December 20th, 1975
Edina, MN, 6:30 p.m. The sun has just faded behind the trees and the snow swallows their feet whole as if made of quicksand. Phil laughs and Sheryl catches his thin, lanky body as he nearly teeters over into the cold.
It wasn’t the first time they’d taken a walk together, and there was definitely a sense that it wouldn’t be the last.
They’d already discussed books and movies and the play in which they’d met, their parents and siblings and college for Sheryl.
They were walking along the path completely soaked with the recently fallen snow.
It was the kind with which snowmen and snowballs were made.
It was romantic, but not in that gushy gross way. In a new fresh way filled with hope and longing, understanding and realization.
College for Sheryl was a tough topic for Phil because he’d miss her. He’d miss her more than she knew. He loved being around her. Hearing her speak and watching her face scrunch itself up intently when listening to him talk. To him, she was the world. His best friend and his soul mate. He was freezing from his fall in the snow and his lack of insulation in the skin department, but he would never ask her to stop walking. She loved walking and although her legs were substantially shorter than his, she always managed to walk faster and with a certain athletic stride.
She watched his face and smiled at the goofy grin he was giving her. “I am so blessed,” she thought, “to have a best friend as wonderful as he.” But then for a moment, she drew her breath in and realized. He looked at her and smiled. And she nearly melted like the drips of snow off the branches. Her best friend—something more? “No. I am so lucky to have a friend like him and I’m not going to go and ruin it by having a relationship with him.” But then she looked at him again and realized he had stopped. He was staring up into the sky at the stars, that without her noticing had started to blink through the now night sky.
“Penny for your thoughts,” Phil said and Sheryl took his hand into her own and smiled. “I love you,” she said. When their eyes and hands met at that moment, they both knew. They both knew they were soul mates. And that was that. From that point forward, they were best friends and so much more…