Jacob and I met when we were 15 and 17, respectively (I know, what a cougar) and like the best relationships, our friendship started first. We barely spoke the first year, only tossing “hi” back and forth like a frisbee in the halls. We shared friends before secrets and waves before kisses, but our friendship took hold during the summer prior to my senior year. When Facebook messenger reigned supreme, our chat boxes consisted of hundreds of cat stickers and an excess of the caps lock key. We planned beach days with the people we knew, hoping to carpool with someone so he wouldn’t have to catch the bus. We went to Nanakuli and Kailua beach, watched horrible movies like Lucy, Interstellar, and Suicide Squad, had sleepovers, ate dinner together at every Wednesday night practice, and talked as much as we could on the field and on breaks. Friendship with him seemed so easy- we never ran out of topics to discuss and every day out was better than the last. I don’t remember the exact moment when I started to like him, but I know the feelings came gradually. The time we spent hanging out during free periods was more meaningful, I started to look forward to seeing him whenever I could, and my heart skipped whenever he walked up to me. When he told me he liked me at Hoʻolauleʻa, I was ecstatic. Unfortunately, my anti-relationship ideals got in the way and I wasn’t ready for any form of commitment. So I went off to college and we facetimed occasionally, but the spark escaped my mind. We occasionally saw each other during breaks, but never talked about our feelings again until last Christmas break. We got together again and tried a relationship, but ended it after a lack of communication on my part. I’m lucky that we rekindled our young feelings this summer because he made it the best break yet.
Taking a friendship to another level romantically is extremely rewarding. We already have a solid foundation of three years of friendship before we became serious, so we know almost everything about each other and our families. We’re so comfortable together and are always laughing and joking around, easily going from friends to love. He makes me laugh until I can’t breathe. He pushes me to try new activities and go on exciting adventures. Even when I’m too scared to continue hiking or reach a higher limit, he reminds me that he’s there and he’ll protect me no matter what. He never makes me feel inferior and always encourages my dreams despite the obstacles I may come across. We have so much fun together whether we’re relaxing at Kapolei park, watching movies together, going swimming, reading books at Barnes & Noble, or holding hands everywhere we go. Although I may have friendzoned him in the past and made him wait a few years longer than he would have wanted, I’m grateful for what we have now. Love with friendship is truly worth the wait and I hope everyone experiences this kind of happiness.