In August 2017, Brendan and I met. A group of friends invited him and me to go to Wendy's after a meeting for a school club. We talked the whole time — the conversation seemed endless in the best way possible. Later that night, I called him to ask him what water balloons I should buy for a celebration the next day. From that day forward, I cannot remember a day where I have not called him. It started off as nothing more as a platonic relationship from my perspective, but he would advocate otherwise.

Fast-forward to January 2018, Brendan and I started seeing each other outside of school. We would make up excuses and white lies to our friends and parents, saying that we were going to the library to study when really we would just sit in the parking lot and talk for hours until he had to drive me home. He became my best friend. I wanted to tell him everything — good news, bad news, stupid rants, my blonde moments, random and unfiltered thoughts. However, day-in and day-out, I kept denying that it was anything more than a friendship. Again, he would argue otherwise.

On April 27, 2018, I gave in.

We were sitting in his parked Dodge Durango, listening to a pop radio station. I was leaning over the center console to rest my head on his shoulder, and we were waiting for the sun to go down at a park. Abruptly, I looked over at him and ironically asked if he would be my boyfriend. For some reason, we did not tell our family or friends for about a month (sorry, Mum and Dad). I wish I would have realized it sooner, but regardless of timing, dating my best friend was the best decision I have ever made.

Christmas 2018Olivia Zidzik

Since then, our relationship has overcome insane distances.

Being 12 miles away turned into 1,601 miles when he went on a service trip to Boca Chica in the Dominican Republic this past summer. It went back to 12 miles for a little while. However, at the end of the summer, it turned into 413 miles when I moved to the University of Kentucky. In October, we were only a few feet apart as I hid behind his car in his school parking lot to surprise him. After I have returned and left home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break, he decided it was time for him to come to Lexington in March 2019.

All the time spent together and apart brings us to our one year — April 27, 2019.

Hey, Brendan: Although we will be 413 miles apart for it, happy one-year. You have been my rock and my best friend for the past 20-some months, and there are not enough thank you's that I can say to express how thankful I am that God put you in my life. I am so beyond grateful and appreciative for everything you have done and sacrificed for me and for us. I cannot wait to see where our journey will go next, but until then — here's to me and you. I love you. See you very very soon.