By the time we went on our first date, I knew he was my soulmate

Sitting on the steps of Times Square, I felt giddy.

The city was bustling, the lights were pulsating with life, and the syrupy sweet pink lemonade in my hands was ice-cold.

It was 2am, and the height of summer – the perfect location for a first date. Perhaps, the best date I’ve ever had.

Except, this one was different. 

I already knew I was going to marry my date – despite only meeting him weeks earlier.

I met Jethro back in 2014 at a hostel in New York City, while we were preparing to be counsellors at a summer camp upstate. 

It sounds dreamy, but camp was hellish. Long hours, poor pay, rich bratty kids and very little time off. 

The only good thing that came out of it was meeting him – and our now life-long friends.

Jethro and I had exchanged a few pleasantries on the camp’s designated Facebook group before meeting – but they weren’t anything exciting. We were both mid-exam season, and pretty stressed about going into our final years at university.

I was 21, and wasn’t dreaming of years into the future – only for summer. The promise of sunshine and travel, an escape from the real world. 

Maybe even a fleeting summer romance, if we were lucky.

When I arrived at the hostel, in the days before making the journey to the camp, Jethro had retired to bed early so I was busy chatting to new people, getting settled in – but the morning after, I met him at breakfast. 

And that’s when my life changed forever.

Walking into the busy breakfast room, it was like there was nobody there but him and I. At that moment, it was like my whole world had stopped. That nothing else mattered, or existed.

We caught each other’s eyes at the same time and I swear I experienced love at first sight. 

Cringe, I know – but I promise, I was once just as sceptical as you probably are right now. But it was very real.

I can’t explain it, but my breath caught in my throat so much that I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My heart soared, and my limbs went weak. 

Jethro grinned at me, shuffling along the bench to make a space for me to sit next to him and, as they say, the rest is history.

Thankfully, I soon discovered that he felt the same.

I can’t even remember what we spoke about back then, but I’ve since been told that I was talking at a million miles an hour. I don’t even think I ate anything as I was so sick with butterflies.

At camp, we tried to arrange our breaks so that we’d collide, even if it was just to snatch 15 minutes in each other’s company.

We spent our (very, very few) days off with our fellow campmates, exploring local towns and the countryside hand-in-hand; doing our washing, eating pizza and getting to know each other.

Though we could count the days we’d known each other on two hands, it felt like we’d known one another our whole lives. It felt so easy to be around him, comfortable.

After two weeks, we said we loved each other – and I remember telling myself that I was going to marry this man.

We hadn’t even been on our first date, but we knew we were going to spend the rest of our lives together.

Finally, after about a month, we took a trip to New York City with our friends – and broke off to spend a few hours alone. We wandered aimlessly for blocks, talking, laughing, and taking pictures.

We were young, so we were skint, but just spending time with each other was rich enough for me.

Eventually, sitting on the steps of Times Square that night, with him beside me, I felt breathless with excitement at my future. A future, only weeks earlier, I never dreamed could have existed.

After our date, we made it official – and I didn’t need to worry about exchanging numbers; if he was going to message me back, or whether I should play the always-wait-three-hours-or-three-days-to-text-back game. I knew our relationship would never truly end.

Once camp finished, we travelled around East Coast America on what little wages we earned, acting as if we’d been together for years – not mere weeks.

And, four years ago, reader, I married him.

Jethro and I got married in my hometown, Newcastle – with our friends from camp watching on, cheering.

Even now, I feel like the giddy 20-something-year-old on the steps of Times Square whenever he’s around. Always desperate to absorb every scrap of information and detail about his day.

Forget campmate, he’s my soulmate.

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