I never truly believed in “love at first sight.” Honestly, the idea of being in a serious relationship made my stomach turn.
Then he came along…
We met in a rather average way. We were on the 67th floor of Rockefeller Tower in New York City with the Macy’s Great American Marching Band that marches in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I was standing in line for the elevators to take me and my new group of girl friends back down to Earth. He was a few people back, consumed in his phone. Being the extroverted, loud woman I am, I called him over to talk.
He was charming -- in an adorable, band geek kind of way. However, he was from Cleveland and I was already crushing on a baritone player from Florida. We exchanged numbers, but I never imagined anything would become of it.
The next few months moved so quickly. He and I both knew there was something special between us — we had this electrifying connection no one could deny.
He drove 18 hours round trip to be my first and last date to a high school dance — senior prom. Three months later, he kissed me at a place that meant the world to him, a lighthouse overlooking Lake Eerie.
His goofy, awkward, 6-foot self, gained a huge part of my heart that summer.
But then this long distance fairytale came to a startling halt. We both enrolled in large universities, where many potential opportunities awaited both of us.
I wasn’t quite ready to let go and deep down, I don’t think he was either. We didn’t exactly define what we were and, as my feelings progressed, I wanted answers. I visited him that November, one year after we first met.
I flew into Port-Columbus International feeling nauseous. I spent the entire 15-minute Uber ride nervous rambling my life story to my driver, who continued to turn the radio up as the conversation progressed. It was there when I made up my mind to tell him how I felt — I was in love.
I soon found myself at The Ohio State University (Buckeyes get really mad if you forget “the”). I couldn’t tell you what I expected to happen that weekend, but I knew I couldn’t stand. My knees were shaking so much I had to sit on the curb outside his dorm. Then I saw him across the plaza, with that big smile and bright eyes. Suddenly, I was sprinting to him, over stuffed Vera Bradley duffle in hand.
We spent the afternoon drinking coffee, catching up and reminiscing on our past visits. It was great. I told myself I would say the three big words after he kissed me. That night, we met up with his friends for dinner. It was so fun! I felt like one of the guys, however he wasn’t telling them any different. The rest of the weekend we teetered between a platonic friendship and a real relationship.
Four hours before I left Columbus, I knew it was now or never. I pulled away and, very inarticulately, stumbled through the words. His reaction? Nothing. Not a facial expression. Not a sound. Absolutely nothing. I was devastated.
I came back to St. Louis never wanting to go back there again. I felt like a complete idiot and did my best to stop thinking about him. Even though he knew my feelings, he wasn't ready to verbalize his. We tried our best to rebuild our best friendship, even though it felt impossible. I was ready to give up.
A month later, still working on being friends, my phone started to buzz — it was him. He told me he loved me, he couldn't live without me and I was his "soulmate."
He solidified that statement when he showed up to the University of Missouri a month later to make it official, heart on his sleeve. We’ve been together ever since.
Despite all flaws, mine included, we just work. We’ve gone through almost every obstacle designed to tear couples apart and have come out stronger than ever.
I'm not going to lie, long distance is not fun. It's a lot of time waiting to spend little time with someone who means the world to you.
Would it be easier to date someone in my own state? Absolutely. Would it be nice to have an actual date at my sorority formals or go on random late-night ice cream runs with? Of course.
But for me, it's worth it. You see, this boy loves me for me, just as I am. No conditions. I may be 20 years old, but I know my heart and I know in this moment, I couldn't be happier with my decisions.
I loved you, goob. And I am happy to be on this roller coaster called life next to you, hands up.