We met in November 1996, at Ellen's birthday party at Cyborganic, in San Francisco. Pretty much one or two weeks after we first conversed, we were spending entire weekends together.
I went back to college and I considered her my girlfriend. She was at times a bit more hesitant - loving amply in the moment, when I could travel to see her, and at the same time she wasn't happy with long distance. Through all of our struggles in those days, we always re-seduced ourselves over the phone, postcards or on-screen.
As soon as I graduated college, and maybe even a little before then, I moved from Swarthmore to the San Francisco Bay Area, more specifically, Oakland where Amy was living. Since we expected to be spending an awful lot of time together, it didn't make sense to have separate residences in the crazy housing market, so we planned to move in together. We had some discussions about it, whether it would be too much, but really, we got along so well that I think we looked forward to it.
We found a wonderful little house in an unruly part of town - a nice place, but we were soon mugged. So we moved to another place in a nicer part of Oakland, a small house with a creek out back.
All along, Amy had been making art, arranging everyday things, taking photos, making videos. She was an art and communications double major, and as part of her graduation effort, she wrote and directed the short film Blood, which I was proud to act in.
Once she was out of school, she had loans to pay back so she took work in the internet industry, working solidly paying gigs as a web technician. It was funny to see that after all my years working online, she was making more than me in just a few months out of college. That's what skills and discipline can do for you!
Soon I took a job, and so we became a working cohabitating couple - busy all during the week, and tired, and then cramming in errands and extended socializing on the weekends. We visited the Thai temple in Berkeley for her lessons, we kicked out the jams with her female homies, we took road trips to LA. Against my protestations that we weren't responsible enough, we adopted Fernando, a cat.
We worked and we cared for a home and a pet - it was like adulthood. After my years of wandering about, I was happy to put down roots. I was very focused on my work and my gaming education at Gamers.com so I didn't spend much time thinking of other places to go. Amy, on the other hand, she was always ready to entertain any of the pleas from her far distant friends to come live in Los Angeles or New York. She kept herself stimulated in Oakland by cooking up ideas for films and art installations.
Every few months we had a recalibrating argument. Our dialog could get pretty caustic. It didn't seem to matter much but eventually we parted ways. First she moved out and then it seemed we were fighting most all of the time. After a while we learned to enjoy each other again; after I saw her digs at the bend and how much more art she was making as an independent lady, I was happy to see her doing her Amy thing. Her EggThings.com, in fact.