It was a Thursday when we got the keys, they hung on a tarnished chain, their metal teeth dulled from twisting the lock open and closed. I watched you turn them over in your hand, flipping them casually as your thumb inspected their edges; they looked as if they belonged there. When we walked up the wooden stairs to the second story you took my hand loosely, playfully in yours, smoothing the skin on its back and tracing circles on my palm. You took off running down the hall; one door, two doors, fifth door down to the left was ours, a yellow tinged paper hung from masking tape and read "Welcome Home." Your eyes, bright and wild, locked on mine as you reached for the knob; teeth sinking into the lock, metal grinding, gears twisting, pop. That is the moment welded into my mind, a hot branding iron memory; the smell, that room, your hands wrapped around me as we danced, falling into our place. Our place; the apartment with the wide windows and the leaky faucet, the sagging bookshelf pilled over with our library spilling out, the wall of instruments, the tiny porch with potted flowers and a canopy of herbs. Our first night we ate plates of noodles and wantons as we sprawled on our floor, blankets and pillows piled around us like a fortress, plastic silverware and napkins littered the rug; somehow, it already felt like home. As the night grew older we hung a linen sheet from the window above and turned out the light, we imagined the solar system cast upon it, suspended in arms reach, orbiting our heads as we whispered our dreams. When the moon began to shed its skin to the light of the sun, the oncoming dawn left rays of gold stretched across your body like a checkerboard up your chest. You woke sleepily, stretching long and scooping me closer into you kissing my face, my arm, my hand. Our first night, our first good-morning, our first I love you, our first home.
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