Twenty years ago, I studied abroad in England–curious to learn something new. When I arrived, I took a train into London for a welcome orientation weekend, before heading north to Lancaster University. Moments after checking into a nondescript, student-friendly hotel, I met Mel.

Our connection was instantaneous; it felt timeless, as if we had always been and would forever be.

Mel was destined for the University of Sussex. And nobody–not even baby dykes–started a long-distance relationship on the first day of study abroad, back when prepaid phone cards were the only option.

We became friends and eventually partners. The only anniversary we cared to celebrate was the day we met.

For our 20th, we went back to London. We found our hotel, piecing together fragments from my journal, her scrapbook, my photographic memory, her pigeon-like sense of direction. It was still a hotel. And London was still London; so the rain started to fall as we gazed up at the third-floor window of the bunkbed room we first shared.

Mel and I ducked into the lobby and were kindly offered a cup of tea. We waited out the passing shower.

“This is where we met,” we kept repeating.

Tracey Emin I want my time with you 2018

Tracey Emin, I want my time with you, 2018

Serendipitously, one of my favorite artists, Tracey Emin, also had a public art piece on view at the St Pancras International station.

I Want My Time With You stretched 20 meters, over 65-feet, across wrought iron and glass roof. The nearby Champagne Bar by Searcys offered a stunner view.

We rang for Champagne but learned there was an English sparkling on the menu we decided to give a go.

Mel and I toasted to our time–and to wanting more.