So, while she was lucky in so many ways, and always smiling on the outside, it wasn't always that way on the inside. She wanted to feel loved.
Her high school years went on like that. One day she was hanging out with one of her very close boy friends, just the two of them. It was November in Oregon and one of those dreary days where there wasn't much to do. They were sitting in the living room at the boy's house and he was building a fire. They'd done this a million times. He'd been to her house, she'd been to his house because he was one of her best friends. Something was different about this day though. Her normally fun-loving, silly friend was being much more quiet than normal. She watched him stare into the fire as he built it and finally she asked him if everything was okay. He told her it was. She told him he was spacing off and asked him what he was thinking about. He looked at her and told her he was thinking about her. He told her he thought he was in love with her.
The girl felt a tornado of different emotions inside her--happiness, shock, confusion. There had really only been one boy who said things to her like that before and he'd been a liar, a fake. He'd been out to hurt her but she knew this boy. Knew him so well and knew that he would never do something like that. If he said it, he meant it. But she was scared. They were just friends, weren't they? There were plenty of other girls he could have, much prettier girls, so why would he want her?
But then, she wasn't so bad was she? And they always had a good time together. He made her laugh and she seemed to do the same thing to him. In fact, she probably had more fun with him than she did most of her other friends.
The boy and girl were together from that day forward. They laughed together and talked together. He gave her a promise ring after they'd only been dating a month and though her brain told her it was too soon (as did most of her friends and most of the adults she knew), her heart told her something different.
Things weren't easy for them. Neither of them had a particularly easy life. Not extremely hard either but definitely not easy. They had a lot of things to deal with, things most teen couples didn't have both inside their relationship and outside of it. And they were young. Everyone always reminded the girl that relationships that start at their ages, typically didn't work. They were right too. She understood that.
But theirs did. No matter how hard things got they loved each other. He made her feel beautiful but the really amazing thing was that while being with him, she learned how to make herself feel beautiful. She got stronger when she hadn't known she was weak before, and she learned how to see those really amazing things about herself. Because we all have them. Even if you don't see them, I promise, they're there. She learned that she didn't need him to feel beautiful, but that it wasn't so bad he made her feel that way. She knew she was worthy on her own, that she was worthy of being loved with our without him. She just happened to have him.
People wondered if it would work, not only because of their age but because this boy had been known to get in a little trouble now and again. But he was young and learning like we all need to do. All she knew was he was the boy who listened to her. He was the boy who remembered when she talked about how strange it was that girls loved getting flowers so much, since all they did was die, but also that she was one of those girls. She loved flowers so months later he bought her a rose plated in gold so it would never die. That was one of her favorite things about him--that he listened to her. He did things to try and make her feel good. He never tore her down. Ever.
They were together four years before he proposed. They got married five and a half years after they started dating. In so many ways the boy and the girl grew up together. They discovered who they are together. They're both very different people than they were all those years ago but the amazing thing is they both probably love each other even more now than they did then.
They don't have a typical love story. People were right and most relationships that start young don't work and it never would have worked if the girl didn't learn to see her own beauty without him. To see her own worth. Tomorrow they will have been married for eleven years. They've been together for almost sixteen. The girl can't wait for the next eleven years, the next sixteen years because she knows they will always be spent with him by her side.