Natalie and I were high school sweethearts. We both went to local South River High School, officially meeting in school at the start of 2010. We dated for the remainder of high school, playing sports and being around each other as much as possible until graduating in 2012. We both loved our time at SRHS as we were able to watch each other grow and spend each day with each other.
During the spring of our senior year, we decided to attend separate colleges. I chose to pursue my passion for lacrosse and play at Hampden-Sydney College, in central Virginia, while Natalie chose to stay local, attending Towson University. Since we were five hours away from each other and both wanted to experience college independently, we decided to separate before departing off to college. During the fall semester, I decided Hampden-Sydney wasn't the right place for me, so I applied to transfer to the University of Maryland. Towards the end of the fall semester, I found out I'd been accepted to Maryland. Around the same time, Natalie slowly started reaching back out to me to reconnect over our winter break. After telling her about UMD, we fell back together like we'd never been apart.
Once back at school for our spring semester, things began to go south as we couldn't see each other as much as we wanted. Natalie ended things thinking the "long distance" weekend relationship wasn't for her. We remained separated for 11 months. Towards the end of our fall semester sophomore year, Natalie reached back out to me to gauge my interest in reconnecting...again. I told her I had begun seeing someone else, which absolutely crushed her. That night (night before a final exam), she drove to UMD to tell me she loved me and wanted to be together. Although it was difficult, I told Natalie that I wanted to see things through with the girl I was currently dating. A couple of weeks passed and I couldn't get Natalie off of my mind. I wasn't acting normal and felt like something was missing. In the middle of winter break, I decided that Natalie was the missing piece, the one I always wanted to and was meant to be with. Without telling Natalie, I ended things with the girl I was dating, bought flowers, and showed up at Natalie's door. I texted her to walk outside and there I was with the bouquet of flowers. She jumped into my arms and we've been inseparable ever since! Although it was a bumpy road, we both couldn't imagine life without the other.
Photography: Carly Fuller