Saturday was the sixth anniversary of Doc and I meeting at a friend’s birthday dinner. We talked about that night and the span of time since then and I jokingly said, “Thanks for staying on the emotional roller coaster with me.” Then I realized it had been a roller coaster, and how much had happened: the country went to shit after 2016, I started therapy and anxiety meds, we lost Mom, now there’s a pandemic and earthquakes and god knows what else.

Through it all, though, Doc has been there for me–being reliable, telling jokes, adjusting to things long before I do. He is my rock, which is a thing I would never have said before therapy. But thankfully I’ve learned that humans have evolved to need close personal connections. Having that need met doesn’t make you weak; it makes you lucky.

I say it every year, every birthday with him, but there hasn’t been another phrase that captures that feeling of winning the cosmic lottery better than Sagan’s: “In the vastness of space and the immensity of time, it is my joy to share a planet and an epoch” with him. Thank you for being there, honey. I love you.