I moved to Nebraska the month before my freshman year of high school.
My mom assured me that starting a new high school wouldn’t be like all the other times I started a new school. She said it was going to be a lot of schools coming together and a lot of people wouldn’t know each other. She said I would have no trouble making friends.
She was wrong about the part where everyone didn’t know each other. Almost everyone has gone to a hand full of elementary schools and then one junior high. But she was right about me making friends.
My first class at Papillion South was biology with Mr. Johnson. I slipped into a seat at one of the tables at the front, but we were quickly instructed to move to our assigned seats. I was seated at the table farthest from the door with Leah, Marissa, and across from Ben. Jenna sat directly behind me, her chair backing up to mine.
I normally don’t have a good memory like that, but I always try to remember thinks I deem important, and my first class of high school seemed like one for the list. Looking back, I can’t believe that all of those people became part of my circle of friends. It’s a little freaky.
Jenna and I were always school friends, but we didn’t start to hangout until senior year and we have oddly grown closer through college even though she goes to UNL and I go to A&M. We are a lot alike and both joined sororities and both became more religious after high school, so we always have a lot to discuss. I really cherish her friendship.
Jenna has been dating Ben like forever. I think they were dating on that first day of high school and I remember her turning around and talking to him and then, because I was in their way, talking to me too. Ben was the class clown. Everybody loved him. He is our senior class president. They were Homecoming Prince and Princess, even though Ben “broke up” with her after homecoming, lol. He and Jenna were both in show choir and did all the musicals together. They even got out friend groups trophy for What Couple Had Sex in The Weirdest Place This Year our senior year for having sex during one of the musicals that they both starred in! I honestly believe it. They have crazy chemistry even though they’ve been together this long. I always thought they were the cutest couple. I have some weirdly creepy photos of just them from way before I was good enough friends with Jenna to have them.
Ben joined the marines right when he graduated high school, and he is still enlisted, so they don’t get to see each other that much. Jenna says their relationship is stronger than ever and I know it’s true.
The day after my 21st birthday, Jenna sent me a cryptic text that just said “what are you up to?” I immediately knew and texted her back “IT HAPPENED?” and facetimed her. She didn’t know how I knew, but Jenna is never a “what’s up” texter, there’s always something and I just knew.
Ben and Jenna were engaged.
Since they have been dating for so long, it hasn’t really been a question of if they will get married, but when. The Saturday night before my birthday, Ben was in Papillion on leave and Jenna had been working late in Lincoln, but they were meeting up in Papillion on Monday night. She called Ben that night and they started talking about engagements, and Jenna let it slip that she thought he was going to propose when they were on spring break in Washington D.C. She casually asked him if he had gotten a ring, and I guess he panicked because he hadn’t gotten one. Jenna basically told him to get a move on if he wanted to make sure the ring was ready by spring break, but Ben had other ideas.
I guess Jenna’s comments kicked him into action because he immediately texted his older sisters saying he needed them to go ring shopping with him the next day. They went to Borsheims and picked out a beautiful ring. Then Ben went to Jenna’s house to ask her dad for her hand in marriage. Of course he gave his blessing. When Jenna finally got to Papillion around sunset the next day, Ben had his entire proposal planned. He took her to the park where they spent a lot of time as kids and asked her to be his wife. She said it was beautiful and intimate and exactly what she had wanted.
The proposal is so Ben. When he decides he wants something, he goes all in that very second. He also wanted to surprise Jenna, and damn did it work. They got engaged on my birthday and Jenna didn’t call me that night because she didn’t want to take over my birthday. Little did she know that their engagement was one of the best gifts I received. She wasn’t telling anyone in Nebraska for an entire week so that she could be anonymous at her sorority ring pass, and no one understood that better than I did. I think I cried tears of joy when I saw her ring.
Ben and Jenna are getting married on January 13th, 2018. I can’t contain my excitement. They deserve all the happiness in the world and I can’t wait for the day they say I do. Jenna and I have been talking about her wedding for years and I love that she is finally getting the chance to plan it for real. I did some research and found that she can still get peonies in January, and they aren’t ungodly expensive. Peonies are her favorite, she even has some tattooed on her, so I knew she wanted to make sure she could have them in her wedding. She didn’t know you could get them in the winter, and I felt amazing when I told her they grew out of season in Australia.
Jenna’s dress is amazing. I can’t wait to see her in it in person. Jenna has impeccable taste, so I just know that her wedding is going to make me want to plan my own within the year. I made her wedding hashtag #bennalongtimecoming. I am also hoping that I fall in love with one of Ben’s super hot marine friends at her wedding. So unless I’m miraculously dating someone at the time, I’m going to make Mason be my date and then we can be each other’s wing man for the night.
This is seriously so exciting for me, so I can’t imagine how exciting it must be for them.
Looking back to freshman year of high school, I never imagined I would find a friend like Jenna or be inspired by a love as deep as theirs. I’m so thankful for them.