This time last year, Simon and I were living in Albuquerque. I was still at UNM, getting ready to graduate. I was working at Slate Street and as an intern and volunteer at Animal Humane. Simon was working retail at Grandma's Music and Sound. We were preparing to move to Seattle with our cat and our newly adopted dog. We had spent all the years prior planning to leave New Mexico to find a city that could match our potential. Simon had spent many years in New Mexico, and while he had some good times (and met me), knew that he belonged in a more functional city, as did I.
Since then, we moved across the country, away from the only state I had ever lived in. We both found jobs, and then Simon slipped and broke his pelvis and elbow, illuminating that his family's shared genetic disease of Osteogenesis Imperfecta was going to start playing a larger role in his life. To our relief, one of the best OI doctors in the country is here in Seattle, but is difficult to see. He had made an appointment in March, a week after his release from the hospital, but he was still too incapacitated to go, and couldn't get another appointment until January. My biggest "what if" is, "What if he had made it to his original appointment. Would he still be alive?" I suspect so.
While Simon was still on leave from work, I split ways with my employer, and was unemployed when my mom came to visit for Mother's Day. But I found a new job at PAWS in their marketing department - a perfect fit. I have since accepted a new position as their Event Coordinator, an even more perfect fit. I am so grateful for my job for so many, many reasons.
As Simon began to heal from his injuries, we got to start doing the things we loved in our new city again: Exploring the neighborhoods, eating out, hiking and camping. We drove up to Whister for a weekend, and had a great time being together and exploring the outdoors. It was challenging for us, because of Simon's chronic pain, which was hard for me to understand. But our relationship was so strong and our communication so open that when this became discordant, we always talked it out.
We are so in love. I'm hesitant to say we WERE so in love, because my love for him is as strong as ever, and I know he loved me so much that it almost transcends his death. That sounds silly, but that's OK for now.
Our last adventure was on the Queen of Seattle boat - tickets Simon bought from a Living Social deal. The first time we tried to take the boat, it was windy and rainy. They had canceled the trip for that day, but didn't tell any of the passengers. Simon and I sat huddled together in the rain in good spirits, waiting for the boat, even though we suspected it wasn't coming. Simon rescheduled our trip for the next weekend. Sunday, October 2, 2011. A day I will never, ever forget.
Simon woke up earlier than I did that morning, as usual. He took Nico outside, and then came back to bed. We snuggled for a while, and debated going out for breakfast. We had been eating a very strict diet which didn't really have room for eating breakfast out. But we decided it was worth it, and went to Wild Mountain Cafe - a cute little restaurant up the street. We both got coffee, even though Simon was not supposed to drink it. I had missed drinking coffee with him, and even though I sometimes reminded (scolded?) him for drinking it, I was still glad when we could share a cup together. He ordered the "Surefire Thing" - eggs scrambled with cheese and "green chiles", served with sour cream and salsa on the side. I got "Pipers Creek", eggs scrambled with lox and cream cheese. We both got fruit on the side instead of potatoes.
After breakfast, we got our grocery shopping done after planning our weekly menu over breakfast. We found that the best way to make the most of our weekly produce box was to plan out how we were going to use each ingredient, and make a menu of things we were going to make that week. One of the menu items was salmon with spicy green beans, and we were planning on going to the Asian grocery store Uwajimaya (sp) after the boat ride to get a special ingredient not found at our usual market.
We drove to the park at south Lake Union, where the Queen of Seattle docks. We were happy to see that it was actually there that week. We parked in the same lot we had parked in the week before and walked to the boat to stand in line. There were two people in costume to greet us, one man and one woman. We boarded the boat and walked up to the second level, and looked over Lake Union and the giant steam-operated paddle on the back of the boat. There, we ran in to a woman that I work with and exchanged pleasantries. Simon and I then walked to the other side of the boat because Simon wanted to see the Seattle skyline.
I complained that I had once again forgotten my sunglasses. Simon HATED being without his sunglasses, and was really good about keeping them with him, so he had his. He offered to give me his, but knowing that he hated to be without them, I told him, "But then YOU would be uncomfortable".
And he said, "I don't mind a little discomfort if it makes you happy."
I swooned. I wore his sunglasses for less than a minute, but felt bad, and gave them back. We continued our boat ride around Lake Union and up into Salmon Bay. We talked and hugged, held hands and took pictures. We were surprised that there was a calliope demonstration on the upper deck - it was hilarious. We both filmed it on our phones, but mine got the better recording.
As the boat was pulling up to shore, I leaned into Simon and told him I had a great time, and thank you for buying the tickets. I kissed him.
We got off the boat. 10 minutes later, the EMT's were there. That's a different part of the story.