If asked how I knew my husband was the person to marry, I have two reasons. One is easy to explain, but the other is the truth.
I could just say that I knew we were compatible because we always saw through each other's defenses. While others believed his mask of cool, I saw the sweet, funny boy behind it. And while others were too wounded by my sarcasm to get very close, my husband had a shield for the spears.
That was cool.
But that's only the easy answer. The real reason is nearly impossible to describe.
We'd been dating maybe a week. I put my head on his chest and felt like ... I had found another pair of lungs to breathe with.
I didn't know I could ever feel so calm being so close to another human being, let alone so fast. I had dated other men, even lived with one for years. But I had never found that room where we could just sit and breathe, offering each other oxygen if needed.
Only my mother had given me comfort and strength, and with her gone for 12 years by then, I had forgotten how it felt to not feel alone. But when I finally opened the door to another heartbeat, I knew the walls of my empty room would never be enough again.
And now, 23 years later, I'm even more grateful to have those extra lungs to breathe with. It seems every day this year the world has just gotten scarier; but every day I can still put my head to his chest, and get just enough strength to see if the next day will be better.