There was a folded square of paper that went everywhere Imogen Moreno went. It was tucked in the pockets of her pea coats and sweaters and jeans, and it was placed in her wallet and thrown in her purse on days when she wore skirts. Some days she would take it out once or twice to study it, mark something down, then place it back where it came from. Other days she ignored it all together, acting like it didn't exist, although she made sure it was there when she left her house in the morning and when she arrived home at night.
The paper had made its first appearance the night of the Frostival at Degrassi, when Imogen began to write down a list of things that she wanted to do with Fiona Coyne. At the top of the page she wrote ride a Ferris wheel and then crossed it out, figuring that it wouldn't hurt if the first event had already occurred. Ever since then the list had been steadily growing, with something new being added every time she thought of something and an item being crossed off every time the girls accomplished it.
Throughout their senior year they had gotten through quite a bit of the list, including things like spend the day at bookstore (where Fiona spent the day reading fashion magazines and Imogen read comic books); get a pet fish together (which Imogen took care of, since Fiona declared that she would forget about it right away and probably kill it, which would be a terrible fate for Walter); go mini golfing (which, surprisingly, Fiona won, despite the fact that she had accidentally thrown her club into one of the ponds); have a Harry Potter marathon (Imogen's favorite, even if Fiona did fall asleep halfway through Half-Blood Prince); and go to the aquarium (a bad decision, they found out, after Imogen cried upon being startled by the shark).
Imogen found later on that she remembered a lot of the big things that they did based on the events on the list that had been crossed off.
It was nearing the end of May, almost the start of June, and the senior class had been chomping at the bit to get out of school for weeks now. Imogen and Fiona were no exception to this, especially Fiona, who was more than sick of Degrassi after having spent an extra year there.
They were getting ready in Fiona's loft, preparing themselves for the biggest day of their lives yet. Fiona was fussing over her dress, even though it was just going to be covered by the royal blue graduation gown that they were being forced to wear, and Imogen was seated on her bed, just watching. She had a hand tucked in the pocket of her gown - she had already slipped it on a few minutes ago and left the mortarboard lying on the bed beside her - and played absently with the ever-present list. She wasn't going to cross off graduating until they actually made it across the stage, but she couldn't help but realize that once she did they would be done with more than sixty percent of the list.
It was such a huge realization for her because they still had so much of their lives left to live, and so much of their relationship to explore and she could only think of enough to fill up a year. There were things that they wouldn't be able to do for a while, like travel Europe, buy a house, and get married (she had never let Fiona see the entire list, because, God, what if she saw those and thought she was crazy?) but it was still mind blowing to know that they had accomplished so much in such a short period of time.
She wasn't aware that Fiona was trying to catch her attention until the other girl was standing in front of her with her own graduation gown in her hands. "Immy? I was asking if you could help me put on my gown?" Imogen nodded, let go of the list, and stood to help Fiona into her gown and zip it up.
The two of them stood in the mirror, admiring their reflection for a long moment, and then Fiona wrapped her arms around Imogen's waist and nuzzled her neck, whispering "I love you." Imogen grinned, returning the sentiment, and kissed her.
It only took her a moment when she returned to her seat after getting her diploma to pull out her list and cross off graduate high school together. Somewhere in the crowd she could hear her mother - who she was actually glad had showed up for once - and her father - who she was sure was confused but happy nonetheless - shouting her name, but she was focused on finding Fiona in the crowd. She wasn't surprised to find Fiona already looking her way, and she gave her girlfriend a thumbs up, watching as a smile overtook Fiona's face.
She let out one of the bigger cheers when they threw their caps in the air, feeling like a weight was lifted off her shoulders.
The list had expanded to three more pages by the time they graduated from college, and Imogen still had the habit of carrying them around. It was more of a safety blanket than anything else, and it seemed like Fiona understood. She had found them on Imogen's desk one day when she was visiting for the weekend and had read over them, and when Imogen had been mortified that she had seen the ones like get married and have kids, Fiona was quick to reassure her that she wanted to help her achieve them one day.
For their fifth anniversary, half a year after they graduated college and were settled in their first apartment, Imogen decided to take Fiona out to her favorite fancy restaurant in downtown Toronto. They weren't exactly poor, but they weren't exactly rolling in the dough, either, so Fiona was hesitant to go at first. Imogen had none of it and said they were going, and that was final, saying that five years was a big number and they deserved to have something nice for a night, money be damned. In reality, there was a little velvet box burning a hole in her pocket.
She had bought the ring when they were still in college, even though she knew it had been a stupid decision. She had been nineteen years old, a freshman in college, and had no business blowing money on a diamond ring for a girlfriend that she might not have even ended up staying with. Still, she'd done it and there they were, years down the line, and she was going to finally pop the question.
All throughout the meal she was fidgety, and Fiona definitely took notice of it. She paused in the middle of a story about her asshole boss, looking at Imogen curiously. "Something you need to talk about, Immy?" she asked, picking up her glass of wine and sipping it. Typical Imogen, probably needing to tell her about something funny that happened at the art gallery that day, she supposed. It wasn't a problem; she loved hearing about her girlfriend's day.
Imogen bit her lip, wondering if this was the opportune moment, and then decided, screw it, it was now or never. She picked up her napkin and threw it down on the table, then slipped out of her chair. "Imogen, what are you doing?" Fiona hissed, glancing around at the people around them who turned to stare at the girl suddenly standing up in the middle of the restaurant.
