"Something special is going to happen on September 11th" he'd say. He wasn't sure what, but he knew it would be something big.
As the day approached I kept egging him on... "it's almost the big day!" or "you better watch your back, it's coming!" that sort of thing.
Then on September 11th 1998 I was sitting in my kitchen when the doorbell rang. I opened the door to find a package. In the package was a box of oreos. But it wasn't just a regular old package of oreos, it appeared as though I was being asked to Homecoming.
In all the oreos I found slips of paper, each with a letter on them. It took a while but I finally figured out that the papers were giving me an email address and a password.[I should point out here that email addresses weren't totally commonplace at the time, and also I had a pet dinosaur (I'm SO OLD!)]
I logged on to the email dress and found a message in code. . .
A little background info. Blaine and I became friends in the beginning of 10th grade. I was always boy crazy. I have a journal from that time of life and at the end of each entry I listed the top 5 guys I liked. The list order changed daily. The same five guys would stay on for a while then some would slip off and others would enter in (Bryce C. and Richard S.) usually hogged most of the room on the list, but there was one guy who was always on my list. He wasn't always on the top, but at least he was always there. And I referred to this guy as my "constant".
Apparently in an email in late August of 1998 I confessed to Blaine, in code (obviously), that he was, in fact, my constant.
Anyway the decoded email in the mysterious inbox read...
Yes, if you didn't know, this is your own code. This being the case, you realize that I know that I am your constant. It is appropriate that it is 9/11 because this is the first time I've ever told a girl that I like her. But you may as well know, if you don't know already that I do like you (a lot). Well, I'm glad we're friends. Hopefully you will reply soon. -Blaine
Be still my heart! A real love confession! And not only that, but he thought it was "appropriate" that it was 9/11. He knew something life changing was going to happen on September 11th and a confession of love, er.... "like", for me, was it!
And so it began. We always had a little kiss at 9:11PM if we were together. It was our little secret..."happy 9:11!" we'd say with a wink and a smile.
[Ironically enough, precisely one year later on 9/11 Blaine took me up on a hike and commenced to rip my heart out and throw it in to a blender, but I digress....]
We've had good 9/11s, we've had bad 9/11s (see note above). And we all know that September 11, 2001 was NOT a good 9/11. And after that, it almost seemed wrong to celebrate such a devastating day. It seems downright sacrilegious to wish Blaine a "happy 9/11" and certainly we get weird looks from anyone who overhear us.
But anyway, September 11th is a day of mixed emotions for me. But it all started as the best day of my life.
For 9/11 this year we went out to Olive Garden and got a never ending pasta bowl. Then we drove up on top of a mountain and he read me his "Do You Remember" letter. The Do You Remember letters are a tradition we have for our anniversary (Feb 14th). He takes a lot of time and makes a big list (22 pages this year!) of memories. He was really busy this February so the list had to wait this year till our other anniversary, September 11th. When I heard that he was going to read me the list, I asked him not to. It's been a really hard year for me (you may have noticed!). I've never been so stressed, depressed, boggy, and sad as I have this past year; why on Earth would I want to relive it? But you know what? He took my hard year, and our hard experiences, and put them in such a beautiful way, and he found so many positive things about our year and brought them to the surface.
And that's what Blaine does. He can take the dark and the dismal and the depressing, and find the good and the funny and the happy.
Just like last week when I was an emotional wreck after TWO failed attempts to make cookies for a family function. I was out of patience, out of eggs, out of butter, and it nearly seemed I was out of my ever loving mind. I hucked a tomato across the kitchen, dumped out a double batch worth of "wasted" cookie dough in the garbage and told Blaine I was refusing to go to the family meeting. He looked at me, bewildered (we had just had a really fun afternoon laughing and talking), and, refusing the urge to call me insane, instead just insisted that he was making the cookies, without eggs and without butter and without a recipe. He insisted that he would do it and that we would go to family meeting and that he would tell everyone he wanted to surprise me by making the cookies. I think he put in about a half a cup of vanilla. I've never laughed so hard. And usually I am stubborn enough to still be mad at him and the world when I am in a mood like that, but for that day I stepped back and saw that he was just trying to make things better. He knows I'm not crazy. He knows I have bad days, bad years. But if he can make it better he will. That's love.
Happy 9/11 Blaine, I am so glad that you like me (a lot).