It’s 2:41 a.m. in the United States, but just before 10 p.m. in Australia and the house is silent besides the clicking of my keys. I just finished a documentary on the relationship between the heart and the brain – something only a nursing student might watch for pleasure. I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to look back at the dates I haven’t yet written about after the meet-the-parents weekend and there is an absolute explosion of meeting one another's closest friends – the inner circle.
It was as if getting our parent’s approval somehow told our brains that it was okay to let our hearts reveal the other half of who we were. Okay, I’ll stop with the cheese, but the documentary was fascinating! (In case you’re interested: Heartbreak Science )
For the remaining month of November, we went from driving to Portland to battle it out in beer pong qualifying rounds, to a relaxing dinner at Barrio (apparently our favorite restaurant), to delivering take-out to friends with a new little one. Our schedules are tight, so this meant a lot of meeting at each others' places to swap cars or simply waiting (mostly for me since I have a pretty full tardy card – dating back to 1991). It got to the point where waiting outside in the, albeit strange for Seattle, near-freezing temperatures was simply unkind. So, one day as I rushed home, ushered SG#1 into my front door, threw on a new outfit and prepared for another evening of meeting friends, I handed SG#1 the key to my front door.
He hesitated to take it and it was in that moment that I realized what I was doing. My hand was extended with the spare key to my house. I was giving SG#1, my boyfriend, access to all of my possessions – open opportunities to hunt down pictures of me and my frizzy afro in 3rd grade, free reign of my overstuffed refrigerator, entrée to my embarrassingly large collection of shampoos and conditioners (why do I keep trying new ones anyway?!). And I was totally ok with it.
He finally took the key after grumbling over how many keys he already had on his ring and how it would be strange to be in my house without me anyway (which is a way better response than showing excitement over rummaging through the above mentioned items).
When I thought about this exchange later it seemed so much bigger than it was in that moment. We spend our whole lives trying to protect ourselves, our hearts, our apartments, our bikes, our overly-priced and prized mobile phones, and it took just six months for me to give SG#1 the key to all of mine.
It became apparent that it wasn’t the key that really mattered; it was the act of handing over the key to me that felt so raw. Later that week he gave me the key to his house and upped the ante with his spare car key, and for some reason it felt like collateral to a bigger piece of the pie and it made me feel better. It’s not like I was going to hunt down his car and drive it to Canada, but just knowing that he trusted me with his shelter and wheels meant I had access to pictures of his 8th grade bowl cut and to his secret glove-compartment stash of Mariah Carey CDs that made the whole exchange worth opening up another chamber.