To the beginning where gentle hands only speak a language we thought was dead, and hearts were pounding nearly out of our chests. Sweetwater words nearly out of our mouths when they’re swallowed up in a kiss, a Vermont accent that a teenager mistakes for a southern one; goofy smile, laughter for hours, words exchanged among the thunder that crashes outside. Stories and stories and stories for days, catching up on all the years we didn’t know anything, not reveling in the past but understanding the knowing, telling these stories so we know each other. Quiet nights; loud nights; summer heat and sweat and skinny dipping and home cooked meals and sitting on the porch and catching lightning bugs and love. Walks at work and the strain of not hugging or even holding hands because we risk offending someone. Touch and go, wild and free, terrifying and beautiful.

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