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06 September 2013 @ 02:56 pm
When you least expect it  
This story starts 76 days ago, on June 22nd, 2013, actually, a few days before that. Shortly after Christmas last year, I deleted my Facebook account in attempts to purge my life of the things that were reminiscent of last year's transgressions. I was off the grid for a few months, and then (at the beginning of March I think?) I rejoined the social media world. Instead of just deactivating my account, and firing it back up again, I chose to delete it entirely, along with all the pictures I was tagged in from people I was no longer friends with. I decided to start fresh, so that I could be more selective in who I added as a friend online. In doing so, I relied heavily on the "People You May Know" tab. While scanning through, I came across a friend from my younger years, who I hadn't talked to in a long, long time named Dave. Dave and I were in something called CCYM (Conference Council on Youth Ministry) together in our high school years. It was a sort of youth group, made up of United Methodist teenagers from all across the Central New York conference. Dave was from Whitesboro, NY. We knew each other really well, all those years ago and traveled to Washington D.C. and Knoxville, TN together for youth rallies and other spiritually engaging retreats. Eventually, college came around and we all went our separate ways, him to RIT and then into the Navy, and me, anywhere but a straight line. I'd kind of been aware of him for the years between then and now, I knew he was in Corpus Christi for a while, and that's about it. I decided to add him on FB, and see how he was doing. We went through the obligatory "How have you been, what have you been up to" FB message exchange, and then I kind of assumed it would end up being like most FB friendships, where you never speak again, but remain unnaturally aware of what is happening in their lives, but I couldn't be more wrong.

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, we ended up chatting on FB messenger throughout the work day. It seems he had just gotten back from Japan with the Navy and had found himself stuck in a sort of desk job until awaiting further orders from Uncle Sam. I figured he was just bored. Then, toward the end of June, he asked me where I lived in Virginia, and mentioned that he was driving from Jacksonville, FL to upstate New York the next week for 2 weeks of leave with his family. He had to drive instead of flying because his sister had been dog sitting while he was in Japan, and he needed to bring his dog back to Florida with him. He asked if he could stop through Harrisonburg on his way up, and I said of course, and invited him to crash at my house en route. There was no sense in paying for a hotel when I was literally right along the way. So it was set, and on June 22nd, we saw each other for the first time in 7 years. We caught up and chatted for a bit, and then headed downtown to meet some of my friends at the bar for drinks. He had to get on the road fairly early the next day to finish his drive to NY, but both of us knew that this weekend had sparked something that neither of us had anticipated. He would be in NY for 2 weeks, and would be returning to Florida the weekend after 4th of July. We agreed that he would stay with me again on the way down, and he did. We talked every single day for those two weeks. Good morning texts, goodnight texts, and everything in between.

We decided that the next logical step was for me to come down to Jacksonville and visit at the end of August. So 6 long and impatient weeks went by, and off to Florida I went. I won't get into the details of the trip, but it was amazing. It was probably the best vacation, or adventure I have ever had. There were moments full of romance, and there were moments where I felt like I was just hanging out with my best friend. Every second of it was great. After 4 1/2 days of being together, I got on a plane, and came home to Virginia already planning our next adventure. He is coming to Virginia in 2 weeks for the weekend for my birthday, and then at the end of October my best friend Mandy, Hunter (her husband) and I are flying to Jacksonville to spend the weekend with Dave and go to the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot. Being in a long-distance whatever (not entirely sure we've defined it as a relationship yet, but it is what it is) is not ideal, and I am being reminded of all those years spent on opposite coasts with Matt; skyping and calling and IMing and texting and rarely ever just being together. But for the time being, this feels right, and I'm going to roll with it and see where it goes. Long distance works if you put the time and effort in, and both parties contribute equally. Also, when in a long distance relationship, it doesn't hurt that one of you is a pilot :)

We'll see where this goes, but I am happy, and that is what it's all about, right?