22 Years, 11 months
No words I try to put together sound right, but here are some words.
I met Martin on February 17, 1995. He quickly became my best friend. At Vassar, I’d meet him on his campus patrol route to bring him a V8 Picante (which the later renamed “spicy hot” to both of our dissatisfactions. We’d go on runs to Price Chopper for snacks at 2AM after he got off shift.
When I left Vassar, he visited me wherever I was, San Francisco that summer I lived there, or once he drove through a snowstorm to bring me Valentine’s Day flowers when I was in Albany.
Many folks thought we were too young to get married, and they may well have been right in many ways. But we loved each other well. And we had the rollickenest wedding that has just about ever been seen. With every part of it done by hand–Martin kneading loaf after loaf of stolen, or transporting Amish-raised pigs from New Jersey to New York for roasting. My stirring the largest pot of habichuelas guisadas I’ve ever made. I baked the cake; Martin made the lemon curd for the filling; my mother decorated it. Bohdan brought alcohol, and Hanna brought, was it bigos? (I just thought I should text Martin to confirm the name of the stew. That’s been happening a lot the last few days.)
We had 13 years married, and most of them happy.
And happiness returned to our relationship, really, the day we were able to say to each other that we were, in fact, best friends. And while there is many a worse fate in this world than to be married to ones best friend, we loved each other enough to want for the other more than that. We both loved the movie “Dream for an Insomniac,’’ in which the main character said: “Unless it’s mad, passionate, extraordinary love, it’s a waste of your time. There are too many mediocre things in life. Love shouldn’t be one of them.” We decided that the right thing was to set each other free to find mad, passionate, extraordinary love. I found it with my late partner Dan. I hope and pray (as no one ever knows the inside of another’s relationship) that that is what he found with Jenne.
I sit here in a quiet moment, before the collective scream of agony that has torn through Martin’s Boston-area connections comes to my home to celebrate his life and to try to bring each other comfort in his loss. There are no words for what Martin meant to me, means to me, and will continue to mean to me every day of my life. I was 18 when we met and our relationship shaped the very fabric of who I am as a human—how I move through the world. His ideas live in my head, his words in my mouth, and his love forever in my heart.