It was a cool, summer morning in July of 2009. I had rolled my suitcase over the cobblestone platform at Kemper Street Station. I hugged my mom goodbye, and she assured me that I’d make new friends and was going to have a great time. I wasn’t so sure, since I was new here and was only going on this trip with my church youth group to appease her. Thankfully, mothers always know best 😉
I stepped onto the train to New York City, only knowing one other person in this sea of people. I had just started high school that year and started going to a new church. Despite being the extravert that I am, I never like being the only person that doesn’t know anyone. All of that changed when a boy came and sat down beside of me.
I was reading one of my summer reading books for my sophomore English clash. I was behind and clearly remember being terrified that my teacher would know I crammed all of the books into my last month of the summer (overachiever/perfectionist, much?). So, when this kid plopped down in the seat next to me and said, “hey, I’m Chance – what are you up to?!”, I vividly remember being annoyed, responding with, “hi… I’m reading.”
Well, thankfully my initial abrasiveness didn’t scare him off. We briefly introduced ourselves to each other on the train that day and that was that. However, as the trip went on, we spent more and more time together in groups and got to know each other. When we got home, little did we know that this little trip to New York would spark the deepest and most cherished friendship either of us would ever know.
Through the next few years of high school, we shared so much together. We laughed through the good times and prayed through the bad. We encouraged and supported each other. We walked through tough life situations and talked through hard decisions. There were times of distance and times of closeness. But most importantly, we loved each other as friends, through the good times and bad. Little did we know that this time of high school friendship would give us the best foundation on which to build our relationship.
Each of the next 3 summers, we went on that same trip to New York City. We met at the same train station, got on the same train, and went to the same city, each time just a little bit closer than before. By the time we took our last trip together there as friends, I knew there was a little something more for him in my heart than just friendship, but I wasn’t sure how to move towards it just yet.