The first person I met at camp when I was in 9th grade was, of course, my future husband, Robert. We didn’t even know each other that well before that. We first went to camp together in New Jersey, and we kept meeting up over the summer. When I was going to a new place every week with everyone else in the city, we would meet at each other’s house every night. There were always opportunities to have roughhousing fights. You felt like you were the problem, and once you got past the anger, it was just a laughing matter. Robert was a great guy, and I was just a kid. We had amazing times and beautiful experiences.
When we were both 14, I went on a huge road trip with a friend. We talked about moving to the West Coast, where Robert already lived. That was also when I started getting older. That was a time in my life when I started writing poetry. We also talked about moving to Florida so he could become a cowboy. I lived in Los Angeles for a couple years after that and still think about him.
When I came back to New York, I found a roommate who was five years older than me. My writing had improved, and Robert and I were having more sex. I was starting to relax about things, and he was starting to relax about me. We had been talking about getting married, but he told me I needed to move in with him first. This was after a bunch of vacations and nights by ourselves with no phone calls and no distractions. We came back and told the two other people from our hotel about our plans to marry. They just could not believe it. I think if they could see how seriously we thought we were committed, they would be more supportive of us getting married at that point. We’ve been together ever since.
We went to our wedding, a friend’s wedding that was on Long Island. We wore bathing suits and did a lot of laughing with the two other kids. He gave me an engagement ring. But we got married in June on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, where he had grown up. I went back to California after that for a year, and then we were both back in the city after that, which is what we had always planned. We have been married for 21 years and have two children. Robert doesn’t remember all the details of the camp, and doesn’t remember much about my decision to leave my girl friends. But he can remember meeting me, and everything he did, and the many times we slept together.
Later that summer, we were visiting a friend we had made in New Jersey. I was just finishing up college and working nights as a waitress to save money. I said, “This feels good. I kind of hope he’s happy.” I don’t like that word. I’m not glad. I’m just happy.