It's weird. Thinking of us then, me then, and him then. Us then was nothing. Me then was insecure and unhappy and desperate to get out of Moscow. Him then was the most adorable boy I'd ever met. Us then were just best friends. Me then had the biggest crush ever on a boy I didn't think knew I existed. Him then played Rock Band for hours with me in my basement, texted me every single second of every day, endured exchange students with me for six weeks, and all together filled the void of something I didn't even know was missing. Me then didn't believe in relationships. Him then was in one. After a year, I can say with certainty, I believe in them.
The past year has been funny. While I had high hopes, I had almost no expectations. If it makes any sense, I think it's crazy that it has been a year but it's not crazy that we are have reached this point. From day one, Niklaas has been the boy I didn't have a choice but to want to change my relationship status on facebook with. The boy who was the single exception. I had a crush on him before I even liked him. I had a crush on him when I liked someone else. I have a crush on him today. He's been my true best friend. We are first and foremost best friends. That's what came first. And then came his other relationship. And then the ending of it. And then came me. And then came summer and the best summer ever. Taking pictures every day, watching countless movies, spending way too much money on gas driving every where, me getting my wisdom teeth out, my graduation... it was the summer of us just being "together together" as a real couple every day as opposed to being together as best friends every day. It was carefree and easy and fun.
Then I left for Missoula. Which, in retrospect is kind of mind boggling that we even tried long distance after his previous experience. I mean, really. Two long distance relationships in a row? But, in a way, it was when we really got to know each other in the way that we know each other now. Being in a long distance relationship...you kind of have to be really close to be able to stick it out. It can't be because you are too scared to end what's great before it gets worse. It can't be because you feel obligated to the other person to stick it out.It has to be because you just want to. It's really that simple. You have to want to go weeks without seeing each other. You have to want to get by on text messages. You have to want to not know what they're doing all the time and letting that go. It took me months to figure it out. It took being a baby and whining and crying and moaning about the fact that we couldn't have the previous summer. I don't know when that changed, but it did. I put on my big girl panties and finally got it. If I learned anything about long distance over the past year, I realized that being apart doesn't mean not being together, it means being together but not living in the same place. Sounds simple, but I agonized about it. Not having the same friends, not knowing what was going on all the time. I have this theory that somewhere down the line, we just fell together on the same page. Probably during spring semester, after winter break. We weren't all over the place, missing each other at different times and being grumpy at different times. It just became understood that being together was the luxury, and it wasn't necessarily a necessity. It was an inconvenience and while it was hard and I missed him terribly... I could get by seeing him once a month, at most. And I wanted it.
I think my favorite part of all of it is the fact that in a way, we've grown up together. And while it would have been perfectly normal and even understandable to grow apart as we grew up in the past year, we didn't. We grew individually but together and that, I think, is so beautiful. I went into this being as realistic as possible and open to the idea that it could just not work out. I went into it expecting failure. I went into it saying that if we had to end it, I'd be alright with it and we'd be able to move on as friends. But we actually made it. I would not have believed you one year ago today that we'd survive a year in possibly the most life-transitioning time of our lives, but I'm happy we did. No matter what happens in the future as we grow up even more (there's still a lot left to do), I have loved these twelve months.
I take it back. My favorite part isn't all of that. Nope. My favorite part about us and this year is that even if we aren't "destined" to be together and even if we aren't soul mates, I have genuinely adored being his girlfriend and I have loved having a true best friend in every sense of the word for a year. It's been fun. It's been a dream come true. It's proved to me that waiting for something great to come along is worth it and being yourself is actually the best dating tactic you have. And I have no idea what's in store for us later, but this is all something I can't and will never forget.
i've had the time of my life fighting dragons with you