When I first met Kirk, my partner of almost 15 years, we were down at the beach drinking coffee and watching the waves go by when a man wandered into view with his pet. This would not be unusual, except in this case the pet in question was an iguana. Cue a group of Japanese students, who giggling nervously came upon this sight and out came the cameras as they took endless photos while declining all offers of actually touching said lizard (more giggling). For months, maybe years, we would refer to this moment and at one point he bought me a stuffed iguana for Christmas. Ha Ha. I think of this memory because his daughter Miranda reminded me today that I was 33 then, which happens to be the age she is turning on her birthday in June. When I think about Miranda, it is hard to believe I could have been her age, when Kirk came into my life. She seems so young, and I thought of myself as so very old at that age.
It was a huge leap of faith on both our parts for Kirk and I to choose to share our lives, both being wounded in various ways and not inclined to trust. The prospect of actually moving in with someone, particularly someone with a teenage daughter still at home, was daunting for me on so many levels, not the least of which was the fact I would be sharing a small space with two people who did not know about my other life. Having Miranda and Kirk's son Aaron become a part of my family was something I never anticipated, nor did I ever imagine how much I would care about them, worry about them, feel joy when they were happy and gutted when they were worried or sad. Now the gap between our ages doesn't seem so large and Aaron has two little else boys of his own. Time marches on and our lives are somehow fused together in all of the ways a shared history brings.
Of all of the people in my life, there is no one who has had a more difficult few months than Kirk. He has no escape from it - from me - and I know the future that lies ahead weighs heavily - a far different future than the one we anticipated. He didn't sign up for this, nor any of the other revelations about my life that were revealed after it was too late to turn back. We have had many amazing moments, mixed with more difficult times and there were even times when we thought it might be easier to go our separate ways, coming very close to that breaking point. More than anything now, I am grateful I am not alone and while I wish I could spare Kirk the pain that comes along with this, we are the sum of all of our history and we can try to be strong for one another even when we can't be strong for ourselves.