And I can’t make it on my own
Because my heart is in Ohio
Our story starts sixteen years ago, when I moved to Ohio against my will and started 7th grade at a new school.
There was no gifted program, just a program called PACE which was basically an excuse to let the smart kids out of class once a week. That’s where I met B, although I don’t really remember it. We were in band together, too. I made some good friends in 7th grade. I had a crush on a nice boy, but when I realized he wasn’t very smart I got over it quick.
Everyone knows 8th grade is the worst. I had a crush on a smarter boy, but someone told him, and then someone heard him laughing about it. I stopped telling my friends about my crushes. B sat next to me in computer class (our last names start with the same letter) and antagonized me by making all his Powerpoints in Comic Sans.
In high school, the band was like my family. I also did a bunch of other activities and had actually interesting, challenging classes. In advanced English sophomore year, B made a point of getting to class early so he could claim the one cushiony chair. I hardly ever got to sit in that damn chair. Junior year, he went with a big group of my friends on a trip to England led by our wonderful English teacher. After that he started hanging out with our group more.
Senior year I shared a seat with him on the band bus once or twice. I applied to college, and picked a good university two hours away. B chose the local State school because he didn’t even have to write an essay to apply. He gave me high fives in the band room, and he kicked the back of my shoe when I was getting books out of my locker. His was three down from mine (last names, remember?). I passed all my AP tests and went to prom with a group of friends.
He was the first person to arrive at my graduation party. We saw each other constantly that summer, and he gave me his AIM screen name so we talked online all the time, too. We saw Spiderman 2 at the drive-in, piled with friends in the back of my parents’ station wagon. I realized I missed him when he wasn’t there. I realized he was the easiest person to talk to I had ever met. Neither of us knows when we started actually dating; we picked an arbitrary date to celebrate, first by month and then by year.
Most LDRs don’t survive freshman year of college. He bought a new car so he could drive down to see me every month, and when we got tired of blowing through phone cards he bought us cell phones. My roommates called him “B” too (or “Bubba”) and helped him sneak into the dorm to surprise me.
Junior year I spent fall semester in Spain, which was one of the best and most difficult experiences of my life. For him, I think it was just difficult. He proposed to me the next summer, after I came home from another trip abroad. The first thing I said was, “Are you serious?” which he correctly took to mean yes. We were at the drive-in, in my parents’ newer station wagon, about to watch Pirates of the Caribbean 3. I could not have told you a single thing that happened in that movie.
I graduated and got a job near home with my degree, which was a minor miracle at the time. We got married in my church (six years ago this summer) and took wedding photos by the life-size X-wing at a local restaurant. We moved into a small apartment, then a bigger one, then bought a house. He leaves notes around the house for me to find when he goes on business trips. He keeps me sane when I’m anxious and depressed. He tells me he’ll read the stories I write, and he’s even learned to clean the cat’s litter box.
My parents sold their station wagon, but I have a hatchback now, and we still go to the drive-in all the time. Ten years is more than a third of my life, and every year that proportion spent with him keeps growing.