It was August. Warm and sultry, the night air so sweet. There were stars for miles. Some lunar calendar will probably say my memory lies, but I recall a moon bright enough to light our path. It was the kind of night I’ve craved ever since—warm enough to walk late into the night, late into the future, talking until it is no longer late, but early. Secrets told and kept and loved. And I can look back and see what should have been obvious: this night was the beginning of everything.

But it felt like such an ending. I remember standing there, clinging to you, my arms wrapped around my best friend. Underneath your down-filled coat I could feel your heart beating, never suspecting the cause. Running my fingers over and over the coarseness of the twill of your jacket—it’s a physical sensation that is embedded into my core. So soothing to hold you, to hear your heart, to trace figure eights in the texture of your clothing. Even then, I was seeking patterns I could recognize.

So we stood there for hours. Our faces turned up to see the sky—bright, bright and yet, the stars couldn’t outshine you, even in the dark. You were such a giant. So full of life and hope and boy were you dreaming that night. We stood there, hanging on to our childhoods. Holding back the change tomorrow held. To separate colleges, in different countries. We could not be going further from each other.

It was August, warm and sultry and tomorrow you were leaving for college. And then, then you changed my world forever. You kissed me.

I didn’t expect it. I didn’t expect you. It wasn’t sweet, it wasn’t tender, it wasn’t hesitant, it was nothing I expected a kiss from you to be. Who was this man kissing me? No boy I knew. That kiss, that kiss was powerful. It ripped wide my expectations, it tore away all my preconceptions, and it told the truth even you didn’t want to admit. We were saying goodbye, but you’d been harboring a lot more than friendship. And judging from the state of my knees, you weren’t alone.

I wasn’t ready then to love you. But I couldn’t ignore the power of that kiss—and it would eat away at me until four months later it would occur to me, that glorious you were probably kissing other girls that way. The very thought made me jealous! I was always slow to figure things out.

I have to tell you—and yes, maybe I need to tell the world—nothing has changed. Baby, when you kiss me, I still feel like my world is being ripped wide open and exploding with potential. You believe in beauty and truth and all that is noble and when I kiss you, I believe it too.

I’m still weak in the knees at the very thought of you. At eighteen I didn’t know that you could fall so completely in love with your best friend. I couldn’t know that tracing patterns on your jacket, standing in the moonlight, counting stars would be the beginning. I couldn’t know that your kiss would set me on the path to my LIFE. But what I did know, was that you were a giant.

And baby, when you kiss me, you still are.

So for you. . . Happy Anniversary.

Someone tell me how I feel
It’s silly wrong but vivid right
Oh, kiss me like the final meal
Yeah, kiss me like we die tonight

Cause holy cow, I love your eyes
And only now I see the light
Yeah, lying with me half-awake
Oh, anyway, it’s looking like a beautiful day

When my face is chamois-creased
If you think I’ll wink, I did
Laugh politely at repeats
Yeah, kiss me when my lips are thin

~~Elbow: One Day Like This.