I assumed that if the world intended to swallow me, I’d go down easier that way. I held my feet for comfort, then glanced at my savior with total desperation—I wanted her to save me.
Thesaurus.com and I were on good terms, until I plunked “self-love” in its search bar and it retorted with “narcissism” and “vainglory.” Then we broke up.
I met him in a room filled with words handwritten by the lonely and the suffering, unaware that eventually, I’d thread him through my own pages, weaving the fabric of my volumes with our memories. I couldn’t have recognized the foreshadowing.
A handmade lunar calendar hangs plainly in my kitchen. It’s composed of black ink pressed deep into thick cotton paper. Each month spirals into itself like a snail’s shell, displaying daily moon phases, and highlighting new and full moons, and zodiac transitions. I peep it every morning.
As a uniquely named child, I lost when it came to one of life’s cheaper thrills; monogrammed heart keychains. Dig as I may through the spinning tower of trinkets, I knew I’d never find a “Vicari” among the sea of abundant “Veronicas” and “Victorias.” I never wished for a re-name, but as a tiny, fashion-forward human, a sister just wanted a sparkly Vicari-heart dangling from her backpack. So I often settled for my first initial etched onto some cheap piece of nothing.