I asked you once where you’d been my whole life. You answered blithely, saying you’d been right here all along—it had just taken us a while to realize it. Because, you explained, I had to get here all the way from Woodbury, after all.

At the time, we just laughed. But I think about that moment sometimes and smile because you were right. I don’t know if I believe in soul mates, perfect matches, or destiny, but I do know I believe you were meant for me. You had to be.

Why else would you have been born with those delicious chocolate eyes the exact color of my favorite treat? Those eyes that help me see the world a little differently, and look forward to every day. Or with that unwavering patience that keeps you in shorts all winter long while I add another degree or two to the thermostat? Why else would you have been born with those hands that hold mine tight through every night?

I know why you were in Steph’s backyard that afternoon. It’s because it was finally time. I mean, why else would I have been born—in Minnesota—with a predisposition to being cold and an incurable aversion to socks? Why else would I have been born with eyes that begged for spectacles long before my voice ever could—eyes that needed help seeing the clouds’ silver lining?

I know now. It’s the same reason I packed up my car and drove into the sunrise, into years of uncertainty and hurt. I did it so I’d be here in time for that 4th of July. So I’d see you leaned up against that house, see you for the first time, totally oblivious to what I’d found.