August 14, 2008
By Ying Lin, New York, NY

He was always there from first memories. He was always there by her side. Growing up she didn’t have everything but she did have him. As long as I have you and you have me, we will never need anyone else she told him and herself.
He was what was considered a childhood friend, but he meant much more to her that part. In a way he was her other, the other side of the coin.
He held her hand on the first day of school as they walked together, smoothly talking her out of her fears. She clung on to him the same way one would cling to a lifeboat in the middle of the sea. She remember his warm smile and cool hands that held hers so gently. Although they were the same age it always felt that he was older and mature.
He was also there by her side when her first boyfriend dumped her. She thought she didn’t care that an useless boy whom she didn’t love had cheated on her. Yet the pain of being left behind stuck, she cried in his arms on that day. The same day she had sobbingly begged him never to leave her, that she didn’t need anyone but him. He smiled, he always was smiling, and let her snot run onto his shirt. He didn’t complain about that and he didn’t complain when she held on to his hand all the way home.
The same way he didn’t yell or scream “cooties” when she kissed him in elementary school. She had just recently read about love and in her mind she had labeled him as her boyfriend right then. After the kiss he just laughed and swiped his mouth, had asked if she wanted to play tag. He thought it was another one of those funny weird things she did. In that moment she knew that he would never love her like they explained love in the books. Somehow her nine year old mind worked out that they would not be together and they would not marry and they would not have a boy named James and a girl named Rose. But in that same moment she didn’t feel sad.
It was only later that she knew she loved him but not like the love her younger self had thought. She smiled as she remembered all of these things, scenes playing in the back of her mind, like her very own private movie screening.
“Are you ready now?” The woman asked.
Privately hiding that smile she had been wearing and putting another sort on she turned and picked up the white veil in the woman’s hands.
“Yes. I think I am.”
“You look amazing. The dress is beautiful on you. Now be careful walking down.”
As she put on the veil and picked up the hem of her dress, she wondered what she was exactly feeling now. Happy, wonderfully delighted her heart and mind answered her.
Then she walked down the aisle. Looking at the boy, no, the man sitting on the sides with his lover while she married hers, it was truly….something.
He smiled at her and blew her a kiss as she walked past. She gave him a private smile as the music reached its climax. She turned back to her soon to be husband and knew that she loved the man in front of her.
But her love for him was different from her love for her other self. Yet it was the man standing in the groom’s position that she wanted to marry.
He was always there, from her first memories to now. He watched her get married off and had joking warned the husband that if she was ever hurt then the groom would go through hell. At the same time though, the kind yet warning look in his eyes betrayed the tone of his voice.
In the last hours, beloved waved his love off as she drove off in the limo, into her new life without him. Yet he felt that he was ready to let her go and she was ready to be on her own.

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