When I was a little older - a teenager - I began to have my doubts. The idea of romantic love seemed so melodramatic that I wondered if it was a magnificent con job perpetrated by writers and filmmakers. Little can be less convincing than the idea that two strangers meet and, propelled by circumstances and their own understanding, recognise each other as their true mate. And if you have just one soulmate, might you not miss meeting him due to circumstances? Even if you ignore the absurd concept of 'love at first sight', the idea of falling in love itself seemed far-fetched , and my wise teenage self toyed (dismayedly, I confess, but I never wanted to believe in fairy stories just to feel better) with the opposing idea that each of us essentially goes through life alone.
It didn't take long, I think, for me to come around to the idea that a soulmate was essentially a very good friend: a life partner should be basically a friend whom you also find attractive: someone you talk to, laugh with, be yourself with and want to sleep with. In fact, that last part never seemed particularly important. If you have a friend you respect and admire and love spending time with, I suspect it would be very easy to find him hot.
Today is the four-year anniversary of the day that the Guy and I consider most significant in our relationship. That evening four years ago, I called him to resume our friendship after a hiatus. I called him to tell him I could be friends with him again. Somehow, I had never doubted that he would accept: greedily, I had always considered that our friendship was mine for the taking whenever I was ready to resume it. And I was right.
What happened next was, I now believe, inevitable: we talked to each other often and long until we had bared our souls and drawn closer to each other than we had ever been to anyone else. Until we realised that it was a rare and special kind of friend whom you feel that kind of affinity to, whom you share so much with. And we finally recognised that while we were dissecting and rationalising and cautioning each other against making a decision based on emotions, we had gone ahead and fallen in love.