Paul and I met at a church camp the summer before our sophomore year in high school. We were both from the same hometown but went to different schools. I went to the camp with my friend, Jinny, but ended up hanging out with Paul and his motley crew of friends the entire week. I had never met someone so real and funny and I just thought he was the coolest. We dated for a couple months after the camp but then my idiot self decided I needed to check out what other fish there were in the sea. We remained friends all through high school and both dated other people but I always felt a little soft spot for ol' PT.
True story: I worked downtown at a law office after school and hadn't seen Paul in a couple of months. One day during senior year when I was leaving to run an errand I saw him parked down the street about to go into the courthouse. I was going the wrong way and technically too fast to pull into a spot next to him but at the last second decided I had to see him. I whipped the car around, tires squealing, into the parking space next to him, almost plowing into the truck on the other side of me, the owner of which was standing there mouth agape and looking at me like I was insane. Which I was. Oh, teenage hormones, I don't miss you. When I left and was thinking back on what had just happened and wondering why the hell I had just acted like such a fool I suddenly realized how smitten I was with that Paul Taylor.
He was dating someone else at the time and so was I but a few months later when my friend, Nicole, and I were riding around one afternoon (because that's what you do for fun in SmallTown, USA) she told me that he and his girlfriend had just broken up. I knew that was my chance so I called him right up and told him we were coming to pick him up. After hanging out all afternoon, we had our first kiss, I called and broke up with my boyfriend, and we've been together ever since. 10 years. A decade. Yowza, I feel old. But I also feel so lucky to have snagged this man who I know was meant for me. We've had our ups and downs, of course, but at the end of the day there's no question that by each other's side is where we'll always be.
Here's to many more decades, my love.