The second chapter of our love story starts on my first day of 8th grade. If you missed the first chapter, you can find it here.
After a mere 3 weeks since our break up, I was not looking forward to heading back to school in September. My stomach turned at the thought of seeing Jake (my newly ex boyfriend) on a daily basis.
I had decided that if I kept my head down in the hallway, I could make it through the first day of school without any awkward run-ins. As I walked into first period science, I noticed that Jake was in my class. It was a fairly large room, with two-seater lab tables. As fate would have it, our teacher had assigned seats alphabetically (our last initals were K and L). Jake and I would be lab partners for the entire year.
For the first few months of school, I did my best to win Jake back. I loaded up on Tommy Girl perfume and slathered on Limited Too roll-on glitter. I remember intentionally singing Coldplay songs under my breath (one of his favorite bands at the time) hoping that he would hear me and remember how much he loved me.
8th grade came and went with very little non-science related conversation between the two of us.
I dated a few other people and tried to move on from Jake. Eventually, we repaired our friendship and were able to hang out in the same circle without feeling uncomfortable.
After being friends for a while, we started to realize that we both wanted more from each other. At first, we tried to be "together" without a title (does this ever work?). Towards the middle of high school, we officially got back together. We went to Junior and Senior prom together and spent lots of time cruising around in Jake's sweet ride, a teal 1992 Dodge Dynasty (it was '04/'05 at the time... Also worth mentioning, we did not actually take this car to prom).
During my Junior year, my parents made the decision to move to Charlotte, NC after I graduated from high school. The magnitude of the move did not hit me at first, since I figured that everyone would be going away to college. I was excited for my senior year of high school and at 16, a year-and-a-half felt like a lifetime away.
Things started to become more real when I began applying to colleges in the Southeast, while all of my friends applied to schools in the Northeast. Jake decided on SUNY Cortland (not too far outside of Syracuse, NY) and I chose The University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC). A mere 830 miles away from one another.
Our senior year was a whirlwind; football games (Jake was on the team), parties, dances and lots of time spent together. After my parents moved to Charlotte, I stayed in New York for the summer. Without my permission, August came. It was time for me to leave everything that was familiar to me behind.
Jake drove to Charlotte with me so that we could spend a week together before I started school. We talked about what a long distance relationship would mean, and ultimately decided to take things day-by-day. We did not want to put too much pressure on one another, but breaking up didn't feel right.
In a crowded airport we said goodbye. As we drove away, I sobbed in the car with my mom. Immediately following the airport, my mom took me to the DMV to get my SC driver's license. As if driver's license photos aren't heinous enough.