I said yes that first time on top of a hill in a foreign world, looking out into the starry July night. I was a giddy school girl, smiling coyly I took this crush into my sweaty palms. I said yes, of course, with strings attached. Yes, but not yet (we were serving in missions anyhow).
I said yes to you, with the smell of decaying leaves assaulting our noses that Fall, the crisp air causing us to wrap into each others arms. I whispered back to you those words that were easier for you to say. On New Year’s Eve, playing games and watching movies, lying on the carpet in the youth room at church, counting it out to the next year, and year after that, I said yes.
I said yes to you again, and again, and again as we grew from that place of mix tapes and braided jewelry. Yes to you through road trips, and tough calls. Yes to you when you didn’t know who you were, when I didn’t know me. I said yes to you, planning our future with wide innocent eyes, yes to the knowing and the not-knowing.
On that boat wearing my mother’s coat, I said yes, the dark night and the lights of the city our only witness when you took a knee, bowed your heart and life to mine, and asked for it all. I said yes, and it was cold, our frozen lips leaning in for that numb kiss. In the church, I said yes, young and blushing, dressed in white, ready to grow up with you. Yes, I’ll wear your ring, I’ll take your name.
I’ve said yes to you, setting off on adventurous climbs, hikes through terrain real and metaphoric. Yes to hard places, legs and hearts stretched and aching, to be able to say yes to the view: the cliff, the span, the panorama of ledge living.
I’ve said yes to you, my hands shaking as I hold out the plastic stick with hash marks of pink for you to see. Yes to you, as we’ve made this house, inch by inch, our home, our feathered nest.
I’ve said the hard yes in the kitchen, slamming the dishwasher in anger, my hands scorched clean with water as I scrub the grime off cooking pots. I’ve said the hard yes in the face of words that can’t be taken back, mine and yours, yes in the misunderstanding. I’ve said the hard yes, pacing the bedroom in the dark of night, tiny cries piercing my heart and yours, ships passing, swapping a baby for a bed. When fevers rise and worry creases the brow: yes. Yes to you, and the upside down work schedule, and yes as I’m dancing fast to make it through nights alone. Yes to you, because I miss you. Yes, through gritted teeth: yes to you when I’m wrong, yes to you when you’re wrong. Yes, in laying it all down, raising white flags, calling truce. Yes, to you, even in finding my own way, and you yours. And yes as we’ve come home, always, to each other.
I’ve said yes to you, digging through my closet to find the right dress, the one that skims my legs just right. Yes to you, as I slip on the impractical shoes; yes to you, we’ll order the expensive wine. Yes to you, with your armful of daisies and cupcakes. And yes all the way home, and then some.
Countless times, you’ve asked. Countless times, I’ve said my yes. In small ways, and large, too many to number, infinite in the way a life is. I say yes, to you, today. Yes, I choose you. And I’ll go on choosing you, again and again.