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Taylor and I met in our seventh grade history class; he was the kind of boy who would raise his hand in the middle of the lesson just to crack a dumb joke and I was the kind of girl who would roll her eyes and ignore him. He wore oversized basketball shorts, button-up flannel shirts, and Jordan's. I wore awkwardly-tight aeropostale shirts, sweatpants, and slippers that were falling apart (I guess we were a match made in heaven). Our friendship began like any other middle school boy-girl relationship-- him trying to impress me and me trying to pretend I that didn't notice. Yet, despite my indifferences, somewhere between all of the classes we shared (history, foods, biology, choir) we became friends. (I guess I couldn't resist his awkward, teenage boy charm?)

We never dated in high school-- not officially, at least. Taylor claims he's been in love with me from the start. He even swears that his earliest memory of middle school was seeing me walking through the hallway and thinking, "Dang, she's the prettiest girl I've ever seen." We have no real record of that, of course, so I just let him claim what he will. 

I finally let myself fall for Taylor halfway through our senior year of high school. We'd been such good friends for such a long time and I was always too afraid to "ruin" that relationship. Eventually, however, I realized that I adored Taylor Dale Gunther in every way possible and that the mere thought of him warmed my heart. 

A few weeks ago, I happened across the journal I kept at the time I started falling in love with this boy of mine. I flipped through the pages, searching for every mention of my lover boy, and it brought back a whole wave of emotions. 

"Taylor Dale Gunther. Every heard of him? If not, you're missing out. He's only the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful and loving human being I have ever had the good fortune to meet; let alone love. I love the kid. I love him to pieces. And it's not your typical, cliche high school romance. I love the kid. He's been a best friend of mine ever since seventh grade. He's always been there. It's a best friend kind of love that morphed into something more. And even though I don't necessarily understand all of it quite yet, I know what I feel. And for me, that's more than enough. For now, at least."

* * * * * * *

"...I called him. He didn't answer. I was slightly devastated. But not too long after, he called me back. We joked around, and when he finally asked why I called, I told him that I wanted to hang out with him. 

Needless to say, when six o'clock rolled around (or at least sometime around six o'clock), I was sitting on the front porch wrapped up in a massive blanket with a little red polka dot umbrella propped against my shoulder and a bottle of bubbles near my feet. And there I sat, happy as could be, when Tay pulled into the cul-de-sac, parked his car, and began his journey to the steps upon which I sat. 

We laughed and blew bubbles as the sky leaked raindrops from way up above; we sat there until the stiffness of the cement made our bodies ache, then we allowed ourselves to merely topple backwards and sprawl awkwardly out upon my front porch. We spun the umbrella above our heads and talked about silly things. Taylor would occasionally reach over and tickle me and I'd squirm quickly away; I've always been exceptionally ticklish.

Eventually the cold seeped through the blanket and all the way to our bones. So we gathered up our things and proceeded to go inside, all the way downstairs to watch a movie. And that's what we did. But he unexpectedly reached his arm around me and pulled my head into his chest and just like that, I found my heaven in his arms."

"I talked to Taylor earlier today and we planned on hanging out. He pulled up in front of the house as I was lounging outside comfortably basking in the sunlight. It was a beautiful day today. He joined me on the blanket and we talked with each other and teased each other.  He kept cracking jokes and I couldn't stop laughing. He took my phone and I freaked out because I didn't want him to see that I had set the picture of the two of us the night he got his mission call as my background. 

He tickled me, and teased me, and kept covering my head with the blanket. He sometimes even tackled me and pinned me to the ground. We literally just played and I loved every second of it. The sun felt so warm on my skin and it lit up his eyes as we layed on our stomachs with our heads resting on our folded arms. He had me laughing so hard that my eyes were leaking pure happiness. I kept telling him that he was making me cry, but he'd look at me and exclaim, "There are no tears!!" So I'd take his fingers and press them to the corners of my eyes and say, "Don't you feel them?" and he'd smile fiendishly and say, "Nope."

Eventually, we found ourselves walking inside because the sun had started to fall asleep and it took all of its warmth with it. We meandered all the way downstairs into the dungeon (yes, that's what I call my basement). He kept teasing me and I'd just tease him right back. He was sitting on the beanbag chair and I was laying on the couch. He reached up his arm and started running his fingers through my hair. I love when he does that. Even though my hair is always so tangled. 

Eventually, we ended up on the same couch. He held me close and my fingers traced his facial features as we talked about simple things. I kept telling him that he was a horrible person (but only because he was teasing me so mercilessly) and he tickled me to the point of which it could have easily been considered torture. He told me that I am a wonderful person and I just said, "Maybe." He raised his eyebrows and I just smiled and said, "What if I'm actually a horrible person?" He sat for a moment before replying, "Hmm. Well, if that's the case, what are we going to do about it?" And I just smiled before saying, "Well, we'll just have to be absolutely miserable, won't we?" And just like that, he moved closer and pressed his lips against my own.

It doesn't go away. That 'first kiss' sensation, I mean. It's there each and every time we kiss. I don't know how he does it, how he makes me feel the way he does, but he is so good at it."

It was such a sweet experience to read through these forgotten moments with Tay. I'd start every entry with, "Hey, Tay, see if you can remember this!" And then I'd read the words scrawled across the page and we'd both smile as our hearts filled up with warmth and our heads filled up with memories. There were a couple of times when a rush of old memories would hit me so suddenly that my eyes would well up with tears and my throat would get all tight and scratchy and my heart was full of so many emotions. It was also just cool to see how our relationship has stayed pretty much the same despite the fact that so many years have passed and we've had so many more experiences than we had back then. It's just a testimony to me that love is love and it flourishes when it's nurtured! But I sure do love this boy. And the me of now really identified with the me of "then" as I read through the words I had to share about the way I felt about him. I wanted to reach through the pages of my journal (kind of like Tom Riddle's diary.. but not as evil and creepy) to the younger me and tell her that things worked out and that Tay and I are now married and so, so happy! It makes me wonder what the me of the future would want to say to the me of right now. Life's so bizarre and trippy and wonderful.

I'm glad that I was so good at documenting the events and experiences of my life back then. I rarely missed a day. I've always loved writing in my journal but I haven't been as diligent at keeping it up to date since we got married. I still write! I still record the big moments. But it's all of the little in-between moments, like the ones I shared today, that seem to be easily forgotten. So this is me re-committing to write like I used to write. 

I always have people asking me for tips regarding writing in journals, so these are the suggestions I always tend to give:

1. Don't worry about "catching up." Start with today. If you're busy worrying about writing about the last three years, four months, and ten days you haven't documented, you'll overwhelm yourself the moment you sit down to write (and it will be another three years, four months, and ten days until you have the courage to try again).

2. Find a journal that makes YOU excited to write. For some, it's a comic book journal, for others it's a journal with prompts every day. Some like lines, others like lots of empty space. Find something that makes you excited to write (or draw, or whatever) and then you'll be so much more motivated to do so (confession: I use endless amounts of stickers in my journals because I think they're so funny. I call them my "emojis" hahaha). 

3. Don't feel like you "have" to write anything. Just sit down and write whatever comes to mind-- whether that's four pages or three sentences-- and then call it good. Your journal is YOUR journal and nobody can tell you how to do it except for you.

So yeah. If you've managed to read this entire blog post, you deserve a gold star. 

xoxo

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