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Soulmates reunited - after 20 years!

Jayne Paolin was reunited with her first love over 20 years later!

Jayne Paolin, 35, Ulladulla, NSW

As I dived into the water at the Ulladulla rock pool, I sensed a pair of eyes following me. Coming up for air, I looked over at a group of boys and one in particular stood out.

'Who's that guy over there?' I asked a friend.

'That's Tony,' she replied.

As the day wore on, Tony, 16, and I started talking. Over the next few weeks we became great friends and started going out.

'Can I kiss you?' Tony asked one afternoon. It was my first kiss and although I thought I'd feel scared, my excitement took over. It seemed as though the world had stopped.

Although I was only 12, I knew I was in love with Tony. But after six months of going steady we gradually drifted apart. I was devastated.

'I'm moving to Sydney,' Tony announced one day after school.

After he left we didn't keep in contact and I eventually started dating other people. Still, I didn't think I would love anyone the way I loved Tony.

At age 20, I moved to Canberra, where I had my first daughter, Rochelle.

'Being a single mum is such hard work,' I said to my friends one day. I had gone from being a self-confessed party girl to staying at home looking after a little baby, and realised that I had a lot to learn.

Four years later, my partner Shane, now 40, and I had a son, Mitchell, followed by Lachlan a year after.

The kids took up most of my spare time but when I did get a moment alone I found myself thinking of my past and I often wondered what Tony was doing.

'Come out for a night with the girls,' a friend from school suggested over the phone.

Shane and I had split two months earlier so a girls night out was just what I needed.

After leaving the kids with the babysitter, we headed to a club. I was already starting to feel more relaxed, happily chatting and laughing.

'Who wants a drink?' I asked the group of girls.

I walked up to the bar and as I ordered our drinks I recognised the security guard nearby. 'I know you!' we blurted out simultaneously.

It was Tony. I hadn't seen him in 20 years but he looked exactly the same – if anything he was spunkier.

When Tony got a break he rushed over for a chat.

'It's so good seeing you again,' he said. 'I still remember the purple and orange bikini that you were wearing the day I met you.'

When I returned home I couldn't get Tony out of my mind. Eight weeks later I moved back to Ulladulla and found out where Tony lived.

I knocked on his front door and as Tony opened it, his smile brought memories of our childhood flooding back.

'Are you stalking me?' he said, laughing.

'I suppose I am,' I chuckled.

After that we quickly became an item and it wasn't long before we were discussing marriage. I knew a proposal was on its way when we took a drive down to Batemans Bay to pick out a ring. 'They're all so beautiful,' I sighed.

One night we were getting ready to go out for dinner when Tony dropped to one knee.

'I've always loved you, Jayne,' he said softly. 'You're the most beautiful person in the world and I'd be honoured if you would be my wife.'

'Yes!' I screamed, hugging him tightly.

'I was going to ask you tonight in the restaurant but I couldn't wait,' Tony laughed, sliding a stunning ring on my finger.

Rochelle, Mitchell and Lachlan were all happy for us and when we got married, 23 years after our first kiss, they each played an important part in the ceremony.

I truly believe that Tony, now 39, and I are soul mates. We may have missed out on spending 20 years together but we have the rest of our lives to make up for it.

Has fate played a part in your love life? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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