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  • Writer's pictureDrew Dotson

Zip it good

Did you know some zippers lock when the pull tab is in the down position? In other words, after zipping, you place the tab down to lock the zipper in place—so the barn door’s not open.

I thought of this recently because, soon after I met Ramón, I realized he often had a safety pin on the bathroom counter. It changed locations regularly, so I wondered what he used it for.

“What’s up with that safety pin?”

“My pants always come unzipped.”

I assumed he had one pair of pants with a finicky zipper, but upon further questioning, I learned it was an issue with ALL of his pants. I suspected he was the problem.

“Do you flip the zipper down after you’re all zipped up?”


I explained that he might need to put it in the down position to lock it in place. His life was forever changed.

When I recalled this exchange, it made me smile, as do most memories of Ramón. I’m often grateful when my phone shows me photo memories from a day X years ago or when I hear a song that transports me to another moment in time. The memories that bring me pain are mostly from the last months of Ramón’s life—the time when medical issues rendered him so different from the person I’d always known.

Thankfully, though, that was a short part of our lives together. I welcome most memories, but those are the ones I try to resist. It’s hard to find even a glimmer of joy in them—only that I had the honor of loving him until the very end.

Lately some folks have asked me if reminiscing is painful—particularly in terms of Love Per DM, the project sharing our online messages before we met in person. The short answer is no. Ramón and I got a kick out of it when people asked how we met.

Depending on the circumstances, we’d give the short version or the longer version. The short version being “at an improv show,” and the longer version detailing the random Facebook friend request. If we felt extra generous, we’d disclose the fact that we pre-planned to kiss before talking. (If you’re following along with Love Per DM, you’ll know the kiss conversation is under way. If you're not, now's the time. Things are getting juicy!)

On a conscious level, rereading the messages brings me great joy. However, as I’ve come to learn about grief, sometimes there’s shady business happening beneath the surface.

For the most part, memories of Ramón make my heart happy, Love Per DM included. I’m thankful for everyone who’s reliving our story—people who knew Ramón and people I’ve met since. I’m especially grateful for the strangers on the internet, like Ramón and I once were.

With every new post, I’m nostalgic about the excitement leading up to the moment we met in person. Especially with the knowledge that it all worked out. Sort of. The love part did.

A couple posing in front of a barn
"Pants are hard," Ramón thinks


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