The Easy Answer

In the early years of their marriage people ask them how they met, and they give the simple, easy answer: we grew up together. Next door to each other, in fact.

Their acquaintances, colleagues, and friends find it charming, sweet, delightful. They picture it in various ways. Four-year-olds playing together in one of their gardens. Six-year-olds pretending to get married. Eight-year-olds avoiding each other because everyone knows the opposite sex have cooties. Shy twelve-year-olds sneaking looks at each other, awkward kisses, friendship turning into romance. Possibly some difficulties throughout high school, some growing apart, but always remaining there for each other. How adorable.

They never picture it as it actually happened, but that is because neither of them mention the catalyst for the two of them actually acknowledging the other's existence. When they tell the story, the blond-haired boy who got into too many fights and changed both of their lives forever and loved them both and was loved by both – he is never mentioned.

Mentioning him would mean having to explain too much, to talk about how he came into their lives, how he left, and where he is now, being a father to a child that might not even be his because it's what he needed to do, the right thing to do. They're sure he's a good father even though they rarely talk, now. Their lives are so different.

Sometimes they can even pretend that the simple version of events is the real one. We grew up next door to each other. We were friends who fell in love. That's it, that's all, let's move on.

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