Tiny love stories

There’s a lot of love to go around. Graphic by Reece Butler.

For the second year in a row, the Collegian asked the Butler community to share their “tiny love stories” in the vein of the New York Times series of the same name. Spanning from romantic love to self-love, from familial love to platonic love, from love for a pet to love for a hobby, these love stories — all in 100 words or shorter — are sure to tug at even the toughest of heartstrings. 

The depth of grief is only equivalent to the depth of love 

I have only really known life with my dog, Saki, in it — this little creature’s been my biggest source of joy since I was 9. Last Wednesday, I woke up to a call from my mom saying it was time to say goodbye to him. As I attempt to face a world without my sweet Saki, I’m reminded of the love I was so lucky to give and receive from this little guy. I remind myself that the depth of grief I have is only equivalent to the depth of love that existed — and boy will he forever be loved. — ISABELLA ERNSBERGER, MARKETING MANAGER 

In his favorite spot. Photo by Isabella Ernsberger

Opposites attract

Whether I’m feeling overwhelmed or not, Cooper meets me where I’m at. He always knows when I need a hug and makes a safe space for me to feel my feelings. We are opposites in most aspects of our lives — he likes his coffee black, and I like my strawberry refreshers. He’s an engineer, and I’m a dancer. He likes to cook, and I like to watch him cook. However, if there’s one thing that two double majors don’t have, it’s time. And the time we have to spare, we spend on each other. And I love him for that. — HANNAH BARONE, PHOTOGRAPHER 

Hugs at formal! Photo by Hannah Barone

Mami Bertha 

As she lies in bed, we each hold her hands. My mom grasps onto her right one, so tight it seems that letting go would burn. My sister takes her left pinky. I hold her thumb. In that room, there are three generations of a bloodline. Love stories that are so powerful they created new ones. We tell tales of her life. She smiles. I know in my heart this could be one of the last conversations we will have. I find myself holding tighter. — DIANA FERNANDEZ CAUMOL, JUNIOR ART + DESIGN AND PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR 

One week before her stroke, Mami Bertha arrived home. Photo courtesy of Diana Fernandez Caumol

Making this Waffle House a Waffle Home 

From the time I began my obsession with Waffle House, no one has truly wanted to go there to eat with me. When I asked Michael if he wanted to go on July 8, his eyes lit up, and suddenly we were in the car headed to the nearest one. My order was the waffle with chocolate chips. His was the all-star special with scrambled eggs and grits. Later that day, when he asked if I would be his girlfriend, my eyes lit up, and I crashed into him. We’ve been together ever since. — ALLIE MCKIBBEN, NEWS CO-EDITOR 

You’re the best dance partner. Photo courtesy of Louise Wozniak

Don’t stop believin’ 

My senior year of high school, I auditioned for our school’s “Mamma Mia!”. Scanning through the cast list sans my name, my eyes leaked. It reaffirmed my decision to not pursue music post-graduation; if I couldn’t make it among the Olivias and Katelyns in my hometown, how could I make it in the real world made up of nothing but Olivias and Katelyns? Five years later, I’m performing songs from Mamma Mia — and beyond — every weekend. Maybe I wasn’t right for my high school’s stage, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t another stage out there that was right for me. — MAE-MAE HAN, MANAGING EDITOR 

ABBA said it best: “Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing.” Photo courtesy of Alanna Wu. 

My forever best friend 

Since the very day I was born — when he said my name and I looked straight into his eyes at the ripe age of 2 hours old — I knew my dad would be my best friend. Whether it’s going across the country for college, or yet another hair color I try, my dad will always support and encourage me no matter what. When I get that classic question of “who’s your hero,” I will never not answer with Trent Wood. He’s not only my dad, but he’s also my biggest fan, my favorite person and my forever best friend. — MADDIE WOOD, OPINION CO-EDITOR 

Us at one of our favorite places in the world. Photo courtesy of Trent Wood

Right on track 

You know that one person that you saw every day in the halls since fifth grade, but just never actually knew? With the help of being on the same track team, that person for me ended up being my person. After the first date, I knew I had to introduce Daley to everyone in my family, and after the third, I was confidently in love. Nearly two years later and that love continues to grow every day for the girl I saw in the halls my entire life. — DAVID JACOBS, STAFF REPORTER 

Daley and I at the Newfields Christmas lights. Photo by David Jacobs

Baby Sister 

When I was little, I had an American Girl doll that I named “Baby Sister.” I loved the idea of filling that role of big sister. I remember dressing up in a brand-new yellow dress from JCPenney to go to the hospital and meet you. I knew that you were going to hold such a big piece of my heart. Watching you grow into the beautiful young woman you are becoming today has been more special than words could ever describe. Maya Kalani, you truly are heaven-sent: thank you for letting me be your big sister. I love you! — ANNA GRITZENBACH, OPINION COLUMNIST 

A heaven-sent sister. Photo courtesy of Shannon Gritzenbach

You’re metoprol-all that I need. Are you UpToDate me? 

