February is my favorite excuse to celebrate Zak.
In the time we’ve been together, my plans to celebrate his birthday have become increasingly elaborate. This year, I really wanted to give Zak his perfect day. So I planned a day of movies, food, beer, shopping, boxing, and massages. And somehow, he still found time to work on updating our patio.
Because he’s amazing.
There are moments like this all the time with him. He surprises me almost every day. It can be a small thing, like laughing joke so hard his eyes start to tear, or a big thing, like showing up late from work one night with a new car.
Any time I start to think I have him figured out, he throws something new out there, and I realize that this fascinating, funny, forgetful dork I met years ago is going to still be surprising me years from now.
The sense of wonder that leaves me with is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. When I try to express this, he just gives me this small, secret smile that’s only for me. It’s in those quiet moments when I feel the most at peace, the calm of him rests my racing mind. The anxiety is on pause because Zak is right there. I can see him, I can talk to him, I can touch him; his presence reassures me that despite everything we will be okay.
He doesn’t really understand it.
He doesn’t have a heart that sometimes threatens to pound of his chest when the world shrinks. He doesn’t have to count his breathing to stave off panic attacks when something unexpected happens. He doesn’t have calming mantras and green tea and meditation apps to try and stop the panic before it starts.
But it doesn’t matter.
He can see the panic coming now, he can feel my breath catching, sometimes he knows what’s happening before I do. And now he stops, he asks what I need, and if I can’t tell him he keeps trying until something gets through. On the really bad days, when I just can’t stop it, he’s still there. It’s never too much. It’s never too hard. It’s just the thing that goes with me.
He doesn’t understand it, but he doesn’t need to. What matters is that he’s there and he’s got a joke ready to go.