“I will never find another lover sweeter than you,
Sweeter than you
And I will never find another lover more precious than you
More precious than you
you are close to me you’re like my mother,
Close to me you’re like my father,
Close to me you’re like my sister,
Close to me you’re like my brother
You are the only one my everything and for you this song I sing
And all my life I’ve prayed for someone like you
And I thank God that I, that I finally found you
All my life I’ve prayed for someone like you
And I hope that you feel the same way too
Yes, I pray that you do love me too”
I was a child when I first heard Kci and JoJo’s: “All My Life”. I didn’t have the life experience or the maturity to truly understand what the song meant but I thought it was beautiful. I remember, even then, hoping that someday, someone would love me like that.
I met Karl on an October evening in Oxford. I remember he was wearing a checked shirt and he looked super preppy. Like many girls my age, at the time, I had always been attracted to the bad boys and Karl was not that. He was the first person I spoke to that night and I remember him being super friendly and enthusiastic.
He was a cute, mixed race boy and for some reason as soon as I saw him I decided that he probably had a girlfriend and that we would have nothing in common. He proved me wrong almost immediately as we began speaking about athletics and he encouraged me to get down to the athletics track and start training again – something that I was not keen to do (and he didn’t have a girlfriend). We had a perfectly pleasant conversation but it was to my mind unremarkable.
I made my way around the room chatting to everyone and then finally I came across Karl again. We chatted again but embarrassingly I had already forgotten his name. A fact he never allowed me to forget. However, this time was different to the first. Karl started talking about his grandma who lived in Tobago and he used a colloquial Caribbean slang term. As soon as he said that, everything changed and we ended up speaking to each other for the rest of the night. He gave me his number and asked me to text him my number. I distinctly remember thinking to myself that, if nothing else, this boy had the potential to be the best friend that I had ever had in my life.
The First Date
Just over a week later Karl and I went on our first date on a quiet Saturday evening in Oxford. He took me to a restaurant called Bistro Je T’Aime, a small independent, lovely French restaurant. I had never been to a restaurant like that before, let alone on a date. I was hugely impressed. It was my first introduction to French food, which, to this day, is my favourite.
Conversation flowed so easily between us; it blew my mind how much we had in common. After the restaurant, we ended up going to Oxford’s late-night ice cream parlour, G&D’s, where we continued to chat about everything in our lives.
We were so similar. He wanted to be a doctor and I wanted to be a lawyer. I had seriously considered becoming a doctor and he had similarly seriously thought about becoming a lawyer. We were both Christian and had very similar tastes in music. We were both mixed race of Caribbean descent.
Our first date was the first time I really noticed how cute Karl was. He had the biggest, deepest dimples I had ever seen.
The Third Date
Our second date was unremarkable, we watched Sin City in Karl’s room. We had a great time but it was unremarkable because despite the intimate setting nothing whatsoever happened between us.
The third date we went to a formal dinner and then afterwards went clubbing together for the first time. I love dancing and at the time I remember it being really important to me that any guy I went out with, could dance. Thankfully, Karl could dance. We were really close all night and then at one point I realised that Karl had kissed my neck. I really wanted him to kiss me properly so I moved my head so that we were face to face and we kissed for the first time.
It was not my first kiss but it was by far the best kiss I had ever experienced at that point in my life. It just felt so natural. Like we were two people who were always destined to do that. I think we ended up kissing for the rest of the night and then Karl, at 2am, like the gentleman he was, walked me home which was a one-hour round trip from where he lived.
After the kiss we were essentially together, there was no formal conversation about whether we were now boyfriend and girlfriend, Karl just assumed that I was obviously his girlfriend.
In the early days, when we were apart we would speak on the phone for hours and hours and when we were together we would kiss for hours. I think our personal record was spending SIX HOURS kissing! I remember walking around with constantly swollen lips, which I was secretly kind of proud of.
And without even realising that it was happening, Kci & JoJo’s song became “Our Song”. Karl was my soulmate. He was the best guy I had ever met in my whole life and he was mine.
So this was the beginning of our love story, a love that was profound, that was pure, that felt predestined. The type of love that becomes everything. The type of love that makes life shine so much brighter, the type of love where every single thing in the world pales into insignificance because that love is both the beginning and the end of everything, the type of love that makes everything OK if you have it and the type of love that destroys you if you lose it.