It started with white wine, a roaring fire, and a dawn that came too soon. Then there was that cold, austere part of winter when everything froze over, and I ran out of money, and took lots of long walks around Christ Church Meadow photographing the ice on dead grass. A new pub opened on our street and changed the way we interact with the city. It snowed so much that all transport to and from Oxford was canceled and I went in to work wearing wellies. I started the last semester of my MA. We went to New York City. I got older; then the Man got older. As the weather started to change we went to Wiltshire and circuited the standing stones at Avebury (I lost a boot heel there). Then finally things began to blossom. At dawn on the first of May we stood on Magdalen Bridge to welcome springtime, serenaded by a bunch of small boys in gowns at the top of the tower. The Man and I celebrated two years together and then went to Hay-on-Wye, where we bought far too many books and had to take them home on the train, which seemed like an appropriate way to mark our anniversary. My parents came to visit, and the three of us drove up to the Lake District and climbed a small peak. Summer appeared suddenly, as it always does. A friend had her first baby, and I started a new job. I wrote the better part of a novel, went punting, sat in the garden and watched the grass grow long; we had meals outside when weather permitted, which wasn't often, spent long evenings with our computers and our pints in the pub. I worked a lot, and summer disappeared, and I handed in my dissertation. We needed a break, so we drove south to Devon, where we drank strong cider, went for walks, played cards, made meals in a little cabin. This was all very refreshing; and then October came, and it was Autumn in full glory. I watched the turning of the leaves and the seasonal decay, and started to feel a bit lost, because now I was done with school again, and it felt so soon. We went to Dublin, where we drank Guinness and listened to traditional music in a damp grey pub.
Cold settled in around us. We hatched plans in pubs and bought tickets to New York, again. We went to New York, and fell in love with Brooklyn. I got to see my family, and some old friends. My MA results came. We planned a big trip. Oxford froze over, and we all slipped our way across town trying to prepare for Christmas. The Man and I spent the holiday with his family; we ate turkey and roast potatoes and unwrapped gifts in the conservatory. We slept in, took long naps, sat with our backs against the radiators.
Then the New Year came. We had a civilized evening with friends; we set off a firework; and in the early hours of the morning, we cycled back home, across the Donnington Bridge, over the calm black river. The streets were mostly empty and the wind was chilling, but also refreshing.
And now here we are.