From Chicken Soup for the Romantic Soul

To Infinity

In 1974, when we were fourteen years old, Ralph and I became close friends. We used to sit in his front yard and eat cookies and talk for hours. Ralph had a girlfriend and I had a boyfriend, but I thought he was one of the nicest boys at our school.

A few years after graduation, I received an invitation to Ralph’s wedding. I arrived alone and waiting outside was Ralph, receiving me with the kind and welcoming smile I had always known. We talked a while, and for some reason I turned and went back to my car and went home. We lost touch for several years. At our ten-year class reunion I looked up and, once again, there was that familiar smile. It was Ralph. “What happened to you?” I asked. “I’ve been getting divorced,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “Where have you been?”

“I’ve been getting married,” I responded. We sat and reminisced all evening, promising to keep in touch. We contacted one another a couple of times a year and kept each other up on what was going on in our lives, but never saw each other until eight years later. My marriage ended and I found myself living alone in an apartment with my little daughter. Ralph called and asked, “Is there anything I can do for you? Is your car running okay? Does your daughter need anything? Do you have enough money?”

I told him, “I need to see my old friend. It’s been too many years.” So we met for a beer and, once again, sat and went over old times. The hours flew by and next thing we knew we were asked to leave. The restaurant had closed.

We got together a couple of more times and found ourselves talking until the sun came up. As Ralph left, I found myself sad watching him go. One evening, I invited Ralph over to have pizza and watch a video. He came over and brought photo albums. As we went through the albums, I felt compelled to tell him that I felt I might be falling in love with him. Mortified with myself, I went in the bathroom and tried to figure out how I could escape from a second-story-apartment bathroom without being discovered! I was afraid I had just destroyed a precious friendship. I had stepped on hallowed ground.

When I returned, Ralph was sitting there with a Cheshire-cat smile on his face. “Lisa, I have loved you for twenty years. You have been the standard I have judged all women by. I don’t want to let this opportunity slip past me.” I told him that I was afraid that if it didn’t work out, we would lose this priceless friendship that we had carried through the years. We agreed our friendship wouldn’t be broken and that we had the potential here for something rare and priceless.

Sure enough, we were married nine months later. Engraved in our wedding rings are the words “to infinity.” With my daughter, we became a family.

One day we came across his high school yearbook and decided to look up what I had written to him all those years ago. It was so many years back that I’d forgotten.

There was my handwriting. A full page long. And there I had written: “Ralph, You are the nicest boy I have ever met. I know we will be friends for the rest of our lives . . . in fact, I love you so much that I think when we grow up we should just get MARRIED.”

Who’da thought all those years ago as we sat in his front yard eating cookies that those two young kids really would be friends . . . and lovers forever . . . to infinity.

Lisa Ferris Terzich

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