Twenty-two years ago, I met Hal for the first time on this date. I was at a rough point in my life, just out of a bad relationship and unsure of what to do next. I chatted with people online, back when AOL was a thing, about life and relationships. 

     On January 6, 2000, I started chatting with someone I thought I knew. That person often changed their screen name, so I thought it was just a new one they created. After a few tests back and forth, I realized that I was talking with someone new. Their use of words was different than the person I thought they were.

     I apologized to the new person, and they thought it was funny. I began talking to him anew, and things started to click between us. We found enough in common to agree to a date that evening for dinner and a movie. We ate at a local restaurant and then saw “Galaxy Quest.” A romantic evening ensued, and I secretly hoped that he felt the same way I did. By the time we parted late in the evening, the sparks were there. We spoke again and saw each other the next day and the day after. It wasn’t long until we discussed making things permanent. 

     We’ve been together almost every day since then. We have gone through family crises and deaths, career changes, more moves than we can count, but we always emerge stronger. I drank like a sailor when I met Hal, but I stopped almost entirely without him saying a word, and now I only socially drink once or twice a year. Friends have come and gone; we have made a home for cats throughout our time together. The important thing is that Hal and I love each other more now than ever before.

     We promised each other that we would never go to bed angry. We would always talk out any problems that arose. We each compromised to preserve our union. Jealousy was never allowed.

     In 2020 I was hospitalized. Hal was there with me. Even though he lacked legal standing, he made the medically necessary decision to put me into a coma to save my life. The doctors transferred me to another hospital 50 miles away, and Hal made the trip as often as possible because Hal could no longer drive. He took Uber for those trips, but he made them, which helped my recovery.

     I came home from the hospital on 17 DEC 2020. Hal helped me because I was invalid, barely able to walk. I wasn’t strong enough to shower, so he bathed me. I was never out of his sight for the first two months. As I gained my strength, he gradually eased up but never left me alone for long. I’ve been on disability ever since, but Hal demands that I don’t return to my job because I am not strong enough to deal with the stress. Of course, he is right, although I wanted to man up and try working again. Hal told me that we would get through this just like we’ve made it through every other difficult time we’ve faced together.

     Twenty-two years ago, my life got better. It gets better every day because of Hal. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be here today without Hal.

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