Knoxville, Tennessee, UNITED STATES – This year, I’ll be fortunate enough to celebrate Valentine’s Day with someone perfectly suited for me – even if we have to do it 1,000 miles apart.
The most frequent question I receive from people about him is, “How did you guys meet?”
The inquiry always makes me laugh inside because it’s kind of a funny story.
I met my sweetheart the summer of freshman year while visiting my best friend in New Jersey. My friend and I had plans to spend a week together, and then attend a Christian camp in New Hampshire.
At camp, even before learning all my cabin mates’ names, a slender brunette with square framed glasses boldly proclaimed, “Oh! Tak’s checking you out!”
The girls around me had all begun to giggle and gossip, when I nonchalantly glanced in his direction and was met with a set of thin, dark brown eyes staring back at me.
In an effort to remain a state of sangfroid, I boastfully squealed, “Ummm… ewh!”
My childish comment sent all the girls into another round of laughter before anyone could catch me blushing.
Even as the week progressed, our relationship had not. Within four days, he had successfully criticized my lip synching skills, kicked my thumb, and pegged a ball at my head.
It’s safe to say that he wasn’t exactly my knight in shining armor, but he did make me laugh and I was always having fun when I was with him.
He was goofy and silly, and had a quick, clever rebuttal to all my ill-thought-out remarks.
As the end of the week approached, I returned to my cozy home in East Tennessee and he to his small town in Massachusetts. Leaving camp, I had still only thought of him as possibly just a fun guy to keep in touch with.
Fate seemed to have other plans.
We began sending innocent text messages, then progressing to page long IMs, and before I knew it, we were on the phone for hours or Skyping the night away on the weekends.
My brain kept reminding me that my behavior was irrational: “Is there any hope of seeing him? What would people think? Does he think we’re just friends? How long do I expect this to last?”
Day after day, it became like a war raging between my mind and my heart. I yearned to be sensible, to be a normal teenager, have a high school sweetheart, go on dates on the weekends, let the guy escort me to my classes and live a normal life like the rest of my friends.
But the longer I talked to him, the harder it became to let him go. After months of this kind of thinking, my mind had become a battlefield and I eventually had to surrender to the facts: I’m hopelessly in love with a guy I’ll never see.
It took everything in me to build the confidence to tell him the truth, but I’ll never regret the day I did.
It’s been about a year and a half and we still talk on the phone every night, make an effort to video chat every now and then, and even try to celebrate birthdays and special occasions by sending letters and items through the mail.
It’s not easy, and finding time has become an obstacle, but we work at it every day. Together, we solve problems as they come, and it’s comforting knowing that I don’t have to deal with it alone.
If there ever was a reasonable explanation to why this works, the answer lies in Tak. I’ve always had the habit of running away when things get too difficult or doubting our relationship when things aren’t working out, but he never fails to remind me why I chose him the first place.
I know that he’d never keep me back if I wanted to leave, that he’d understand whole heartedly, given the circumstances.
Yet, living without him is simply too arduous to imagine now. Tak’s the guy I turn to when I’m overwhelmed and feeling defeated.
He’s the first one I call him when anything exciting or unexpected occurs, and it’s comforting knowing that I don’t have to be someone I’m not.
I’ve been blessed to have a guy who’s not only my beau, but one of my best friends as well. Through this experience, I learned that I don’t have to have everything figured out. Consequently, I may not know how long this will last, when or if I’ll see him again, or where we’ll be in the next three months, six months, or a year from now, but honestly, I don’t care.
What I do know is that I’m happy right now, and that’s just enough for me.
Cresonia Hsieh is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.