"Fiona Coyne, we've been together for five years now," Imogen started, her voice quiet and shaky. "Ever since senior year, when I first realized that I liked you, I've thought of us as soul mates. You know that. We've made it through a lot, and we've done a lot in those five years. I love you more than anything in the entire world, and I was wondering if - if you would marry me?" She dropped to one knee and fumbled to take out the box, flipping open the top and then gazed up at Fiona from under her eyelashes, suddenly feeling incredibly shy.
There was total silence from Fiona, and as it dragged on Imogen felt the anxiety in her stomach grow. "Fiona, if you aren't - " she muttered, hating the feeling of the people around her training their eyes on her.
"Yes! Oh, yes, of course, Immy, yes!" Fiona suddenly came alive and leaned down to wrap her arms around Imogen's neck, nearly toppling her girlfriend - fiancée, actually - over. Imogen grinned, hugging her back, and then slipped the ring carefully on her finger when she pulled away.
She pulled the worn out list from her purse when she was sitting back in her chair and Fiona was admiring her new ring and crossed off propose to my soul mate, and then crossed off get married just because.
There was one time and one time only that Fiona crossed something off on the list for Imogen, and that was because Imogen was basically passed out in a hospital bed and didn't even remember what the list was.
When Imogen and Fiona had decided to have children at the age of twenty-eight, there had been the issue of who would carry their baby. Eventually Imogen decided that she wanted to do it, and Fiona agreed without any real fuss since she was actually terrified of having to go through childbirth. After that things seemed to click into place for them when they actually worked.
They threw themselves wholeheartedly into preparing by buying clothes, decorating the nursery, baby proofing the house, informing their family and friends, and, the worst part of it all, choosing the name. Eventually the pared it down to Vivian - all Fiona's doing - for a girl and Toby - Imogen's input - for a boy, and decided to keep it a surprise until the time came, telling their doctor that they didn't want any details at all.
And, oh, was it a surprise.
They had been visiting Eli and Clare at their house when Imogen suddenly grimaced and put a hand to her stomach, turning to Fiona with wide eyes. "Fions, I think something's wrong."
Fiona had immediately thrown aside her plate of hors d'oeurves (she later had to apologize for getting marinara sauce on the Goldsworthy's new white carpeting) and grasped her wife's hand worriedly. "But you're not due for another month!"
Eli ended up driving them to the hospital, where Imogen gave birth to twin boys. Fiona wasn't proud of this fact, and would never admit it later on, but she threw up more than once out of nerves and disgust at all of the blood, and Imogen did more than her fair share of screaming at her wife.
When everything was calm later and they were left alone with their boys, Fiona gently toyed with Toby's hand that was clasped around her finger. "What are we going to name him?" she asked quietly, nodding at the baby that Imogen was holding in her arms. Imogen studied him for a minute.
"Can we name him Louis?"
Fiona didn't even have to think twice before she nodded. "I think it's a great name." Imogen's father had passed away the year before, and Imogen had been heartbroken that he would never be able to see his grandchildren, so this was her way of remembering him.
Imogen's eyes lit up suddenly and she shifted on the bed. "Fions, where's my bag? I have to check the list!"
Fiona grinned crookedly at her. "I already did it while you were sleeping earlier. I hope you don't mind."
Imogen smiled back softly, shaking her head. "Of course not."
The last thing that Imogen ever did with the list was cross off grow old together the day after Fiona died.
After Toby and Louis had been born and grew a little older, they had a little girl, Vivian, and stopped there, deciding that their family was perfect. Pets came and went over the years; their children joined sports teams and learned to play instruments. They taught them how to ride their bikes and drive cars; their kids broke bones and had their hearts broken, too. Toby turned out to be tall, good-looking, and athletic, and a total sweetheart; Louis was a bit shyer, a bookworm, and always had a steady girlfriend, in a role reversal that no one saw coming. Vivian was their little firecracker who never backed down from a fight and had the biggest heart of gold that anyone had ever seen. She followed in her mother's footsteps and fell in love with her best friend in her senior year of high school, and didn't give a damn what anything thought of it.
Fiona and Imogen didn't have the perfect fairytale marriage; there were ups and downs, good days and bad days; nights together that they looked back on fondly and fights that had one of them storming out of the house in tears. Fiona worked too much and Imogen wasn't a serious enough parent. They got dangerously close to calling it quits once in their fifties, but they stuck it out in the end after going to Vivian's wedding and came out better in the end.
They got to see their grandchildren and Imogen had enough energy in her to run around with them well into her sixties while Fiona shook her head and chastised her and warned her not to fall and break a hip because "she was an old lady now and needed to start acting like one!" They kept in touch with their old friends from Degrassi, none of whom were surprised to find out that Fiona and Imogen were still their high school selves, only a little more mature and still just as in love.
One morning Imogen woke up, got out of bed, glanced in the mirror, and realized just how old she was. She was eighty-two now, and while she had lived a good, long life, she wasn't ready to go just yet. She still had a lot to do, and her list proved that. Somehow she had kept a hold of it all of these years, and even though it was falling apart at this point she still had it tucked away in a box in their closet. She brushed her teeth, took her medicine, and shuffled out of the bathroom to make breakfast.
At a quarter past eight she called up the stairs for Fiona just like she always did, and when there was no answer she tried again, and again, and again.
A few hours later, when she was sitting in the waiting room of the hospital - just a frail old lady all by herself with a piece of paper in her shaky hand - she crossed off one last thing on the list.