Laura and I met in pharmacy school when she interviewed me to be my class’s representative on the curriculum committee. Thankfully she picked me, and when I saw her square dancing a few days later at Relay for Life, I knew she was someone special. We started dating, and the rest is history. She has helped me realize the most important thing I’ve ever learned: you can only love someone else as much as you love yourself. Even though it’s been almost 20 years since that interview, I have never been more in love with her than I am now. — ANDY SCHMELZ, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF PHARMACY PRACTICE 

Drs. Andy and Laura Schmelz on their yearly trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Photo courtesy of Andy Schmelz

What happens when you roll a natural 20 for romance? 

When I met Anthony my first year of high school, I knew without a doubt that I had just made a lifelong friend. Lucky for me, the chemistry we developed at Dungeons and Dragons Club blossomed into the romantic relationship we have now, and I couldn’t be happier. From laughter to tears and everything in between, Ani has seen me through it all. Even when I’m an ocean away — greetings from the UK!! — I can feel him here with me every day in my morning coffee and the birds outside my window. No distance is too wide for us, baby! — BEE PILARZ, NEWS CO-EDITOR 

Concerts with my love are always the best dates. Photo by Bee Pilarz

What I’ve been looking for 

I’ve never been fast at making friends, but the moment I met Lauren, we became attached at the hip. Within a few days of meeting her, I slept over in her dorm to watch the “High School Musical” movies. After that, I practically became her secondary roommate, an honorary “ResCo rat.” Drawn first to her humor, I soon got to know her selflessness, attentiveness and questionable taste in men. She loves unconditionally, and it’s so easy to love her back. College would not be the same without my “woman,” so Lauren, thank you for making Butler a home to me. — SARAH PAWLOWSKI, SOPHOMORE POLITICAL SCIENCE AND STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION DOUBLE MAJOR 

Lauren and I freshman year! Photo courtesy of Sarah Pawlowski

Cold hands, warm hearts 

I met Will in January of 2022 and had only been on five dates when I asked to spend Valentine’s Day together. He agreed, and years later we recounted how we got Sub Zero Ice Cream in the sub-zero weather. That night, he wrapped me in a blanket and held me in his arms while watching “Kitchen Nightmares”. I felt so loved, and I remember that was the night I fell in love with him. Two years later, we are planning to get married and live our lives the way we were meant to — loving each other forever and always. — LAUREN VARHOL, SENIOR ENGLISH MAJOR 

Will and I call this photo “The Classic”. Thanks to Will’s mom for capturing us blissfully in the moment! Photo courtesy of Lauren Varhol

Sent from above 

I stopped by the Reilly Room on Valentine’s Day in 2023 and found, on a fluke, what felt like a dog that was sent to me from my dogs in doggy heaven. She was spotted like a cow and terrorized all the other dogs and people in the room. The next day, I showed up two hours before opening to be the first to call her mine. It’s almost been a year, and I’ve cherished and enjoyed every moment I’ve spoiled this little girl. I adore you, Cairo, my little terror. Thank you so much for coming into my life. — CASSANDRA STEC, SENIOR ENGLISH AND MECHANICAL ENGINEERING DOUBLE MAJOR 

Always happy to take a road trip. Photo courtesy of Cassandra Stec

We had chemistry in biology 

I met my partner, Mackenzie Sizemore, in 10th grade biology, and our teacher almost certainly could have predicted our little love story. We fell in love over Biggby coffee and bagel sandwiches, eventually coming to Butler together after beginning to date the summer before our first year here. — LILLIAN AUSTIN, SOPHOMORE SOCIOLOGY-PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR 

Chicago 2023 for Stevie Nicks concert. Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Sizemore

