He engraved his goodbye on a silver bangle. ‘Thanks for the smiles,’ it read. He gave it to me as a gift on my graduation and walked away. It  would be seven years before we saw each other again.

We met on July 20 1999 when I sat next to him at university. On that day I drew him a flower and he kept it in his wallet for 13 years. It was the symbol connecting our names on our wedding invitation when we got married on July 21 2012.

At uni, I wrote his essays and he wrote of his love in my 21st birthday book. He bought me a dog to prove how much, I pushed him away. He wore his heart on his sleeve. I bubble wrapped mine.

It was so much safer to love within the pages of a romance novel. I didn’t have to search for happy endings, they were already written. I didn’t have to sift the hearts of others to find a match.

I was never good at it. I hid my crushes in jokes. I dated in my daydreams where I coordinated candle lit dinners and wrote the script. I was smarter, more sophisticated and my words came out in the right order.

But years undid the careful wrapping until I was left with a transparent heart that needed more protection.

So I continued writing fiction while fate wrote me a different story.

When the dog he bought me died in 2011, he walked back in to my life, with a heart as transparent as mine.

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