The first time Holtz saw her it was 8:07am on a Sunday in June.
She can tell you everything about that moment-
how the door flew open with a summer breeze,
letting in warmth, and sunlight, and fresh air
all wrapped in a blue flowered sundress,
and she didn't even know her name.
Holtz watched grace and sun-kissed cheeks greet the barista.
She heard her give him her name; it was 'Erin.'
Erin with an ‘E.’
What a gift to give.
Erin ordered a latte, paid with a $5 dollar bill from her small brown purse,
and turned in Holtz’s direction while she waited.
Then and there, when blue met blue,
over the distance of a moment and the width of Erin’s smile,
Holtz saw her entire future blossom and bloom.
If you asked Holtz, she would tell you she knew that very instant that this was the
woman she would spend the rest of her life with; this woman who would turn out to
be helium and butterflies and roller coaster dips and soda pop.
This Erin with an 'E.'
Holtz had been waiting her whole life for this moment to cross the room and say ‘hello.’
As she approached, the barista called Erin’s name, and the same appellation parroted from Holtz’ own lips
as involuntarily and as necessary for living as breath;
and upon hearing herself say it,
she knew she never wanted to say any other name for the rest of her life.
In the following moment, what Holtz doesn’t remember however,
is what she said to Erin that made her laugh,
leading to them leaving the cafe together.
They laughed, and walked, and sat, and listened, and carried on all that day in June.
And when the sun went down, they parted goodnight,
and Erin had Holtz’s sweater, and Holtz had Erin’s number,
and each had something more than they did before they had met that day.
Erin was already waiting at the bottom of the stairs when Holtz arrived
to pick her up for their first date the following Tuesday.
She had Holtz’s sweater folded over her arm, and took Holtz’s arm in the other.
On their first date, Erin told Holtz she wasn't afraid of the dark;
Holtz told Erin she wasn’t afraid of anything,
though neither was completely true.
On their second date, Holtz told Erin she liked the way their hands fit together,
and Erin told Holtz she liked the way her eyes danced when she spoke,
and both these things were found to be true.
What came next were many more morning coffees and just as many good morning kisses,
and they watched the leaves turn together,
and Holtz was thankful for having been in the right place at the right time,
and Erin was thankful for Holtz.
Erin told her parents she met someone, but the light dimmed a little when they didn’t share her joy.
Erin told Holtz she couldn’t do this anymore.
It was raining that day.
Holtz told her they were wrong, and that Erin was too.
And Holtz confessed that Erin was the first thing she thought about when she woke up in the morning,
and her last thought when she went to sleep at night,
and her dreams were all the sweeter on the nights when the last thought on her mind
was also the last kiss on her lips, fusing mind and matter and darkness and light.
And the only thing that Holtz was afraid of was being without Erin.
And Erin listened to her heart, and believed that there was no darkness that could put out her love light
as long as Holtz was her torchbearer.
It no longer mattered if Erin was afraid of the dark because Holtz burned bright for Erin,
never once faltering in her duty.
When winter came the chill that came with it was bone deep.
The grey got in too and Holtz did everything to keep Erin from going so along with it.
Holtz was the best part of her, Erin confessed. Holtz wore the same protective blanket of her.
Erin tells Holtz she's a little broken. Holtz tells her that's ok, because she is too.
When they make love Erin is copper and Holtz is an arc
and they are touching and completing a circuit
and the night is electric under their touch.
They are symbiotic warmth and perpetual energy in living form,
and the switch is broken off in the 'on' position for good.
Holtz tells Erin she loves how their bodies fit together,
and Erin tells Holtz that she loves her,
and neither has any reason to doubt the other.
Forty-seven lunch dates, sixty-seven dinner ones, and thirty-six Sunday coffees since June.
There was nothing Erin couldn't do with Holtz by her side.
Holtz never ventured to imagine a time when she might not be.
Life and love and all the variables that apply locked together in their minds
and the world and all its gifts were theirs for the taking.
Holtz had at least one idea of how to ask Erin to marry her for every day they had spent together.
Erin had just as many affirmations.
The one that sticks takes them both by surprise.
The train is late, and so is the time, and so are they for reservations they had.
And even though their plans won't be actualized,
Erin is the embodiment of poise and stasis
and Holtz knows she need not desire to be anywhere else in that moment.
There's nowhere to hide from the rain and Erin is under Holtz's jacket,
and Holtz can't feel a single drop as she drops to her knee there on the platform in front of Erin,
lifting her hands to take Erin's in hers.
Erin, who is no longer under Holtz's jacket, and who doesn't even know it's raining anymore,
adds to the drops on her own cheeks as Holtz presses a kiss
to the ring that fits Erin's finger in blissful, relieving perfection.
What follows is lips and tears and breathlessness and laughter.
Their future stretches out further before them, unlocking infinitely more possibilities,
with both of them hungrily wishing they could experience every single one together, throughout all eternity.
To their good fortune that day, they discover that good things happen in the rain, too.
Holtz buys new shoes, Erin buys a new dress, they buy their rings together,
and everything else is given to them as they give their promise to one another.
They share a dance that day, and then they share everything every day after that.
Holtz creates a world in which Erin thrives, and Erin keeps Holtz from drifting out to sea.
And together they have more than enough; hand-in-hand, affirmation after affirmation.
Holtz and Erin dream in multiples.
Love begets love and their love grows exponentially over time.
Erin wants to, and so does Holtz, and several months later they are right on schedule.
But on that day when everything should be culminating in the perfect completion
of the life that flashed before Holtz's eyes the first time she saw Erin,
they are met with complications instead.
Erin's hand goes limp, and Holtz's heart does too.
And they're separated,
and without Erin's hand in hers, her fears also grow exponentially in number,
but Holtz can't count that high.
Holtz is strength, except on that day when Erin wasn't and Holtz almost loses her.
But in the in-between where life is waiting, Holtz bears her torch for Erin, steadfast and true,
never wavering in her duty just as she promised.
Erin didn't know, but somehow she knew.
With the morning light, Holtz doesn't need to count her fears anymore
and Erin is strong enough for the both of them.
Where there were two now there were more.
One looks like Erin, and one looks like Holtz,
and all in one they look like a family.
One year turns into many. Coffee dates and train rides turn into lullabies and patty-cake.
They wake early and fall asleep just the same, and when Holtz dozes cradling two armfuls
of Erin's whole world, Erin lets them be and watches for awhile,
unable to sleep when there is so much to see.
On Sundays in June, Holtz sings, and Erin dreams, and the children play in the park.
One of the promises Erin made to Holtz was to always be happy by her side,
and she keeps that promise dexterously because Holtz loves Erin.
Holtz keeps a precise memory of their life together, and Erin doesn't let her forget.
Their love is messy and firm and light and unlimited, and it takes an entire lifetime to learn how to hold it.
And if they could, they would happily relive each floret and every wilt,
knowing that the pruning a life endures guarantees full branches in the end.
And as long as they live, they will never regret a single yesterday.
But, you see...
These aren't Holtz and Erin's yesterdays...
These are their tomorrows...
Because right now,
it's 8:08am on a Sunday in June,
and Holtz has just made up her mind to say 'hello'
to the girl in the blue flowered dress
who blew in on a summer breeze
and has just told the barista
her name is Erin.