In hindsight, it was as though we had been meant for each other right from the start. Even though we never really met until we were four, she and I were born just down the block from one-another. Our parents had put us both in the same preschool and we had been sent to the same schools ever since.

The two of us got along wonderfully, we were almost inseparable. Hell, even those years when kids are most worked up about cooties and the like didn't affect us, even if we both applied those childish rules to other boys and girls. She was the first friend I ever had, we spent every day together, and no one could have convinced either of us to do otherwise.

Years went by and we went through the grades; grade school, junior high, and eventually high school. We were still best friends that got along splendidly. Sure, we had fights every now and then but nothing more than spats that lasted a few days at worst. Despite how well we got along, we were only friends in those days, nothing more. When our interests turned to dating, she gave me advice on how to catch a girl's eye and be a good boyfriend while I warned her of sly moves the guys might try to pull on her.

She was there to comfort and console me when my first love ended as I was there for her the first time her heart was broken. At the same time, she saved me from trying to kick that guy's ass for her, which I'm grateful for; I was never a big guy and he was a linebacker. After comforting each other's broken heart time and time again until university, we finally wizened up and started to look at each other the way we should have right from the start.

All through our studies, from when we finally became a couple clear through graduation, she and I would talk about the future, what we wanted to do, where we wanted to go…and that with each other is with whom we wanted to live. A week after we had graduated, I was down on one knee and heard that wonderful answer my heart skipped a beat to hear.

It was clear sailing from there on, the two of us both looking for good jobs, saving up for the wedding, honeymoon, and our future home. A small quaint ceremony with our close friends is a memory I'll never forget; the happiness, laughter, and warmth I'll cherish always. Then our honeymoon: a trip to Rome, taking in the sights and cuisine, but most importantly relishing the idea that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together.

The house we shared, and still own, our jobs that kept us out of debt through the good times and the bad, all of it was comfortable, making our love all the more enjoyable. I was happy, we were happy, and any obstacle we met was nothing more than tiny bump beneath our feet.

Only now do I realize how early it had started. Overlooking a small detail here or there, forgetting appointments now and then or needing to be reminded of important dates. At the time, they seemed so innocuous, like the mistakes I'm sure I, too, had made. Perhaps not knowing was for the best, as it kept my happy, ignorant memories lasting all the longer, but it would have made that horrible conversation all the easier to take.

That one fateful day where my wife, my beloved, my love woke up and asked why I was in bed with her. At the moment, I though she was being cute and reminded her we were married. How wrong I was.

She freaked out…reacting strongly, demanding to know everything I could tell her; a stark contrast between joy at the prospect of us having been wed and the terror of not being able to remember any of it. An hour later, she came in and apologized, not knowing why she had forgotten.

As her memory worsened and our fears grew, we went to the doctor, wanting to understand just what was wrong, if not how we could fix her worsening state; one that was threatening to keep her even from working. I prayed for good news, expected bad news, but got the worst. Not amnesia, not Alzheimer's, nothing they could really diagnose in any helpful way, just that she was getting worse and there wasn't any therapy or medication that could help outside of placebos.

After the fourth time she had forgotten about our marriage, the spaces between the omissions growing ever smaller, I had to accept that soon it would be gone altogether. It was own decision to do what came next, so there's no one to blame for the pain but myself. Continuing on with my day job to support the both of us, I came home not to as a husband, but as her live-in homecare worker.

A little at a time, I put away the mementos of our wedded bliss, even hiding our wedding bands to keep them from upsetting her. There were times where she experienced moments of clarity, asking me not as a helper but as a husband where her ring had gone, but such moments of hope have not made a single appearance in months now, with her only recognizing me as a warden.

I've been taking care of her in this way for many years now, but as heart wrenching it is to be so close yet more distant than ever before, my feelings haven't wavered nor have I ever cheated. To this day I think of her as my one and only soul mate; and now, looking out through tear-filled eyes, I'm convinced that part of her still feels the same way.

Just this afternoon I've come across her diary and reading the latest entries, she's written about a memory or dream that's slowly coming back to her…accompanied by a photo I must have missed. Me, in my tux, next to the most beautiful of brides….