I remember a two room flat above a book shop, and the ding of the bell day in day out. I remember eating pasta every day for 6 months, the taste of it heavy in our mouths by the end.
There was colour and quiet and horrible people.
I remember thinking we were never going to make it.
I remember back tickles and late night conversations, I remember the lights going out around us, wide awake in the moonlight and trying so hard to laugh quietly so as not to wake the world.
I remember dancing under the stars, waterfalls crashing all around, the start of something. Something bad, stomachs in a twist, something good, fingers entwined, something.
Long drives, Dave Matthews Band, jeans that covered my toes. I remember being young and feeling so old, wanting bouncy castles and not being able to go a day without talking.
I remember being so angry, phones thrown against walls, letters and journals stained with tears.
I remember long grass creeping up around us, sunshine beating against our backs, bicycles and ice lollies and Scottie puppies. I remember driving lessons, wing mirrors knocked off, patience and calm and constant belief.
I remember words being whispered, promises made, the weight of this thing unknowable back then.
I remember being told it is a choice, it is a choice to love someone. You must choose to remain, to hold strong, to fight it out, you have to choose to remember their smile when all you see is loss and doubt, you have to choose to stay. It is a choice.
And I remember thinking this is no choice, these butterflies that pound, this heart that beats, this hand that fits in yours. This is no choice.
We grew around each other, like knotted roots living deep from the ground. Place your hand to earth and you can hear us breathe, in out in out, sometimes gentle, sometimes harsh. Your world became mine, mine became yours, your tears your fears your love and loss and hope became mine, mine became yours.
So I choose to remember the wind swept memories, the hard fought cavalcade of events, the starlit motorway, the illuminated blue with clouds queueing up to sway along, standing strong. I choose you. Ten years on, and I choose you.