Love in Lockdown: Inspiring Story

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Love in Lockdown

Edie Wilson’s suitcase was packed for spring break. Two pairs of shorts, a few crop tops and five bikinis was all the 20-year-old needed for a week in Cancun with her parents and her brother, followed by a visit to a friend in Florida.

Sure, she’d stop by Houston for a few days to visit her ex-boyfriend, Parker Johnson. But the weather here is warm – especially for a native of Nova Scotia who lives in New Hampshire, attending Dartmouth College, during the school year — so the wardrobe should suffice. The Houston leg of her journey would only amount to three days.
Or at least that was the plan – until Wilson got a call from her mother just as she was about to leave Houston. Her brother had tested positive for coronavirus.
“You need to cancel your flight,” Wilson’s mom told her. “And you need to isolate yourself immediately.”
Wilson hung up and dialed Johnson, whom she’d seen only an hour before, during their sad goodbye lunch. She considered her words: How exactly do you tell an ex-boyfriend that you have to stay in town for an extra two weeks to quarantine? And that he should quarantine too?
She did her best.
“Are you joking?” Johnson asked, when Wilson filled him in on the situation.
“No,” she answered. “We have to quarantine for two weeks. Surprise!”
Parker and Wilson first met two years ago when she was a freshman and he was a senior, both running on Dartmouth’s track team. They began dating in December 2018, and split up when Johnson graduated in the spring of 2019. He lives in Houston. She’s up in Canada. They didn’t know how to make it work. Or even whether they should try.
But the split was amicable. He visited her at homecoming last fall. And they reconnected again at a funeral after their track coach passed away. This Houston visit was going to be just one more chance to see a favorite face. As friends, of course. Just friends.
Wilson had worried a little when she was planning the Houston trip originally. It was early March, and health officials were beginning to advise caution with traveling, especially for international trips like her family jaunt to Mexico. But when she raised questions about whether stopping in Houston was the right choice, Johnson brushed it off.
“I want to see you,” he said. “I don’t care.”
So she came. And then she stayed. And then her passport expired.
Surprise, again.
After discovering her passport had expired during while she was quarantining, Wilson, who is a dual Canadian-and-American citizen, realized she wouldn’t be able to make it home in time for a surgery she’d planned to remove 6- -centimeter mass that had appeared on her neck in December.
The hurdles were mounting.
But here’s the thing about hurdles: That’s how Johnson and Wilson met. He ran the 110-meter hurdle and 400-meter hurdle event on the Dartmouth team, while Wilson ran the straight 400-meter race.
“I’ve been trying to get her to add the hurdles to it, so she can compete in the 400-meter hurdles,” Johnson says. He loves watching Wilson practice the timing and motion it takes to add a leap over a metal barricade to her sprint. She’s good at it.
Hurdles are just obstacles best met head-on at full speed. So that’s what Wilson and Johnson did.
Near the end of Wilson and Johnson’s two-week isolation, Johnson’s parents, who live in Bellaire, returned from a trip to Colorado.
Wilson had never met them before. And she hadn’t planned on meeting them during her short trip. Otherwise, she might have rethought the wardrobe she packed: “This is great for Mexico,” she joked to Johnson one day as they set out for a Goodwill store to find her some new duds. “But I don’t know if your mom will love it.”
By this point, Johnson and Wilson were no longer exes. Close quarters and high-stakes were just what they needed to get back together — “thankfully,” says Johnson

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