A woman who waited 24 years for a first kiss with her childhood best friend is now engaged to be married to him—after keeping her feelings a secret for over two decades.
Kate MacNeil and Paul Damon were tied at the hip when they met as young teens in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1997.
Despite the 13-year-old girl being ‘mad’ about her best pal, she never plucked up the courage to reveal how she felt.
The pair would talk for hours on the phone everyday after school—even falling asleep together on the phone.
“We were practically in a relationship but we’d never kissed,” Kate said. “I took the plunge to kiss him when we were 18 but he turned his head.
“I ran away embarrassed and broken. Slowly we stopped talking but I never stopped thinking about him.”
They lost touch when Paul joined the navy and Kate moved away to attend college in Alabama.
Kate, now a teacher, and Paul, a master woodworker, both married but they kept an eye on each other’s lives for years online.
In December 2020, after the breakdown of her marriage, the 38-year-old mother-of-two found the courage to reach out to Paul on Facebook.
“I’ve always loved him,” Kate told SWNS news service.
“I came to a point in my life where I knew I needed to reach out and see if he felt the same way.”
Two weeks later he replied and the pair talked for hours before he agreed to fly out to Kate’s home in Port Charlotte, Florida, in January 2021.
“He messaged me saying, ‘Hey stranger,’ and we just spoke for hours from there,” she said.
Paul, now 38, said when she reached out it was “indescribable”.
“I can’t think of a time I didn’t think of Kate—in all those years we were apart.
“No one measured up to her.”
Having finally told each other about their feelings for one another they went on their first date in Florida, and soon decided Paul would move in with Kate and her children.
“We had our first kiss when he came to Florida and it was magical,” said Kate. “I feel like my life is now complete.”
Paul recalls how the friends have always been able to talk to each other about anything, and he “felt like an idiot” when he freaked out that day when she tried to kiss him.
“It was like nothing had changed. It’s amazing.”
“I picked him up from the airport and kissed him,” Kate said. “It was our first one—24 years later.”
After a magical week together, Paul flew back to Williamsburg. Six weeks later he moved to Florida.
Paul said: “We’re still best friends. We’re perfect for each other.”
The couple are now engaged and due to be married in July 2023.
“It took 24 years but I wouldn’t change our journey,” Kate gushed. “It’s a dream come true.”