By Tyler Buchanan

For us, love has been neither patient nor kind.
It was raining the evening Lauren’s car slid off the road into a brick wall. Her car totaled, we walked away unscathed.
It was raining again three weeks later as we approached our highway exit a quarter mile away. The slick roads and heavy traffic meant we couldn’t avoid the stalled car in our lane.
Fifty miles an hour. Slam.
Months later, I’m still reminded of our feelings of desperation and helplessness each time I take that exit in driving four hours across the state to visit her.
The crash left our doors jammed inward. Fighting to escape, we watched behind us as dozens of semi-trucks and cars came directly towards us at high speeds, some nearly spinning out of control on the wet highway. Many came within a few feet of hitting us as we did the first car.
We freed ourselves from the wreckage and were met by the other car’s driver who’d watched from the highway’s shoulder.
She told us her car had ran out of gas and that she was going to get help. She fled the scene, walking off the exit we didn’t make it to, never to return.
It was just us two in the rain, scared and shaken, but safe.
We are stronger together through these experiences. Improbable chance has kept us safe, along with further evidence of circumstance which brought us together to begin with.
At first, she was merely words on a computer screen.
“21 years old, female, Ohio, dream job: travel writer,” read her post.

 

The author, Tyler Buchanan, and his girlfriend Lauren Schneider on the campus of her Ohio University.

Neither of us were single at the time or on any kind of dating site. At the break of dawn, I must have refreshed the page at just the right time to even see it.
“Oh, you’re a writer too?”
“No,” she replied, “I just put something down.”
Going to college in southern Ohio and being from North Carolina, she’d never even heard of Bowling Green.

I believed in following my heart, even if it meant taking a 168 mile chance a few weeks later to meet her in person.
David Coleman, the “Date Doctor” and inspiration for the movie Hitch, spoke at BGSU last year on the perils of long distance relationships. Over 90 percent eventually fail, he warned, and communication becomes increasingly difficult.

But who says we’re normal?
Over the past year, maintaining a strong relationship has been aided by the wonders of modern technology. I’ve learned to appreciate, however, the significance of the occasional phone call or even a simple letter in the mail.
Through the tribulations, the countless thousands of miles back and forth and the growing number of wrecked vehicles, our hearts have only grown stronger.┬áIf we’ve survived through such impossibilities and troubles apart, I’m sure we’ll do just fine when we’re finally together for good.
I hope and believe that our engagement will come sooner rather than later, provided our finances cease going to more car down payments.
Within a few months, she’ll move in with me and we’ll begin a life together. The intangibles we’ve gained through experiences, good and bad, will sustain us both forever.