And I still have the Christmas gift she made for me in 2003 on my wall. I still have this lil plastic tub with a pink lid from a Hindu mission in London that once transported left-overs to my place, and a plastic mug that ended up as mine by similar acts of fate.
QueenB is the reason I learned to like cooking vegetables, and will even occasionally eat a meal with no meat. Before I met her I don’t think I liked Indian food at all, and I certainly couldn’t handle much spice. To this day, Indian food is one of my favorites and rarely shy away from the chili pepper. And, bizarrely enough, I can’t help but smile and think of her damn-near every time I toast a sandwich in my toaster oven.
Five years ago I started a relationship with QueenB that lasted for a little over two years, and in that span of time I learned more about loving someone and being loved than I think I’ve learned in any relationship since. So much good carried forward out of that relationship and when I think back on it, I can’t help but smile.
Quite possibly the most valuable thing I learned from her was how to love and cherish individuals who are nothing like myself. I think it’s something I’m still working on, but it’s something that she was good at whether she realized it or not. I always admired that in her.
She was also one of the precious few women that I’ve met who really did understand how to independence commingles with commitment in a love relationship. It is something I thought I understood, but have had to learn the hard way a couple times that I’m still learning to both identify it and also have it in my own person.
I try not to spend a lot of time dwelling on the past, but lately I’ve found that I’m looking back to see what worked and what didn’t. What was great and what was indifferent. Where I felt loved and known, versus where I felt like I was just filling up space in someone’s life. It’s not easy to decompose, particularly when you’re the one who was the direct cause of that love’s demise, but there has possibly been only one other love since QB that has even come close to being that great.
Looking back, I’m happy to at least have carried forward what I’ve learned — big and small — in that relationship and just be thankful that I’ve got that much.