Their love continued to bloom, and before she knew it, the girl was planning her wedding. On a warm August evening, just as three generations of women in her family had done before, she pledged her unending love to the man standing by her side, and she became his wife.
She soon learned the imperfect perfection known as marriage, and fell more deeply in love with him as each day passed. Soon, there were bills to pay, meals to cook, laundry to wash, separations to face--and the beautiful sounds of a baby's laughter and the gentle pitter patter of tiny feet.
Time passed quickly, and over the years she sometimes found herself faced with the sacred words of her marriage vows, standing by him for richer or poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, and each time life presented itself to them in a way that was not always kind, she pulled herself more tightly to his side, adjusting her sails according to the wind's direction, weathering the storm...and fell more deeply in love.
She changed over the years, from a girl into a woman--and a mother. Her body blossomed, and with each new transformation, she saw new admiration in his eyes; he continued to tell her that she was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen--and that he was the luckiest man in the world to have her, referring to her as "his girl", even after so many years had gone by. He told her that every change was a symbol of her love for him, creating a timeline of the history they had shared, and that every mark upon her skin was seen as a badge of honor and courage. And she knew the meaning of unabiding love in its purest form.
Suddenly, one day, as if in the blink of an eye, the calendar changed. It was August again. And the 15th year of their marriage had arrived.
Unbeknownst to her, this man had a very special surprise waiting for his "girl", and they slipped off on a romantic get-away for two, just as they had done so many years before.
They shared a wonderful day together, and that evening, he took her out for an intimate dinner, and when they were shown to their table, she found this waiting for her:
And when she opened her eyes to find him watching her with a smile playing across his face, she smiled back and reached for his hand, which was waiting for her touch, and neither of them said a word. They didn't need to. Love was there...it had always been there. It was in their eyes. Just as it had been when they'd first met so long ago.
"What do you say?" he asked, lifting her hand to his mouth. "Same time, same place, 15 years from now?"
"Yes," she replied. "15 years from now. And I can't wait."