• Meant to Be: Lost Love Found 20 Years Later

    Meant to Be: Lost Love Found 20 Years Later

    At first, Jacqi chose the wrong man, but somehow the stars aligned to give her a second chance with the right one.

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In March of 2010, I had the worst week of my life: a minor surgery, a broken finger, a client yelling at me, a diagnosis involving a mysterious bone deterioration and the death of my cat. I wanted to crawl into bed and not get out for a month.

Across town, a guy named Andy had just had a terrible fight with his brother – the “I’m never speaking to you again” kind of fight. So he decided to go out with an old friend to help him bounce back. Sitting there in a dive bar, the friend told him, “Consider this a totally new chapter. Close the book on the past, and get ready for the rest of your life…” or something like that.

Two minutes later, I walked into that bar to meet a friend and caught Andy’s eye. A huge grin spread across his face, so I walked over to him. “Excuse me, do I know you?” I asked, a flicker of recognition crossing my mind as I studied his face. “YEAH, you do,” he said, and suddenly our past came flooding over me. “Are you Andy?” I asked, even though I already knew.

You see, Andy and I first met 20 years earlier in Illinois. It was the early ’90s, and I was working at a pizza joint answering the phones. I thought the kitchen manager was cute, so I flirted with him a bit. He (Andy) and I ended up dating for a few awesome months. The only problem was that I also had a boyfriend in the Marines, but I was able to date Andy because the Marine and I had agreed to see other people until he got out. Well, when my Marine got out, he wanted to move to Madison, and I had a choice to make. I chose wrong.

Fast forward two decades, and I am standing in a dive bar on a random night, and Andy and I are smiling at each other. He was thinking, Finally, she’s here. And I was thinking, He’s here. The one man who truly loved me more than anything, and I blew it. Turns out I didn’t blow it after all; it just took a little longer for the timing to be right and for our story to begin.

Andy and I started dating that very same night, and it was meant to be. He proposed one year later, and we were married six months after our engagement in September 2011. Even though I chose the wrong guy at first, somehow the stars aligned to give me a second chance with the right guy – and we’re both so grateful.

–Jacqi, Rockon, IL

Images by Chasing Lilies Photography.

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