Guys of Reddit, when did you lay eyes on a woman who you knew was 'the one'?

We first met in seventh grade through mutual friends. It was summertime, and there was the exciting, free feeling of doing whatever we wanted every day. I was the smarter of the Three Musketeers, while my other friends had other redeeming qualities (confidence, physical appearance, they both are funnier and more sociable than myself).

My friends and I had a group which consisted of the 3 of us and a family that had been friends with one Musketeer since before he was born. They had a son and a daughter, the daughter being 2 years younger than my friends and I, and the son two years younger than the daughter. What this usually meant is that we'd spend most of our time over their house, or going to the beach with them or playing street hockey. We grew close over that summer, but as always, it flew by in a instant.

As the weather got colder and school picked back up, my friends and I spent less time with the siblings, to the point where we only saw them occasionally around the neighborhood, or at certain school functions (a few of our parents were involved in events spanning elementary school through high school). I forgot about the closeness we had shared only a few short months prior, until the following spring. It was a very warm year if I recall correctly, and by mid April it had reached into the summerlike temperatures of around 80. Needless to say, the minute school was done or Friday rolled around the free feeling of summer radiated through us. We started hanging out with the siblings more, and because the beaches weren't yet open, we spent a lot of time just playing board games or other such carefree activities that let you really understand a person.

It was during this time that I knew. I still know. But life isn't a fairy tale, sometimes things don't go how we think they should've. I made new friends that year, and while I still maintained a good friendship with the Musketeers, the siblings fell off the radar yet again. We still chit-chatted about books and music and other teenagery things like video games and high school, and I cherished them both as good friends (I still do).

However, I had my sights set elsewhere, as I felt an incessant need to surround myself with hordes of acquaintances, lest my fears of what a high school experience meant for a trio of weirdos with no other friends become reality. I traded genuine friendship for cookie-cutter make-believe's, and put my time into worrying about what everyone thought about me than what should've mattered to me most. I broke off, not completely, but noticeably, from my two best friends, and they grew closer to the daughter in my absence.

Eventually, years later, the daughter had been dating one of the musketeers for some time, and the "power couple" amongst my friends. They were the rock, the hope I had for my own happiness out on display, as if reminding me, "You can be like this too, you know." After the third Musketeer had a falling out with the second one, I grew uncomfortably close to the power couple. I spent a lot of time with them, and I felt the painful twinge in my chest when I saw them smiling together, mourning my decisions, contemplating what could've been. Then, she dropped the big one, as casually as you might mention a fond memory you shared together.

"You know, back in the first summers we spent together, you were all I thought about."

She laughed along with my friend, neither of them knowing just how hard I fell for her, how I envy their happiness together, how I'd cursed myself by staying silent and by being so damn oblivious when it had mattered. They laughed it off as how if "it's funny how things work out", and I uncomfortably laughed along with them. I've never mentioned this to either of them, nor anyone else for that matter.

I still feel nostalgic in the summers now, when I visit the beach, or feel a bright ray of sunshine hit me out of nowhere. It reminds me that I once could feel that way about someone, even if I can't anymore. It made me rethink who I had in my life and who was really important to me. I'm still in the process of figuring that out now.

/r/AskReddit Thread