It all timed out perfectly. We had been dating for eight months, but it still felt as fresh and exciting as relationships that were only a couple weeks old, maybe even more. We were both mature enough to understand that relationships require work and communication, but not so pessimistic that we lost hope at any sign of strife. Our disagreements were something to work through, not something to pit us against one another.
I was loving her more and more each month. My lease was about to end, and she had a spacious apartment that I was already spending plenty of nights at. I knew what she wanted, and it was the same as what I wanted. "I want to move in with you," I told her. She swore she was about to ask me to move in at that very moment. Moving in with your significant other is a huge step in your relationship, so we took some deep breaths and immediately dove into the logistics.
Now, if there's one thing I hate as much as I love her, it's moving. I hate how mentally easy but physically difficult and exhausting it is. I could fit my belongings into a medium U-Haul truck if I took two trips. The worst was moving art inherited from my grandparents, plus old pictures of them. Taking these invaluable treasures out of my apartment, into the truck, out of the truck, up the stairs and into her apartment had me on edge every step of the way.
I didn't tell her this, though. She was being so helpful, and I knew I couldn't be negative or so blatantly fretful when she was sacrificing so much. Not only was she taking the time to help me move, but she was giving up something she so sincerely loved: her personal space. She had previously told me that it wasn't until we started dating that she felt comfortable having people over, romantic or otherwise. I feared that moving in together would be too much for her, but was relieved when she said otherwise.
Being settled in, with everything unpacked and the art hung on the walls was one of the strangest feelings I've ever experienced. I was in a new environment yet in a familiar one all the same. I could've sworn she looked different or at least seemed different, just for a moment. All I could do was remind myself of why I did this.
Though she usually cooked, we were too spent to do anything but order takeout that night. As we sat on the couch, we discussed our future under the same roof. I asked her what she expected from me. She told me about how she expected me to treat her as a roommate like I treated her as a partner. She asked me what I expected from her. I told her the same.
It still felt strange. It felt strange as we locked the door, turned out the lights and climbed into bed. It felt strange as I shut my eyes. Then, I woke up in the middle of the night, something I never do. I look over and see her. I am at peace, fall asleep and wake up feeling more rejuvenated than ever.
It's a story I hope to tell at our wedding one day.