Long Distance Relationships Look like Airplanes


John and I have been dating for a year, and he's pretty cool. I had never been to Virginia before last December, and I was excited to go visit my family since I hadn't seen them in a while, and I was even more excited to go somewhere new. I hopped in my roommate's car, and we drove to her parent's home in Lexington, KY. I stayed there for a week, and I was really sad to leave, because I was having fun pretending that I was a part of their family.

I was excited about visiting a new place; however, I knew I didn't have friends in Virginia, and I didn't have anyone to hang out with for the rest of my break, but I met my mom and her friend, Matt, in West Virginia (which is another story for another time), and we drove all night back to my parent's new house.

I read a lot over the break. The Rosie Project is one of my new favorite books of all time, and it became my best friend while in Virginia. Even though I didn't have anyone to hang out with I was really happy to be in Williamsburg, and that was surprising for me. It was just so great to get out of Oxford, MS. I had been trapped for so long that I forgot what else the world had to offer. I can remember driving to the grocery store and smiling like an idiot. I just loved being away, and I loved myself. I loved how happy I felt, and I thought it was great that I didn't need anyone.

My family knew John before I ever did, loved him before I ever did. I met him at the top of the staircase when I came out of my room one night, and I don't really remember what happened. I know my world didn't stop. My breath didn't get caught. And I didn't trip into his arms. I just crossed my feet and arms while he talked about meeting his mom for dinner later that night and thought, his kids are probably really cute. Because he was 28 and I was 21, and 28 year olds are usually married and have six to twelve kids. But he wasn't, and he didn't. He was getting his Master's at William and Mary. I didn't think much of it after, because what 28 year old wants to hang out with a 21 year old? Every time I saw him after that he always came up to talk to me; always so polite and so funny. The humor thing gets me every time, and I started trying to find ways to talk to him without looking like I was trying to.

And then he called me, and guys never call me, and he asked if I wanted to go to lunch, and I literally ran into my parents room, jumped on their bed, and laughed. I was a little red balloon filled with helium.

I've never believed in loving someone the day you meet them, and I didn't love John, but I knew I was going to. I knew that he was going to make me laugh every day, and so I was honest on our first date. I told him where I didn't want to eat and where I did. I told him what movie I wanted to watch and the ones I didn't, and I laughed if his jokes were funny, and I didn't if they weren't (which was rarely). I changed the radio if I didn't like the song.

A few weeks after meeting him he said that he wasn't going to look for anyone else after I left to go back to school, and I think I said something like, "I'd make a great girlfriend," and I think he said something like, "I thought so." Easier than I thought it would be. And then I left for school, and I realized that I couldn't date John from Mississippi, and I realized we could only be friends, because dating means that you're going. on. dates. You're holding hands, and you're spending time together, and all we could do was FaceTime, but we just kept FaceTiming.

And we became friends. I learned all about him, and I learned that I wanted to tell him about the girl who chews on her hair in class, and I wanted to tell him about how annoying my friends were, and tell him that I couldn't cook and not to expect me to, and I wanted to let him know that he was missed and that my parents were annoying, and I couldn't afford to buy yogurt or soup. And I called him one night to tell him I "L-Worded" him, and he laughed.

I had never been on an airplane before I met John, because I hate flying. I'm petrified every time we take off, and sometimes I feel like I hang out with U.S. Airways more than I hang out with John. But being in this relationship is the best thing that's ever happened to me, because I'm dependent on myself to be happy. I didn't seclude myself to just hanging out with John. I have so many other friends, and I get to spend time with them every day, and I've learned that a relationship isn't about being in love or keeping the butterflies fluttering or spooning, but it's about wanting to tell John that I got ketchup all over myself when I was tutoring today. It's about thinking of him every time I see a Fiat. It's about not pretending to think things are funny. It's about being okay that he falls asleep when we watch movies. It's about singing "Stay With Me" together in a Black Friday line because your mom asked you to go. And I couldn't imagine singing badly to anyone else.