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  • And he saw me like no one else did. I was 15 and awkward looking. Tall and very skinny with big braces. I was so self-conscious. All I wanted was for some guy to think I was beautiful--to make me feel like I had worth. Joe did that.

    He appeared in my life out of nowhere. He was always in the background but for some reason, I had never really seen him. Then, one night, he caught me when I was off to the side, and he whispered that he needed to tell me something. He said that he could see that I wanted someone to hold my hand..someone to listen, someone to care. As he took my hand in his, he said that he was up for that job. He thought I was beautiful.

    It is still one of the sweetest conversations that I have ever had.

    We fell into that young, passionate love that almost never compares to anything else in life. It still, to this day, stirs my heart when I think about it. Seeing myself through his eyes, I realized how much I was worth. I realized that I was more than just a pimply, awkward teenage girl. I was Lauren, and I deserved to be loved. He really made me feel that way.

    Even though we could not have lasted for a lifetime, the love that I felt for him will. It's one of those things that doesn't go away even after the relationship dies. Love like that sticks with you...It reminds you on the dark days that you have passion. You have desire. You have worth.

    His name was Joe.
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