“I have a surprise for you! See you at the pub at 9.”
My college roommate left me a voicemail before I arrived in New York City. It had been a few years since we’d seen each other. I’d been busy falling in love and had just gotten married. She’d been fully occupied with the wrong guy.
But when she walked in, I realized her whole story had changed.
A tall blond man - because that’s what he was, now - swept in and swirled me around. It had been ten years, but I knew my dear friend’s first love as soon as I heard his great, sweet laugh.
We caught up. We drank Guinness. I didn't know what it meant to see them together again, so I asked the question that I thought might reveal it all. “So, did you ever take the picture out of the frame?”
My youngest and I spending the afternoon with two little wheat-haired boys. During a brief moment of peace, I look at the collage with the wedding vows and the invitation for that 2009 ceremony. On the table beneath is a photograph taken in our freshman dorm.
I don’t have to take the picture out of the frame to know what’s written on the piece of paper tucked inside: “Remember, I will always love you.”
She had written the note in a moment of melancholy that 18 year-olds do so well. “Now, when he dumps me and starts going out with some other girl, he’ll feel totally guilty.”
Because there’s truth in the myth of true love and destiny, he never, ever took the picture out of the frame.