I had just started graduate school when I met her; she was in the department with me, and we were in the same office pool. We were also in some of the same classes, so we would often find ourselves working on the same assignments at the same time. It was from doing so that we ended up having our first date, and it was a good one.

About a month into the term, one of our professors – an imposing older gentleman of the “old school” of professorship – handed out a doozy of an assignment. I’ll not get into the details; they’re really not that interesting. What I will note, though, was that the assignment struck the class oddly. Some people freaked out at how hard it was. Some looked over the sheet and realized it was not going to be a problem. She was one of the former, while I was one of the latter. And so I soon found myself helping her with the work.

When we got the assignments back, we had both earned As for the trouble. She offered to buy me a cup of coffee as a way of saying thanks, and I accepted. While we sat and drained down our cups – hers with cream and sugar, mine strong and black – we talked about where we were from and where our families were from. As it happens, her people and mine live not so far apart, and we soon found ourselves chatting about places we had both been. We realized that our tastes were not quite so different – and not only about the kinds of places we like and dislike. For we kissed in the coffee shop, caffeinated breaths intermingling in our mouths.

We have had many cups of coffee since.