Ardmore, Oklahoma: Sequel to “Kyron Horman Changed My Life”

For readers who have read Kyron Horman Changed My Life by Thomas Garris, this piece is a sequel to our real-life love story. If a missing child has ever resulted in an unforeseen and unplanned bond between two concerned people, it’s the Missing Kyron Horman case from Portland, Oregon — a case which led a man and a woman together through a means of finding support over the tragic disappearance of a 7-year-old boy at his elementary school on June 4, 2010.

Deciding Over Phone to Have Long-Distance Relationship After Meeting in Person Once

This love story branches off from that of the article Thomas Garris wrote. As the woman he writes about in that touching piece, I feel compelled to share with readers a continuation of our journey which culminated in another unexpected event throughout our time miles apart — meeting up Ardmore, Oklahoma during August 2011. As Thomas wrote, we decided a few months earlier in June to pursue a long-distance relationship. The spontaneous decision to see each other unexpectedly only intensified the bond we had formed over a year’s time. Anyone who has ever doubted long-distance relationships should read our series of articles to come because you can be closer in ways than even Thomas and I believed possible.

Thomas travels often for his type of work, so when we both wound up just 336 miles away from one another while he was on a job in Arkansas and I was in Texas, we wanted to take full advantage of any chance we had to be together. What makes this so paramount, is these specific travel arrangements on both our parts were made before we entered the relationship. I took my young son to visit his other grandmother in Denton, Texas while Thomas was working on some semi-trucks in Springdale, Arkansas. Granted, 336 miles sounds far away to most people, but for two people in a long distance relationship who are typically 2,846 miles apart, this was short by comparison.

We Originally Scratched Idea to Meet

A week prior to my son and I arriving in Denton, Thomas realized the short distance between where he was at and where I was soon heading. Originally, he wanted my input on the idea that he drive to Denton and meet me the night we check in at the hotel. The thought of that was wonderful with the exception I had no clear idea what plans were when I got there. My schedule was pretty full with my son’s relatives in Denton, and as much as I would have loved to see my boyfriend, I couldn’t justify him driving so far just to see me for a limited amount of time.

Something Else Was Holding Us Back

By the time I arrived in Dallas/Ft. Worth the night of August 2, Thomas had been in Arkansas for over a week. He was due to fly back to his home state of Michigan on August 4. When we talked on the phone once I settled at the hotel, we couldn’t stop thinking about how physically near each other we were. When I was in Oregon, I didn’t “feel” the close proximity I would have with Thomas until I actually got to Texas. It was a pretty powerful feeling and we were in the same time zone for once. We were so close, yet so far. Just far enough apart to cause a reasonable amount of hesitation. Something else was holding us back besides the 336-mile distance. Thomas and I worried that the the magic of August 17th would be spoiled in some indescribable way since that was the day he was coming back to my home state of Oregon for a 4-day visit. It was our first time being together since becoming romantically involved. Needless to say, it was planned to be our first kiss after talking by phone for 92 straight days after meeting in person on May 20th. It had been an event so hyped up by the two of us that August 17 was built up, so to speak. We had envisioned our first kiss taking place at the Portland Airport after longing for the special moment that had been carved into our heads.

Another factor we wanted to consider on that special date of August 17th, was visiting Kyron Horman’s Wall of Hope. Our love for the missing boy is a major reason we came together and wanted to pay tribute to him by going to his Wall, sharing our special day in a bittersweet way. His case is always on our minds and we want nothing more than to see him come home. Kyron Horman is our angel, as he is for countless people who follow his case.

How a Little Known Town Called Ardmore Entered the Picture

Thomas and I couldn’t ignore the burning reality that since we spent so much time apart in our long distance relationship, it made sense to see each other. Every phone conversation we have revolves around how much I wish I was where he is or he wishes where I am. At a 336-mile distance — were we willing to waste that? If this could happen, we were going to do it.

I told Thomas that once I knew what plans were the next morning, I’d let him know if we could shoot for driving somewhere to meet the evening of August 3. He had to leave Arkansas on August 4, which made August 3rd the only day that would work for us. When my schedule allowed us to squeeze this opportunity in, Thomas mapped out a portion of the route that would require me to only drive an hour from Denton, Texas. That’s how he came up with Ardmore, Oklahoma, a little town just across the Oklahoma state border.

His drive began around 12 p.m. and mine was just before 5 p.m.. In his words, he would have driven twice as far to spend half the time with me. The idea of seeing Thomas again after several hundred texts, emails, and 3-4 hour phone conversations per day going on 77 or so consecutive days, was an exhilirating thought to finally be with him in person again. The spontaneity and anticipation took on its own life form. We were set on going through with it and there was no turning back once we made up our minds.

