Wednesday, July 11, 2018

How We Met

Last week, I posted about my boyfriend on Instagram. We’ve been dating long distance most of our relationship, and while it’s been hard, I’ve always felt that it was 100% worth it.

So many of you reached out and shared your long distance relationship stories with me. You all inspire me with your strength, honesty, and commitment. I was so touched by all of your stories, and figured we would have more of a way to connect and share, if I shared ours.

Parish and I met about eight months ago. I was about to graduate from LSU and move back home to the Chicagoland area. Basically, back across the country. I have always wanted to move to New Orleans and figured it would happen within the next few years. But at the time, I had all four grandparents and wanted to be sure that I got to spend time with them while I was lucky enough to. My whole family also lives here in Chicago and I see them at least weekly - we’re a close knit group. So I was set to pack up in the next few weeks, say my goodbyes, and move back to the loving arms of Chicago.

I was in my own world. Getting things done and ready for my move with the help of my mom, dad and brother. I was on track for moving, packing and going through all my stuff. I wasn’t in the mindset of finding love, because how well would a relationship work if we started dating right before I moved across the country, right?

Well, along came Parish. When I say Parish and I met eight months ago, I mean that we matched online. I remember getting the notification on my phone. Like many of my friends, I had dabbled in dating apps in the past, but nothing serious had ever come of it. It’s a dating app. I thought he was cute and liked him back on the app, and figured that would be that. Because nothing serious ever happens on dating apps.

Then a message popped up. From then on, we chatted about a bunch of things. I really couldn’t tell you what exactly, but I remember that it flowed effortlessly. I didn’t want to take anything too seriously because, in the past, I tended to romanticize things. And I really didn’t think this was going to pan out. I mean how could it? I was about to move.

I always seemed to cling to the tiniest bit of hope that something could happen, analyze it for weeks, then ultimately cry to my friends over pizza and ice cream. I was in a cycle and I wanted to break it. So I wasn’t looking.

We loosely made plans for brunch. I asked him to go when I had a little liquid courage, and it didn’t pan out. He had to go help his boss with something that day. But I kind of shrugged it off because I hadn’t been taking it seriously. “Maybe he really did have to help his boss” I thought. I didn’t even tell my friends I had asked him because they were used to me getting overly excited about things that would never pan out and I was embarrassed.

But then we made plans for the following Sunday. I lived in Baton Rouge at the time and he lives in New Orleans, so he was going to hang out with his friends that weekend and stick around to have dinner with me.

Expectations were still low. I didn’t know what to expect. We were hitting it off and had been talking for weeks but I couldn’t have predicted what would come of this. We had only been talking online, and talking face-to-face is way different.

And then he told me he made a reservation.

And then he parked his truck and walked to the door to pick me up.

I was used to college guys who took you out for a dinner at Whataburger or maybe Newk’s if we were getting fancy. I had never gone to a nice local restaurant for a date. Let alone had a reservation made for me. And forget about a guy coming to my front door. I was amazed. Even though this is supposed to be how typical dates go, in my experience with college guys, nothing had ever really come this close to a real date. I wasn’t used to being treated with forethought and care.

I had never really experienced what it felt like for someone to put in effort, because I had always chased after the tiniest glimmer of hope.

We drove to BRQ. I was so nervous. But once we sat down, that all melted away. We talked until we were the last people in the restaurant. The conversation was easy and free and I was being myself; I was laughing; I was happy. Like butterflies, can’t stop smiling, warm cheeks happy. Then we migrated to a bar so we could talk more. We laughed and laughed, and I couldn’t help but think that this was the best date I had ever been on.

After he dropped me off and kissed me goodnight, I walked into my apartment and closed the door. It felt different; I had never felt like this. In a moment of courage I texted him, “I think that was the best date I have ever been on.”

Was I too bold? Did that make sense? Would he think I was a loser? Did I ruin this?

Within minutes, he texted me back and agreed. A wave of relief washed over me.

“But I’m moving,” I thought. “This isn’t going to go anywhere. It can’t. Why would he want to date me when I’m going to live so far away?”

And whenever I got nervous and brought that up, his answer always was, “let’s make the most of the time we have left”.

After a few more dates, it was my last day in Louisiana. The next day, I was going to pack up and move. I tried to put that thought out of my mind as he picked me up for our date. We had gone out with my friends the night before and we weren’t in the best shape.

We were casually talking and he said something along the lines of, “well all the other girls I dated before you…”

“Wait, we’re dating?” I asked.

“I thought so,” he replied.

And just like that. We were dating.
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