One of the first conversations that Macey and I had when we met was about books. It was the first day of high school, and I saw her pull out a book in our morning class after we’d gone through the motions of getting the syllabus for the semester and starting an easy project. When she asked to sit next to me on the afternoon bus, we began talking about what we were reading and she offered to lend me her book (Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande) when she was finished.
Books have been an important part of each of our individual lives for almost as long as we can remember, and they’re also central in our relationship. When I proposed to Macey at the end of August, I realized just how fortunate I am to spend my life with someone else who loves stories as much as I do.
We always lend each other our books.
The best thing about dating another reader is that it’s like expanding your library. When Macey and I were dating in high school, I didn’t have a lot of money. My dad was a cab driver and I read as often as I did because of our expansive library system—and borrowing books from other people. Macey and I have recommended our favorites to one another and when we moved in together, it meant we got to combine our libraries (although some readers don’t do that!) and I had a whole new set of stories to enjoy.
There’s plenty to talk about.
“What are you reading right now?” has been a favorite question for both of us over the years. We try to talk about books spoiler-free unless one of us has absolutely no interest in it (I refused to read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child screenplay despite being a big Harry Potter fan). We have arguments over how a story should have ended and who the best character was. We trade ideas for plotting and world building. We talk about how badly we want to see more queer women and nonbinary characters in books, or how rare it is to see a fat protagonist who’s actually happy.
Neither of us is a book snob.
I’ve always been of the opinion that people should read whatever they want. If you love manga, comic books, science fiction, steamy romances or young adult books, that’s totally fine. Macey and I have both met our fair share of literature snobs who actively look down on those who don’t read or who put down Jane Austen in favor of a graphic novel about queer figure skaters—and we aren’t into it. We actually both were slow to come around to books and struggled with reading until around second grade, so we don’t believe in book-shaming anyone.
Some of our best memories are because of books.
Our friendship started because of books and it deepened when we learned that we’re both also writers. Macey was the first person I’d met who liked writing fiction outside of class assignments, so we’ve spent countless hours talking about plots (and plot holes) in our own stories. We’ve gone on dates to libraries and bookstores.
We gift each other a book for every holiday. Our cats Blue and Gansey are named after book characters from Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys series. We stood in line for almost two hours to meet V.E. Schwab and I almost cried when I took a photo with my favorite childhood author, Kate DiCamillo. Some of my favorite memories are of us sitting in bed reading.
We have vast imaginations.
Magic and stories are a huge part of our lives. We both have active imaginations and, individually, spend a lot of time daydreaming. So when we come together, we can brainstorm creative ideas and easily entertain ourselves wherever we are. It makes waiting in line and getting stuck at the airport because of delays a lot less painful. And we bring that imaginative energy to our relationship. All couples deal with routines and boring conversations (are there people who actually like to talk about taxes?), but we can pull ourselves through it by creating a story together after.
We’re both highly empathetic.
Research shows that reading fiction makes people more empathetic, and that’s definitely true for us. There’s a downside to being so empathetic because we do tend to get exhausted by people’s emotions. For the most part, I think it strengthens our relationship. We understand how each other is feeling and we can also respect the importance of breaks and self-care. When you’re an empath, you often need time to just be alone, so we’re able to give each other the space we need to decompress.
Life is an adventure.
My perspective has always been that life is a story and an adventure, and I love sharing my life with someone who wants the same thing. Our days aren’t always easy and we’ve supported each other through deaths in our families, job losses, rejections, health challenges, sexual assault and trauma. I’m disabled and starting using a cane a little over two years ago, and Macey was there with me when I picked out my first one. She told me to read Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and reading it was the first time I felt seen as a person with a mobility impairment.
But we make time for adventure whenever we can, whether it’s walking through the crowded streets of Beacon Hill to look at Halloween decorations or attending a murder mystery dinner at Trident Booksellers. Our life together is magic because we make space for daily magic at every opportunity. One of my favorite traditions, curtsying under the full moon, was given to us by Macey’s French family. There’s also a lot of adventure and magic in the ways we read and write stories. Nothing gets me through a hard time faster than pulling out a good book (or sitting down to write my own), and I’m lucky to spend my life with someone who gets that.
Photographer: Captured by Ginny
Location: Salem, Massachusetts
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Alaina Leary Lavoie
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