Thoughts that Raced Through My Mind As I Drove to Ardmore

So, off I headed straight down I-35 North towards the Oklahoma/Texas border, I had the radio scanning various stations. Sporadically I’d settle on a station that played a particular rock or 80’s song I liked. The entire time all I could think was how massive my heart felt on the way to see my sweetie…the man who gets me and the kind of man I never believed I’d finally meet. I knew they existed, but figured I missed some chance years ago when I was busy making other mistakes in my life. Neither one of us were looking when this whole thing emerged between us. Our texts were more frequent and our emails more in depth after we first met. Something had definitely changed since May 20th after we got together for a casual dinner. All these thoughts kept entering my mind, as they still do today. Our relationship really is a miracle and I’ll never stop marveling at how we found support from each other over the Missing Kyron Horman case. We wish the circumstances had been different than that of the disappearance of an innocent boy. The love we both feel for Kyron is inexplicable. He’s a little boy we never knew, but touched our hearts after his disturbing case dominated media headlines.

Ardmore, Oklahoma: Exit 31-A

On the way to Exit 31-A, Thomas and I continued our normal spree of calling one another, checking in on where we were on the highway. For once we were coming together, not going further apart. The sign for Ardmore surfaced it was just 25 miles away, then 15, until finally, 7. I was growing more nervous, but excited by the minute. Once 31-A was within sight, Thomas rang me up to let me know he was already there. He reminded me of the ramp I would be driving over off the exit as I was actually crossing it. He proceeded to inform me that Rockford was the second light ahead of me, which I clearly saw as he navigated my approach. The song, “Pumped Up Kicks” by the Foster The People was playing in the background. It was sweet and humorous at the same time being on the phone with my man at the last minute. I saw from a distance his silver rental car on a small hill parking lot at a pizza restaurant.

First Kiss in Ardmore, Oklahoma

The butterflies were pretty strong by the time I pulled in at 5:50 p.m.. I swung in and parked two spaces away from Thomas. After I parked and turned off the engine and I turned my head and made eye contact with him at the moment he opened his door. I felt a twinge of shyness come over me, which was crazy given the fact we’ve talked non-stop for months an average of 2 or 3 hours a day. I had to gather myself quickly since the excitement was so intense. I stepped out of the car, we raced towards each other, and wrapped our arms around one another. We hugged tight and it felt so good — like our first hug when we met face-to-face in May, except this was way more. Our long embrace turned into our first real kiss. It was so electric and felt the way I knew it would — tender and natural. We spent a few minutes standing there kissing and gazing into one another’s eyes. We said a few words I don’t remember now. He touched my face softly and uttered, “I love you” and I responded deep into his eyes that I loved him, too.

We held onto to each other tightly until I suggested we get out of the heat. It was unbearably hot. Oklahoma and Texas were experiencing record scorching temperatures that was very unforgiving. We made our way to the backseat of Thomas’ car that was well air-conditioned. He asked me if I wanted to go out and get something to eat, but we only had an hour or so before I had to head back on the road. I had a little anxiety about being an hour away from my son in case his grandma needed me. It was important we didn’t waste time thinking about where to go out so we could take advantage of focusing solely on each other. We spent our time holding each other close and talking about our relationship. We were so happy to be together after months of far distances keeping us apart.

A Coming Together Worth the Drive for Both of Us

After 90 minutes had passed, I looked at my watch and I realized I needed to get back to Denton. Thomas walked me to my car, took the keys, and started the air conditioner before I jumped in. This is just one of the 186 thousand things I love about this man — he’s a gentleman and doesn’t ignore the small details in how to treat a woman. I’ve always wanted a man who had classic manners not seen in the majority of today’s men.

Before I left, Thomas bent down to kiss me a few more times, gently rubbing the side of my face before I had to go. Our eyes locked, making it very hard to put the car in gear. Finally, I backed the car out, left the parking lot and waved at him as I went back to the freeway.

It was almost a feeling of shock as I drove down I-35 back to Denton.The whole 90 minutes we just had kept repeating itself in my head. Being with Thomas was so surreal. He and I had a hard time sleeping that night. We called each other all as we drove back where we started. He had a 5-hour route that took him until about 1 a.m. to return. The coming together was worth the drive for the both of us. We determined between us that nothing would take the magic out of August 17th. If anything, it enhanced the anticipation of his 4-day visit in Oregon even more, which it most certainly did.

Soon to come will be a preview of our book and how our long-distance relationship developed even further after August 17th. Readers will discover how the Missing Kyron Horman case is a key element in our existence as a couple.

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