I fell in love with a boy who didn’t belong to me.
The night I met him, he was a dark length of trench coat and unruly hair. I was a disgruntled ball of resentment and a pinch of jealousy. I wanted that meeting over with so I could get back to normal.
Sometimes I’m really grateful when God turns a deaf ear.
He made it so hard to hate him. I made it easy—couldn’t he take a lesson? We didn’t need to be friends, we weren’t here for each other. But it’s hard to loathe a guy who writes letters dipped in heart-ink. Even if those letters were never about me.
I let myself hold those words. I let myself dream that the colors whirled and bled and when they were dry, they’d be my declarations, my soulful longing. It hurt to love someone like that. Someone who was too good for her—too good for me.
See the lights, see the party, the ball gowns, see you make your way through the crowd and say hello.And then he saw me. Me. I never knew what he saw because my eyes were filled with the curve of his lips and my ears rang with those reformed letters on the page. It was impossible. It was a fairytale. It was the first real miracle of my life.
He wasn’t stolen. He was free to take my hand with his long, beautiful fingers where mine fit so well. The past fell away—her memories, his memories—and nothing else mattered. I filled my hatbox with his letters. I filled my heart with his name.
We were so young. Too young.
Little did I know that you were Romeo, you were throwing pebbles and my daddy said “Stay away from Juliet.” And I was crying on the staircase begging you, “Please don’t go.”I didn’t know what my parents knew about life. All I knew was that I’d found this thing, this feeling that I’d waited my whole life for. I was stuffed full of those notions of forever and first loves and their words were fences. I wanted wide spaces. I wanted what I wanted.
Romeo take me somewhere we can be alone. I’ll be waiting, all there’s left to do is run. You’ll be the prince and I’ll be the princess. It’s a love story. Baby, just say yes.It was too long to wait between classes just for five minutes of entwined fingers, folded slips of paper, and crushing hugs when the bell rang. It felt like all of the fluorescent bulbs had been switched out with sky lights. Lockers weren’t for storing books but deposits for tokens and letters.
Happiness like that wasn’t invisible, no matter how hard I tried to hide it. My parents wanted better for me. I thought it couldn’t get any better. They were scared. I was fearless. I couldn’t know the things they knew.
No one saw me like he did. No one had ever listened to the darkness deep inside of me and found light. He didn’t laugh. He didn’t tell me I was wrong. He just filled up page after page and each word was a pearl where I had only ever been sand.
I never wanted to disappear into a clam again. So, we became a secret, a beautiful, glowing secret.
So, I sneak out to the garden to see you. We keep quiet ‘cause we’re dead if they knew, so close your eyes. Escape this town for a little while.We skipped class, town, and stones. And I forgot about being invisible. My mom and dad did what they thought was best and it probably was. The best hurt a lot.
Romeo save me, they’re trying to tell me how to feel. This love is difficult but it’s real. Don’t be afraid, we’ll make it out of this mess. It’s a love story. Baby, just say yes.She broke his heart in early summer. I broke his heart in early spring. His friends knew what I’d always known—I wasn’t good enough for him. They picked up the pieces of the pall I’d laid over him but no one could pick up the pieces of him scattered around me. He moved on, I moved on. I learned the hard lessons my parents tried to protect me from. But through it all, he was my gleaming memory and everyone else fell short.
He was too good. He was a friend I didn’t earn and though the love had set between us, he refused to let the friendship dip below the horizon. I watched those other lucky girls and hated them. I dated those other boys and slid further away from the dream. I tried to bury it, to kill the memory of his brand of blue eyes. Even if he could forgive me, I couldn’t.
‘Cause you were Romeo, I was a scarlet letter and my daddy said “stay away from Juliet” but you were everything to me and I was begging you “please don’t go.”I said “Yes” to the wrong man. We fought the night he proposed because I was heartbroken over how to tell the right man. The right man met me in the mountains, the springtime of another year falling around us. A sheen filled his eyes as I told him I’d accepted someone else’s ring.
He pretended to be happy for me. I didn’t bother pretending.
I spent a year pushing back the date. I told myself I’d earned this because I knew what being a pearl felt like and I didn’t treasure it when I had the chance. Everything became the hell I made for myself. I lost everyone, everything, and the one thing I wanted more than anything. And then my grandfather got sick.
His death brought me more than perspective. It woke the dream. It was no less possible than it had ever been. I was no more deserving than I’d ever been. But I hoped. Hoped and took a step.
Romeo save me, I’ve been feeling so alone. I keep waiting for you but you never come. Is this in my head? I don’t know what to think. He knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring and said,“Marry me, Juliet. You’ll never have to be alone. I love you and that’s all I really know. I talked to your dad. Go pick out a white dress. It’s a love story. Baby, just say yes.”
It was impossible. It was a fairytale. It was the greatest miracle of my life.
It’s our love story and this year will mark ten years of wearing the right man’s ring on my finger. It’s not my anniversary. It’s just another day but every day I wear this ring is another cupful of grace I never thought I’d have. Every day is our impossible love story and every day I celebrate it.
I love you, baby. Yes, yes, and yes. Always.
Italicized lyrics are from Taylor Swift’s Love Story.