Walking down Rue du Temple in Paris, heading home, I suddenly noticed Vincent was no longer beside me. This man I had been dating for several weeks, and for whom I was rapidly falling, had stopped in the middle of the street. I turned back to him as he said, “Adam, who am I to you?” I walked toward him and my eyes asked him to clarify.
He was trying to force a casualness, an air of “just looking for information” that was painfully adorable in its inefficacy. He was shaking from the inside, but continued, “At your opening night, someone asked me who I was, and I didn’t know what was acceptable to say.”
He generally speaks to me in slightly slower-than-natural French, knowing my fluency has not yet arrived, but here he was being too careful, annunciating so clearly to be sure I heard the words, that my heart nearly burst. “Je suis ton mec? Ou non?”
I took his face in my hands and replied, my French vocabulary undoubtedly strong enough to say, “Yes. You are my boyfriend. We are a couple.” He tossed his head trying to hide his beaming eyes and said, “Fine. Cool. I just wanted to know,” and I laughed, destroying his faux apathy, and we kissed, sweetly and deeply, in the middle of the street.
Two days later, the rumors about the potential lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic swirled and we had a decision to make. France was about to shut down, and everyone knew that would mean a ban on leaving the house except for essential errands and medical needs. The choice was clear: Spend an indefinite amount of time apart, not seeing or touching or kissing or sleeping together, or move in to his place and spend 24 hours of every day together.
I would love to adopt some of his in-the-street casualness and claim I spent hours weighing my options, but that would be no more truthful than his attempts at hiding on that night on Rue du Temple. We decided to dive, head first, into not only co-habitating after knowing each other for less than two months,...