It is just a few days until our first anniversary, and I’m desperately seeking something that is not too expensive, not too trite, and not too sickeningly twee to celebrate it. I’m having no luck with that.

This week has been full of work. Of the last seven days, I’ve worked four. That has given me a lot of time outside the house, and I have been able to sneak a peek in shops, so that I could lay my careful and underhanded plans for the anniversary.

Forty minutes here, an hour there, tea meetings with friends cut short so that I could browse wares. It’s all very exhausting. Then I have to play innocent when Mark asks me why I’m late, or where we went on the meetings, and when I’ll have to keep an eye out so that I don’t run into Mark when he’s out doing the same thing.

The town we live in is not that big, and we go to the same places, and I could run into him easily enough when he’s sneaking away from my presence to lay his own plans and stratagems for the anniversary.

The funniest thing is that we’re not talking that much about it, as if talking about it will make each of us blurt out the truth. But I do want it to be a little bit of a surprise.

In a normal cis-gendered hetero-normative relationship, I suppose it would fall to me (since I’m a guy) to select a restaurant. But since there’s two guys, the sexist roles fall away into the dust. Painful experience says that neither of us should make such plans and have such assumptions. It’s bad when we end up with two bookings for different places at the same time.

It’s a bit like when someone asks which of us is the ‘female’ in the relationship. That actually happened once, and it was as awkward as it sounds. I suppose it’s euphemism for who is the top and who is the bottom in bed.

I’ve been thinking about how this year has been. Has it been a year already? The year has actually been very good. Sometimes it feels like we’ve fallen into uncritical habit where things are just unquestioned. Like, when you do things in a certain way because you know someone inside out, and you chose the path of least resistance because you know what the reactions will be.

I’m very happy that I have him. I can look over to the side and see his form and feel this immense sense of familiarity and… dare I say it … safety? He’s been snoozing by my side like that for years. I can’t see any other way of having it. I can’t even imagine him not being there.

It is just hard to articulate how intertwined he’s become in my life. I think he’ll be there when we’re fifty. Or seventy-five. And that makes me feel warm and glowing inside.