Around my junior year of high school, I started becoming closer friends with a fellow cheerleader named Kelly. She was dating a guy named Brian from our rival high school. We'd often go hang out with him and a lot of his guy friends - enter: Tyler! I am told that we first met at a Mio's Pizzeria, but my first memory of Tyler is actually in Brian's basement, where he was standing by the pool table wearing a hat (of course). I actually thought he looked like a guy from grade school that I used to have a crush on. We were acquaintances throughout our senior year, but it wasn't until a graduation trip to Cancun with the same group that Tyler and I really became friends. We had a night where just the two of us stayed up until about 3am on the beach talking and getting to know each other. He's not exactly an open book, so that was a pretty solid milestone. We both went off to different colleges for our freshman year, mostly just keeping in touch over Skype chat. It wasn't until that summer when we both came back home that our relationship started changing. I broke up with a guy I had been seeing. Our friend group was all back to hanging out together. I seem to recall a Rascal Flatts concert where a few of us girls were talking about if we would date any of the guys there with us, and I started considering what it would be like to date Tyler. Over the summer, we just started casually flirting and hanging out one-on-one more. Anyways - let's wrap this up. He said let's date. I said let's not - ya know, because of long distance and being in college. He said you do you then. It wasn't until he left to go back to UK that I started really missing him and being all sad about it. So I said whatever, let's give this dating thing a try - and here we are 10 years later!
My first memory of Christine was in high school when my friend Brian asked if I wanted to go grab food with him after school one day at Mio’s. The plan was to meet up with another one of his friends, Sam, and while I wasn’t a friend of Sam’s, I said why not. I remember, upon our arrival, discovering (what I considered to be an un-invited guest) Sam's then-girlfriend Christine sitting next to him at the table. It should be noted at this point that I felt very unhappy with my decision-making and a little tricked, as I was not informed there would be a second stranger at the meal. Nevertheless, I persisted (the fact that I didn’t drive helped). We ate, we chatted, and I left the meal feeling the exact same way as I did at the beginning of it, unhappy with my decision to attend. I knew at the end of that meal, that while these people were going to be around (due to our shared friends) neither of them was going to play any significant role in my life going forward (oops). Fast-forward to our senior year, our friend group was planning a celebratory graduation trip to Cancun. This was a cool idea, and everyone was excited about it… except me. I had genuinely ZERO interest in flying to Mexico for a week. Much to my disappointment my dad decided it would be a cool gift to buy my ticket to Cancun… so now I had to go (thanks, Dad). While down there, Christine went out with the fun kids and did fun kid things like ziplining & going to dance clubs, whereas I opted to go snorkeling, and chill by the pool. Christine and I never really had much in common (and arguably still don’t) but one night we ended up hanging out by the pool, overlooking the Gulf, and chatted for hours. It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t even something I wanted to happen, but somehow it just manifested itself into a moment, and we talked about real things.
This was not only the first time that we ever really “talked”, but the sum of all the words and opinions shared that evening vastly outweighed every word that we had ever said to each other up to that point. And from then on, we were friends. Now we are off to college, her at OSU, and me at the UK. I must credit our friend Emily at this point, because she, if memory serves, was the reason we all downloaded Skype (the original Zoom for all you Gen-Z’rs) to try and stay in touch as a friend group. When I would message Christine, it was rarely anything nearly as deep as our talk in Cancun. It was mostly “how was your day,” “how is Columbus,” “what does your weekend look like,” etc. But the connection that we maintained while apart was valuable and played an integral role in us maintaining our friendship. Now it is time for me to credit 2 more friends, Aaron and Corwin (Will for those who haven’t known him for 10+ years). It was a party on Aaron’s houseboat where I first felt there might be something there with Christine. The rest of that evening’s story is boring so I will spare you… And then Corwin who later hosted a house party that inspired, what I fondly recall as, the first time Christine ever considered that there might be something there with me. This story is inarguably not boring, and is in fact really entertaining, but I will spare you nonetheless… Later that summer, as we were faced with the threat of returning to separate schools, I worked up the courage to ask her out and like any good love story she said, “no.” But I wasn’t giving up, we would still Skype message back and forth frequently and eventually she gave in. In closing, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for a very large majority of you who are reading this, and for that I’d like to say thank you. You all have vastly improved my life and certainly made hers much more difficult.