Meeting Again

When people ask us how we first met, we always tell them we had already met before holding tightly onto each other in this lifetime. There was a surreal sense of familiarity and a strange but magical sense of relief, like we had been waiting for each other. Meeting each other made us believe that everything we had gone through up until then was to get to that single moment. Since then, we have met a few new versions of ourselves and each other, sometimes struggling to make room for them, but always working through and healing from that initial fear. Through our journey, we have learned we will probably meet again a thousand times over and, each time, love will conquer all. Seven years into our relationship, we revisit the innocent times we have met in this lifetime and, together, envision one in another universe altogether as completely different characters.

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We took the same “Sociology of Sexuality” class as sophomores in college and would watch each other from our respective corners of the classroom. In Alex’s eyes, River sported the classic “international student chic” style, with dark-framed glasses and a suitcase to boot. In River’s eyes, Alex served “gay as fuck” twink realness instead, with crop tops and booty shorts, probably. River sat in the front of the classroom, always saying something insightful, while Alex sat in the back, always giggling about something and getting in trouble with her group of friends. Later that year, after quite the eventful summer for each of us, we shared space again. In the early fall, Alex was in the audience as River performed poetry at an event that centered various queer Latinx student leaders on campus. In awe, and in true Alex nature, Alex watched from afar, trying to muster up the courage to introduce herself, to no avail—at least this time.

A couple of months later, fate arranged for us to meet again, this time intentionally. Per Alex’s thorough instructions, all her friends were mandated to introduce her to all eligible queer boys they met. She was looking for love and, surely enough, her methods worked. Outside of his apartment building, River met Rupali, “Roo,” Alex’s friend. After striking a sweet conversation, Roo brought River to Jordan’s party, where Alex was waiting for him. At the party, we both locked eyes, somehow knowing we were there for each other. Though we were eager to get to know each other, as often happens in queer spaces, a boy Alex had casually been with in the past, approached River first, making matters a little complicated. After a complicated push and pull, Alex finally said, exasperated toward the end of the night, “I am going to another party and you can either come with me or stay here!” Alex ultimately won that night’s battle, as River quickly followed suit. We went to another party, where we quickly found out we had many dear friends in common, and celebrated, with many vices, at Alex’s place later. The morning after, we had a breakfast date that never ended.

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Throughout our first year together, we met the brightest and the darkest versions of ourselves and each other—the ones affected by our traumas and ultimately shaped by our resiliency. We celebrated each other’s glory, collaborated in organizing and art spaces, and even tended to each other’s wounds as best as we could, not knowing exactly what we were doing—always trying our best because the love was electric. A year and a half into our relationship, as our college years were culminating, Alex proposed. A few months later, we met each other again as “husbands.” We did not anticipate the sweet safety of our marriage would later push us to meet again as “partners” instead, a journey that has since unfolded many more versions of ourselves. Over the course of our marriage, we have continued trying our best to tend to our wounds and work through our fears, hoping to return to the electricity of the young love that first brought us together.

Through the shifts and the challenges, of which you are probably aware if you follow us, we have learned there is no end to this cycle of meeting again, and feel so grateful for that blessing. We believe wholeheartedly that, no matter what universe, timeline, or lifetime, we will always find each other. In the photography that now accompanies these vignettes, we meet again in a completely different timeline—an alternate universe, if you will. There, Alex is not afraid to take risks. She is a little eclectic but always glamorous. She loves beauty but sometimes feels like she has seen it all. That is, until she meets River. Always in her head, River loves to dream big. She is always fantasizing about better worlds, likely humming to a pop song. She carries a flighty energy, living in potentials. Alex feels drawn to that energy and, determined, wants to live in her world. Scratch that, she wants to create a world with her. So, they do. In her signature innocence, often misunderstood as shallowness, River is excited about cultivating joy with Alex. Together, they decide to inject their grey world with their own shades of color. The result is pure magic. The result is love.

Photography by Falyn Huang
Makeup by Shamis McGillin
Hair by Nevada Raffaele
Styling by Sal Yvat