I've been in a long distance relationship since I was fourteen years old. This may sound crazy, and that's because it is. Before I got into my relationship, I thought of long-distance relationships as a joke because I didn't understand how you could feel a connection and love for someone so far away, but all of that changed whenever I met my girlfriend.
Being with her has opened up my eyes in so many ways and made me realize that people in long-distance relationships—at least in my case—have an even stronger emotional connection than typical couples. I didn't fall in love with her for superficial reasons.
I fell in love with her for her—the way she talks, that she lights up so bright when she's excited, how she makes me feel like she's right next to me when she's 1,718 miles away, and everything in between.
I begged my parents over and over and over again to let me meet her, but I never got the answer I wanted. It broke my heart and made me so mad, but now I understand why they were so hesitant. I know exactly who I was talking to, but my parents knew the Internet as a web of lies. The way this generation views online friendships and relationships are much different than people viewed it a decade ago, and they were still stuck on that. But after years of begging to meet my girlfriend, I finally got a step closer to the moment I had dreamt about for so long.
In November of 2017, I was a senior in high school. My mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I only wanted one thing. I was so determined to keep pushing to see my girlfriend, so I got a piece of paper, labeled it as my Christmas list, and had one little bullet that said: "to meet Monique."
At first, it got brushed off and she told me to make an actual list, but I kept trying to persuade her. Somehow it actually began to work, and I'm still not sure how I pulled that off. I talked to my mom some more, talked to my dad, and the next thing you know we were looking for plane tickets.
The countdown started on November 9, 2017, and we had 47 days until we would see each other in person for the first time. Every day I would write how many days we had left on my hand. I don't think I've ever been so excited for something in my entire life. We had only known years of each other through Skype calls and phone calls. Don't get me wrong, we already knew everything about each other and were always on Skype practically 24/7, but this was different.
On Christmas, I was so excited because I knew I would be seeing my love the very next day. I picked out my outfit the night before, and I was telling my best friends how excited I was. I even went to bed super early so I could wake up and see her already.
She's the one person I'm never shy around.
Whenever it comes to other people, I'm awkward, shy, and quiet, but she's the one person I can always comfortably be myself around. We were both scared that for the first couple of minutes of seeing each other in person we would be a little weird, but we were both pleasantly surprised.
It was December 26th and my mom drove me to the airport in Atlanta. My girlfriend arrived practically the same time as us. Neither one of us had any experience with flying and airports, so it took us a few minutes to actually find each other, but I can't even tell you the feelings that flew through my heart whenever I saw her. Thankfully, my mom was able to catch it on video.
We ran up to each other, she dropped her backpack, and we gave each other the world's longest, sweetest, most love-filled hug in the whole wide world. At one point, she stopped hugging me, looked at me with her beautiful brown eyes glowing, and told me I was gorgeous.
At that moment, I knew that every day I waited for her was well worth the wait.
We continued out of the airport holding hands the whole time, and it was the happiest I had ever been. She stayed for almost two weeks, and we had a blast. She tried southern food for the first time, which was a fun experience. She met my parents, my pets, and she became part of the family.
Since then, we've had many visits whether it was for prom, a beach trip, or just to spend time with each other. She's been here, I've been to Arizona, and I'm the happiest whenever we're around each other. We get to learn about whole new worlds since we live in such different places, and it's always an adventure. I make her try boiled peanuts, and she makes me try menudo.
At the moment, distance is still a battle, but I know that each day is a day closer to when we'll be living together. I worry about almost everything in my life, but she's the one thing I'm sure of.