As close as 2300 miles can be

          It sounded like a summer “the guys” back home would be jealous of. The four of us, all single, would take California by storm and bring our southern charm and six strings to the beaches and have the summer of our lives making souvenir photographs and breaking hearts. We would be sure our adventures would be greater than those on any television, in any book or told through any folktale. At least that’s the diluted dream that everyone asks about when you tell them you’re going.

          Before I could find for myself that southern California isn’t anything like I had assumed, or before I could even leave the sate of Kentucky, one girl foiled an entire mirage summer of California blondes, carefree flirting and irresponsible decisions.

          I met her through Julie Vachon, a great friend who I wish I had hung out with more last semester. Julie, Elliot and I were attending a going-away-party for someone, and she brought her roommate, Mary Margaret Wayne. Within 8 hours or less of officially meeting Mary Margaret, we talked about how I didn’t want a girlfriend for the summer, our past tendency to have long relationships and accidentally started a relationship of our own.

          All of this came as a surprise to me, because it’s like getting to know the beautiful girl you kept making eye contact with at Chipotle but never get up the guts to talk to her because all you think you have in common is your love for chicken burritos (with the guac of course). Mary Margaret was that girl for me at Kernel gatherings. The first time I saw her I asked my friend, Allie, who Julie’s friend was. Allie told me she looked up to her and she had a great personality, but I still couldn’t work up the courage to talk to her. That happened one or two more times before I finally got my chance.

          As Mary Margaret tells it, I creeped her out the first time we met. She introduced herself and a nervous Brad responded, “I know who you are.” For those of you who haven’t picked up as to why this is an appalling way to start a conversation, you may want to revise your tactics to a less shadowy, not-so-Steve Urkel approach.   

         Three wimp-outs and one creep-out later, I got a fifth chance to talk to Mary Margaret. I was kind of coming out of a relationship with a girl, but I’m not sure where that ending or beginning was. I may have still been with her, but we never put any guidelines down in that relationship so I’m not sure where to give guidelines for this story. Take it as you wish. 

          Mary Margaret and I talked more than I had any time before at this party, but it wasn’t enough to where I ever thought she liked me. That first night I ended up having so much fun with her, Julie and Elliott, who were actually pushing for us to happen behind my back. After the festivities were over we all moved back to Elliott’s to watch Anchorman where I actually fell asleep on the couch with Mary Margaret. 

           This is where I should actually thank facebook.com. After I made it home, it was the only way I had to get a hold of Mary Margaret without going through a middle-man (or woman, since it would have been Julie). A few messages bounced back and fourth and soon we were talking to each other until 4 and 5 in the morning (Eastern time of course). 

         Since that first night with Mary Margaret I have only seen her once in Lexington and then I spent two nights at her home in Louisville. Her family’s warmth made the stay responsive and comfortable; I’m excited to get to know them all.

phonechat.jpg
Talking to Mary Margaret through texting, even in the Grand Tetons.

          Getting to know Mary Margaret has happened through long distance conversation though. Whether it was a three hour drive between Middlesboro and Louisville or 2,300 miles from California to Kentucky, I’ve learned her individuality through hours of phone conversations, text messaging, emails and facebook messages (before I deactivated my account).

            She was actually the one I was consulting the most often when I fell and hurt my knee. She’s a nursing senior at the University of Kentucky, and I don’t care to keep bragging on her and say that she made the Dean’s list this past semester. 

           The decision I thought would be the worst idea possible for this trip has turned out to be the best therapy for me and most rewarding way to start this relationship. In my experience, relationships that start with physical attraction can easily end with that being the only attraction there. Usually, after I learn some one’s personality it either adds or takes away to their overall attractiveness. 

            In this case, Mary Margaret has only gotten more and more attractive to me. I keep telling her that she’s going to wake up one day and my car is going to be in her driveway and I’ll be asleep on her steps from driving the 36 hours straight.  

        Something we both appreciate is how well our personalities play off each other. Our conversations can be so sarcastic and full of wit filled flirts that sometimes it’s hard to pick through the truth and find a boundary. But it’s not always like that. Mary Margaret has been there for me a few times when I’ve been down about my pictures or whatever else is going on.  

          I had to send her an email the other night because her nursing internship causes her to get up at 5 AM. I was mostly complaining about how bad my pictures were compared to everyone else’s; throwing a nice pity party for myself. My biggest concern was that we were shooting the same events, seeing the same things but seeing them differently. Their pictures were better.    

        Even though she was in a rush to get to work she sent me one back. In five lines she made me feel 100 percent better. I hope she doesn’t mind if I quote her:    

          Caroline and I would make family dinners during the school year. We would make the same exact meal (from a box… hard to screw up). To me, hers would always taste a lot better.
          Enjoy the Reagan Library today. Stop the self critique for a few minutes and just shoot.”
 
 

           In photography this competitive it is easy to get discouraged. This is such an aggressive business that you have to be able to take a few hits and just get better from it. We’ve all had to step up to that this summer because we’re in constant rivalry. I know I still need to improve and Mary Margaret’s message really made me feel like I should take it easy on myself and have fun. I did that and actually enjoyed the Reagan Library.

                                    blogmarymargaretkevin.jpg
                     Mary Margaret and her brother, Kevin, at their brother Brian’s wedding. Isn’t she beautiful?

            Everyday now I go through a very rough five or ten minutes of wanting to come home immediately and see what I’m missing out on. Mary Margaret and I bought admit that the phone was a different way to start but we’re both ready to just see each other and take advantage of being within a few hours drive of each other. 

           When I get back I can’t say that we’ll be picking up where we left off. Things have developed too much while I’ve been gone to say that. Over and over, only one thought comes to mind to sum up this entire situation.    

          I never would have thought I could miss someone who I’ve seen so few times this much. 

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2 Responses to “As close as 2300 miles can be”

  1. Wow. I am famous. And you actually make me sound like a decent individual. Thank you for sharing your wonderful thoughts about me with your blog fan club.

  2. aww brad this is so touching. you all should make a rival film with the notebook. call it the facebook. or the phone-book. or something like that. id totally watch it. and cry a few tears. haha. i need to meet this chick, she sounds like fun. does she play frisbee?

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