Here, Blake tells the story in her own words.
￼Shooting an arrow across the park, I looked over to see a boy nearby dressed all in black. It was 2002 and I was practising archery at a school camp.
‘Black is a good colour on you,’ I joked to the boy. I don’t know why I said it, just to tease him really. Luckily, he didn’t mind me making fun of him and from that moment we became firm friends. His name was Kevin and, like me, he was 13 years old.
Kevin made me laugh and, despite living in different states, we stayed in touch by phone and online messages. Drifting in and out of contact, we hadn’t spoken for about a year when, in 2007, our friendship suddenly became a lot deeper. Kevin had just broken up with a girlfriend and was feeling really down. At the tender age of 17, he’d decided that the only answer was to kill himself.
After planning it for a month, Kevin drove out to a remote place where he planned to do it. On the same day, I was on a school trip and decided on the spur of the moment to ring my old friend.
‘Hi Kevin! How are you?’ I yelled down the phone. ‘Not too bad,’ he replied. ‘Ah, I need to put my phone away now but I’ll call you again tomorrow,’ I said, no idea of what was just about to happen on the other end of the phone. ‘Well, actually, I’m not planning to be around tomorrow,’ Kevin mumbled. ‘You actually called me right before I was going to kill myself.’ I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
‘What? Please, please don’t even think about doing that,’ I pleaded with him.‘Don’t worry, just hearing your voice and then saying it out loud made me realise it was a dumb idea,’ Kevin said. ‘I’m going to drive home now. Let’s talk tomorrow.’
After saying goodbye, I felt sick with worry for the rest of the day. Speaking to him the next morning, Kevin told me that he’d changed his mind and I felt reassured. With a new bond formed, we stayed in touch regularly. Then, just before we both started university, Kevin came to see me. We had fun as Kevin played the guitar and I sang along. We made each other laugh but I didn’t see him as anything more than just a great friend.
Going to uni over 700 kilometres apart, we mainly kept in touch over text messages and phone calls. ‘What’s the deal with you and Kevin?’ my girlfriends would ask. ‘We’re just friends,’ I’d say. Although we had a great connection, I never felt the kind of spark needed for a relationship. But other people often didn’t see our friendship that way.
Kevin started dating a girl who didn’t want him to talk to me anymore, so we didn’t speak for almost three years. I missed Kevin but I accepted his girlfriend’s decision and wasn’t angry about it. Then, in September 2015, a message popped up from Kevin on Facebook. I’m sorry for disappearing, he wrote.Pleased to have my bestie back, we took up where we left off. I was in a serious relationship, and planning to move in with my boyfriend, when he suddenly broke it off with me.
Heartbroken, I messaged Kevin. Why don’t you come here and we can spend some time together? Promise to cheer you up, he typed into messenger.Even though we hadn’t seen each other for five years, as soon as I saw Kevin it was like time hadn’t passed. I’d forgotten what a kind and funny person he was and when I went home, I couldn’t stop thinking about him.
Meeting up a month later, Kevin said he had something important to tell me. ‘I’ve loved you since we were teenagers and I know I’ll love you forever,’ he confessed. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing but in that moment, I realised I had feelings for him, too. We knew everything about each other and there was so much trust and love there. ‘I love you, too,’ I replied.
It sounds crazy, but we immediately started talking about getting married. We were staying in a hotel and we used the little notebook by the side of the bed to plan out our big day! Once we’d calmed down a little, we decided to start dating properly.
Just a few months after I became Kevin’s girlfriend, we were on holiday in Switzerland when he got down on one knee in front of the mountains . ‘Will you marry me,’ he asked sweetly. ‘Yes!’ I exclaimed.
The ring was rose gold with a black diamond as a nod to the very first words I’d said to Kevin!
In September 2016, we got married on a farm with just 20 people, followed by a party later with more friends. I am incredibly glad I rang Kevin that day. That phone call saved his life and now I’m proud to be his wife.
Read more in this week's issue of that's life!