Taylor Smith is a junior news and magazine major and writes “Bold Type” for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.
I woke up to sunshine warming my skin and birds saying hello. Bacon sizzled on the stovetop as the smell of bubbling grease crept up two flights of stairs, underneath the crack of my bedroom door and straight to my nose.
Dad was frying bacon while drinking coffee. Mom flipped the pancakes.
I rubbed my eyes with the back of my hands, pushing my Tinkerbell bedspread down with my feet and grabbing my teddy bear before padding barefoot down the stairs and plopping on the carpet in front of our old TV.
Without saying good morning, I opened the drawer to the TV stand and looked for the textured white VHS case, tugging it open with my stubby fingers and flinching at the awful sound the plastic made as it rubbed against itself.
The VHS tape fell into my lap as I flipped the case upside down over my head. I picked the tape up and stuck the corners of the peeling label back down before shoving it into our VHS player and pressing play.
“Mike & Sue’s Wedding: October 7, 1995.”
Auntie Mar sang “The Bare Necessities,” Auntie Dee wore an updo and a hunter green dress and Uncle Nick spoke to every guest at every table. The wedding was on Grandma Judy’s birthday, so everyone sang to her, and, afterwards, they watched my mom dance in Papa’s arms.
But my favorite part — the part I rewound at least once every morning — was the first time my mother came into the frame, her dress trailing feet behind her as she walked down the aisle toward my father, who stood at the altar with tears painting his cheeks and resting in the corners of his smile.
This moment may not have been love at first sight, but it was true love, and it was real.
Never in my life have I doubted the existence of true love or soul mates — people who were put on this earth to be our perfect match — because I have grown up with two parents whose hearts beat perfectly in sync, and, for me, witnessing 21 years of the love they share is enough proof that true love does exist.
There have been times when their love wasn’t perfect, when they would fight in the kitchen over my dad’s job or how late my mom worked that week, whose turn it was to buy groceries or pick up my sister and I from school. There were times I was scared even their love was breakable, but they’ve always proven me wrong.
Their love for each other is shatterproof, and it has given me all the hope that, one day, I will find that, too.
While my parents’ love has proven to me true love is indestructible, my grandparents’ love has proven to me love is everlasting.
Mimi met Papa when she was 23 and he was 22. They were introduced on purpose, but they fell in love by chance.
Papa immigrated to Chicago from Trieste, Italy, in 1956 to avoid the violence of the war and got a job at Advertising Metal Display Company in Cicero, Illinois, working with a friend who set up a blind date between Mini and Papa.
“He was crazy about me from the moment he met me,” Mimi said. And he’s even crazier about her now, more than half a century later.
Mimi and Papa got married Oct. 7, 1961, exactly 34 years before my parents. Maybe the day is magical, promising love until the end of time for couples who exchange vows exactly one week into the 10th month of the year.
But, from what I know, I think the simple explanation is that when my mom met my dad, and when Mimi met Papa, their hearts were permanently tethered to one another because the love shared between them was — and continues to be — so strong.
While some people may not believe that every soul has its mate, I do believe we encounter people for a reason. I do believe that there exist people who, when you meet them, you know your heart is meant to deeply love on levels you have never experienced before.
I believe that person comes at the right time for everyone: when your heart is ready to give all it has to the person who makes you feel most whole, and, thankfully, my mom found that in my dad, and Mimi found it in my Papa.
Because of their love, I know I will find my person, too.
Contact Taylor Smith with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @taynsmithh.