Feels like home

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

At the beginning of most romantic relationships, everything is blissful. Your new partner can do no wrong. They’re the funniest, smartest, nicest, best person you’ve ever met. They are flawless. You wish you could clone them a few times over in case of emergency. When you mention this, it comes across as cute instead of creepy.

Well, that’s not exactly how it was for me and Gideon. We got together after ending long-term abusive relationships. We were in our last semester of college. We were trying to figure out what happens next and how to communicate that without ruining everything. Admittedly, our communication wasn’t great. It never is at first. You can usually ignore it because the relationship is new and exciting, but we had a bunch of other new, less exciting things to worry about. There was no honeymoon phase for us.

That’s something I ruminated on for a long time, wishing life had been a little easier when Gideon and I started out. I hadn’t lived at home in years and really only knew how to move from one dorm room to another. My life fit in my car. I wanted to build my own home so badly but felt like it was impossible. Everything scared me. I didn’t feel like I’d ever get a handle on the world, much less find a place that felt comfortable and secure.

So I packed my things in boxes and moved to Fayetteville to be with Gideon. We moved to Eureka Springs with less than $1,000 between us a few months later. The first night we spent in our apartment together, I cried and said I didn’t know if anything was going to work out. He assured me it would. I assured myself he was just trying to be reassuring and everything was going to fail like I feared. Being in a relationship with me is a lot of fun, if you can’t tell.

That same week, I came home one night to find Gideon toiling over the stove. He’s an excellent cook but didn’t have a kitchen to himself until we moved out here together. I sniffed around him and smelled something familiar.

“What are you making?” I asked.

“Chicken and dumplings,” he said.

“My nana makes the best chicken and dumplings,” I said.

“I know,” he said. “I’m using her recipe.”

He filled two bowls to the brim and handed one to me. It looked exactly like my nana’s chicken and dumplings. Gideon didn’t know it, but Nana’s chicken and dumplings got me through tough times when I lived with my family in Texarkana. She made them when I went through my first break-up, when I failed my first test and when I fought with my best friend. And here that same dish was, years later, when I needed it the most.

I’ll never forget sitting on the floor (we didn’t have furniture yet) watching Netflix on an old laptop eating Nana’s chicken and dumplings. That was when I knew Gideon and I would make it, because he wanted to build a home with me. He’s continued to prove that in the four years since.

Today, we’re married with a fully furnished living room. In many ways, life has become much less complicated. I guess that’s what happens when you find your home.

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Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.