It's 1974, a few weeks before high school graduation. She's a sophomore, fifteen years old.
She sees a boy she's never noticed before going into the band room, turns to her girlfriend and says matter-of-factly, "That's the boy I'm going to marry."
She doesn't even know his name.
After the high school graduation ceremony, which everyone in this small town attends, he comes over to her and asks, "When are you comin' to see me," and explains he's working as a lifeguard at the pool over the summer to help earn money for college. She demurs. She still doesn't know his name.
She waits until the end of June to go to the pool since she doesn't want to seem too eager. He immediately notices her sitting with her feet dangling in the water and on his next break heads over to her and asks, "What are you doin' tonight, besides going out with me?"
She replies, "Well, I guess I'll be going out with you!" And he finally introduces himself.
On their third date, he proposes and she accepts.
Their families are livid, hers especially. Neither of them have dated much at all, he's been focused on school and getting into college, he wants to be a doctor, and she just wasn't interested in dating. Until now.
When her father puts his foot down and forbids the marriage, she says simply, "Fine, then we'll just live together."
They're married nine days after her 16th birthday. In Oklahoma, you can't marry under the age of 16 unless you're pregnant, which she's not.
36 years later they are still married, still in love.
"He's my best friend," she tells me. They have two daughters, the oldest is an RN, the youngest a doctor, like her dad. Three beloved grandchildren.
When I ask her how she could have been so sure, she merely says, "I just knew. He says our souls recognized each other, and I think he's right."
Who am I to argue? I just wonder if my soulmate is still wandering around somewhere, wondering where the fuck I am and what's taking me so long.