Despite the distance, freshman Allison Cook discusses making things work with her boyfriend who lives in Hudson, Ohio.

Before I begin, I’d like to make it clear that I am not naïve. I know the troubles this world brings upon anyone who ever claims to be in love. But I also believe that if you are in true love, any odds can be defied.

September 2011: It was the week before Homecoming in Hudson, a small town in northeast Ohio. It was my junior year of high school, and I found myself in a dilemma. The senior boy I was crushing on liked me back. The problem was our parents. I was good friends with his ex and he with mine. Despite the fact that she had told me to go for him, the parents were still wary.

He promised to find a way to take me to the dance, no matter what. We are fighters for love. And we’re both stubborn and determined. Luckily, his parents gave up on trying to hold us back, and after Wednesday at lunch, I officially had a date. Thursday night we hugged after the powderpuff football game that I played in, and Friday he held my freezing hands (though I think his ended up being colder than mine) in the bandstands in between songs.

As his dad, Mr. Machock, always said, (and laughed): At first we were going as friends, then it was a date and by the time the dance was over we were dating.

We went to all eight high school dances offered to us, we celebrated five birthdays (three of his, two of mine), saw each other graduate and finally, in August 2015, we said our first goodbye as I left for college.

Ethan Machock goes to Akron University and is a commuter. The latter is what makes our relationship so unique.

Let me start with the two negative things: First, every time I come back down to Ohio University, I feel as though I am leaving him. Second, every time I go to Hudson, I am caught in the battle of time given to him and time given to my parents. Neither of those “negative components” has been resolved, but they are not issues that will tear us apart. If anything, they seem to make us stronger.

The reason our relationship works is because Ethan has the ability to come down and see me, and I have the ability to go back to Hudson.

Our first visits were the most memorable so far. Mine was in mid-September. I went home for religious reasons, but was able to surprise him and his family for a couple hours. His first visit was at the end of September, the weekend of our two-year anniversary, and it was an amazing weekend.

We were sitting on a bench on looking out on the pond and gazebo in Emeriti Park. The leaves were starting to change, signaling both of our favorite time of year. My head was on his shoulder, and our fingers were intertwined. It was the perfect moment.

If moments like that don’t cheer me up when I’m missing him, there are items that he gave me or that we share that do. Every day I wore a red and purple string bracelet that he had tied around my wrist just before I left. After our anniversary, I started to wear a black rubber wristband with our favorite Pokémon on it. I gave him a matching one as one of my gifts to him for our anniversary. I also wear the gift he gave me – a stunning silver promise ring with small hearts that are carved out of each side.

Aside from various other pieces of jewelry, I have a very special hedgehog that Ethan gave me just before our second high school dance. It was his when he was a kid, and at some point he obtained a second. During times of loneliness I can hold this small Beanie Baby, and he can do the same with his.

Finally and probably the most important idea that is keeping Ethan and I together and strong is our dreams. We are not afraid to admit that we love each other. We are not afraid to admit that there have been and will be hard times, but we both know that if it’s meant to be, we will make it through.

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It’s not always easy to be two young people in love, separated by distance, in a world full of people who doubt us. But I think, in the end, those who really, truly dream and believe it are the ones who will prevail.

Allison Cook is a freshman studying journalism. Email her at ac830913@ohio.edu.