He was a sk8er boi 

We lived on the same floor in ResCo. I had a crush on one of her roommates, but she and I kicked it off. We became absolute best friends, and I taught her how to ride a longboard. One time she crashed, and I took care of her with my little knowledge of medicine. Slowly but surely, I fell in love. I taught her the tradition of making wishes with pennies, and I wished — secretly — for us to be together. Since then, we’ve been in love for over two years, and she’s the light in my life. She’s my Daisy! — MAVERICK ALLEN, JUNIOR P1 PHARMACY MAJOR 

Alyssa and I celebrating one year at a Christmas light show in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Alyssa Kuphal

I always come Bach to you 

Harrison and I started dating after being friends in our high school marching band; he plays the trumpet, and I play the piccolo. After two years of long distance at separate schools with COVID in the mix, full of many long drives back and forth between Indy and Milwaukee and hours of FaceTime calls, he transferred to join me here. We are both in the Butler University Basketball Band now and have been together for four years this February! — JULIA ROWE, JUNIOR ECONOMICS MAJOR 

Yay band, go Dawgs! Photo courtesy of Julia Rowe

It’s the little things 

Everyone who knows me knows that I have one of the worst sleep schedules in the world. I’ll trek home late at night from Holcomb Library and be welcomed by little Post-it notes covering my desk reminding me that “I am doing amazing,” or that I should “try to get a little sleep tonight,” or just giving me a simple “I love you.” These notes I will never let go of or throw away, and I cannot thank Megan and Kaylee enough for making me smile when I don’t have enough energy to do it naturally. I love you! — RYANN BAHNLINE, NEWS CO-EDITOR 

You guys rock. Photo by Ryann Bahnline

I ain’t never seen two pretty best friends … until now 

As women, sometimes we spend our whole lives waiting for that group of girlfriends. Whether you’re looking for it or not, the pressure always seems to be there. I’ve been lucky to have many beautiful friendships, but nothing compares to the space in my heart for these girls. Bre and Molly, I’ve happily taken the best parts of both of you and molded them into myself. You make every one of my days better, brighter and more fun. No matter how much of a hopeless romantic I remain, nothing will ever quite compare to the love I have for you. — ERIKA KOVACH, STAFF REPORTER 

Two pretty best friends! Photo by Erika Kovach

From strangers to best friends to partners 

Sydney and I entered fifth grade as total strangers. By the time we walked out, it was like I had never known life without them. We’ve been best friends ever since — and, as a fun little addition, it seems we both realized we were in love with each other halfway through high school, though we’d need years more to grapple with it. I had so much internalized homophobia and fought my feelings as hard as I could — but it’s quite impossible to not love them. They have turned my whole life upside down. Thank God! I love you, Syd! — KAY HYMAN, SENIOR THEATRE MAJOR 

Us exploring Central Park! Syd is the cool cat on the left. I took this selfie, and I think I did a fine job of it other than how much our faces are shrouded in darkness. Photo courtesy of Kay Hyman

Major friendship 

Making friends has never been easy for me. So, when I met Hannah, Julia and Maya during marching band my freshman year, I never could have imagined the close relationships I would have with them. They are the greatest support system I could ever ask for, supporting me through all the good and bad times that come with having a chronic illness and just being a person in general. I am beyond lucky and grateful to call these wonderful folks my friends and roommates. — ELIZABETH REED, JUNIOR FINANCE MAJOR 

Us at Homecoming 2023. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Reed

Capturing my heart 

I have been developing a love for taking pictures since I started college. The first time I started to use cameras seriously was during my freshman year. During that time, I shot a few events, both on campus and off campus. Last summer, I thought of ways to become more involved with photography at school. Before I knew it, I worked as a photographer for the school newspaper. I have shot various sporting events, club activities and even headshots on campus. I could never be more thankful for cameras and the opportunities the Collegian has brought to me. — JONATHAN WANG, PHOTOGRAPHER 

Me with my cameras at the Dec. 15, 2023 Butler basketball game versus Saginaw Valley State. Photo by Elle Rotter

I love you beary much 

We have been best friends for almost 12 years now. She is my rock and my soulmate. She is my favorite person to beat at Mario Kart. She never makes me mad or judges me for anything stupid I do. She makes the best cookies too. If I lost everyone but her, I know I would be okay. — CAITLYN SNAVELY, FIRST-YEAR ANTHROPOLOGY MAJOR 

Abby and I kissing a bear on a family trip to Tennessee last summer! Photo courtesy of Caitlyn Snavely.


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