She curls up in my bed after a two week vacation. We laugh, happy to see each other again. She gives me her left hand. And there is the ring.
Over the years while Joanna has been working here, this Xander person off and on showed up in her text- or chat world. Those periods were intense, and to be honest I wasn’t very fond of them. As Xander was in a relationship with children, nothing good could come out of them, and they always ended with Joanna having to cut the contact off, for the best of everyone. Heart breaking of course.
Joanna and Xander were an item when they were 12 and 13 years old. I have listened to Joanna’s lively stories of their feelings for each other, feelings as true to her as 20+ as they were back then, not even a teenager. All through her different relationships growing up, nothing ever came close to Xander. And it seemed the case was the same for him. They had never let go of each other.
Now and then they were about to meet up for a coffee or so. But bailed out right before. Last time they saw each other they were around 16. So years passed and they both became young parents and grown ups along the road. Different roads.
I can say the exact date when they finally met, because it was right when I turned 60 that part two of the Joanna and Xander saga started. After not seeing each other for eight years they had coffee one afternoon, met again the same evening and three days later he decided on separating.
This sounds hysterical, I know, but Xander had been ready for many years. Just waiting for Joanna. “I have always known we would be together again. You are the love of my life”.
A little more than a year later I am looking back at a dramatic and turbulent year for Joanna. Xander was everything she remembered him to be and more. Her childhood love was not a dream. It was real and here they were, now man and woman. It was magical and scary.
I know Joanna’s demons and it was inevitable they would surface. Many times she has been on the verge running away from what she in her heart wants the most. But Xander has been a rock. “I’m not going anywhere.” He has been still in the boat no matter how high the waves Joanna’s hurricanes have created around him. “I’m not going anywhere”.
It has also been a journey for Joanna traveling from being a single mom raising a little child all by herself to creating a family for three young daughters with the love of your life. And doing the necessary changes in her life to make that work.
I have only met Xander a few times, but from those occasions and from following this amazing story first hand I know that he is a responsible, trustable, wise, loving and sensitive young man. I am sounding like a mother here, but I could not have wished for a a more perfect companion for Joanna in her life.
And on Saturday morning she is at my bedside again, after a vacation in Italy with Xander. And she tells me the story about the ring on her finger. They had had a delicious dinner that evening, afterwords strolling the cobblestone streets of the Old City. And there was this musician singing Italian canzoni in an open space with people. Joanna and Xander danced, and already there it was like a movie.
Then Xander whispered something to the musician and the next song he weaved Joanna’s name into the lyrics. Xander went down on his knees on the cobblestone and the music stopped as Xander took the ring out of his pocket and asked Joanna to marry him. The people around them who had all gone quiet started cheering and applauding. On top of that, the ring was perfect, Xander new exactly what Joanna would like to wear on her finger through her life. Curtain down.
I know. It’s almost annoyingly romantic.
Now, I have opinions about the (contemporary) images of proposals but it’s a different post and I will definitely not ruin this amazing story with speaking up my mind about that.
What are the chances that a left behind childhood love stays true more than ten years later? How is it possible that it wasn’t just a pretty memory? How can a 12 year old girl and a 13 year old boy know that their love is larger than life? Not let go, choose each other again and it’s all the same, only even more magical? It is an amazing and truly beautiful saga.