When Nino came back to live with us he came back in stages. We had been spending a few weekends together for a long time, but we hadn’t lived together in twelve years.
At dinnertime, we talk about when CD-ROMs were invented and there was no content to put on them. The kids ask us to tell the how-we-met story again.
Nino and I met in 1992. Which means we have known each other for almost 30 years. After we found each other, we found the Internet, and there was nothing on it. Literally. We won awards. Not for being great, but for being first.
“We met in LA as part of a group of people trying to figure out what nonlinear media would look like.”
Younger son: “What’s nonlinear media?”
Older son: “I thought you met when dad made a nonlinear video of you talking about your shitty childhood.”
“Yeah, well. It turned out nonlinear media is good for a lot of things.”
Were there were other times that were as crazy as when the Internet happened? We talked about how the transition was so fast and the opportunities were incredible — if you could keep up with the change.
We used to make fun of journalists who wouldn’t let their stories run online or filmmakers who said they’d never do digital video. You could see a person’s future by how hard they pushed back in the present.
Covid seems that way now. The change is happening so fast and if you can keep up then you can see what will be permanent — that’s where the opportunity is. I tell myself I’m great at adapting to change and I need to be open-minded and nimble. Maybe I should pivot now. Or maybe I already did when Nino rejoined the family.
We eat breakfast together every morning. It started out because the boys were so excited to see their dad. Now it’s because the apartment is too small to sleep when anyone else is eating.
I say to Nino, “It’s 9/11 today. Do you think about stuff on 9/11?”
He said, “Do you mean do I have a quote for you for your blog?”
“Oh, come on. Just something.”
“How about writing about your hot take on Covid and 9/11?”
“I’m already on that.”
Older son adds: “Are you going to add the meme about 9/11 being a gender reveal party?”
Me: “My blog is not a YouTube channel for bored teenagers.”
Older son: “Well it doesn’t have to be a video.”
Nino: “What about that more people will die from Trump ignoring Covid than from Bin Laden’s terrorism?”
Me: “Can I use that on my blog?”
Nino: “No! I’m just guessing.”
Older son: “To be fair, she does that on her blog every day.”
Me: “Shut up. Everyone shut up. This is not helpful. My post on 9/11 has to be heartfelt.”
Younger son: “Then just write about CD-ROMs because you always get all gushy.”
When Nino arrived here in March, the most drastic of my Covid symptoms were over, but I was still so grateful to see him. He is my person for going through the hardest times. I fell in love with him while he glided through the emergence of the Internet with artistry and grace.
On 9/11, right after the buildings collapsed, I assumed I was dying. My mind was clearing itself. I guess that’s what happens right before we die. I was sorting through loves and regrets. It turned out those are the same because I loved Nino so much and I was so sad that I wouldn’t get to see what the rest of our life together would be like.
Now here we are. Living through a pandemic together. With our children. I am so so lucky.