The first time I touched my husband was right around Halloween, in 1996 before a Smashing Pumpkins concert at the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The coliseum’s bathrooms smelled like cardboard soaked in beer. I’d go there with my parents for the circus or the Home and Garden show when I was small and get existential anxiety over the fact that the place was so much older than I was.

Kids lined up in the same arena for elephant rides during circus intermissions decades before I was born, and over the years the place had become not only mythical but also really, really dirty. To cope, I turned the structure of the building into junk food. The walls were chocolate ice cream sandwiches mortared together with vanilla icing. The lights were a million wintergreen lifesavers lighting up on command. Somehow, by making the place edible, going there became bearable.

So I was in the Memorial Coliseum again, a college freshman with this tremendous crush on a sophomore with big hair and slight hips and burgundy Doc Martens. I waited for him in the lobby, scanning the doors. When he finally fished through the crowd and found me we hugged intuitively, for the first time, for a while. Once, driving in a car with other people, he fell asleep and I touched the sleeve of his cardigan and it lit me up. But it was nothing like this.

People fanned around us. We could have been the drinking fountain, the trash can, the vending machine. Or something edible, as fantastic as wintergreens, sparking in time.

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