Going the distance
Benjamin Jackson and Sarah Gorman
Benjamin Jackson and Sarah Gorman, both 20 years old, met a few months ago while staying at a youth homeless shelter in Denver. It has a daytime hangout place for kids called “The Spot"; that’s where they started dating. After being at the shelter for about a month, Sarah decided to move back to California with her mom. Benji made a promise to Sarah that he would go to California, too—and he followed through. He hitchhiked with three West Virginians passing through Denver to make the trip to the Golden State. After hopping from one city to the next in California, Benji finally made it up to Chico. Sarah admitted recently that she didn’t believe Benji would actually attempt this feat of love.
What was the experience of getting to California and meeting up again like?
Benji: I didn’t care if she didn’t believe me. I got my backpack and headed off for downtown. I was spanging for money to get to California. I had $75 in my pocket, but I told them [the West Virginians] I only had $50, so they said, “That’ll be enough for food, so let’s just get in the car and go.” We finally got to Sacramento and they took me to the Greyhound station. I had $25 left in my pocket to get to Chico. Then I called Sarah at 10:30 p.m. the day I arrived.
Sarah: Here’s what he said: “You’ll never guess where I am.” I said, “Um, jail?” He said, “No, I’m at the Greyhound station in downtown Chico.” I was like, “Oh my God!” Then when he said, “I’m on Fourth and Orange,” I was like, Oh shit, he was serious! He was the only one standing there at the station. It was so amazing.
What’s one truth that you know about love?
Sarah: It’s really insanely unpredictable. I love that, though.
Benji: If you love someone, then you have to do what you have to do to prove to them that you love them.
What’s one thing that you wouldn’t do for him and vice versa?
Sarah: Sell my piano. My piano is over 100 years old and it’s gorgeous.
Benji: Move back to Colorado.
Being together only three months, how do you guys support each other?
Sarah: We’re so early in the relationship that we’re still in the distracting-each-other mode. I try to support him quitting smoking, just like he supports me trying to stop saying I’m fat.
Do you have any advice for couples who are struggling with love?
Sarah: Communication. It’s the No. 1 thing. Once you have really solid communication skills, it’s easy to talk to the other person.
Benji: It’s not all about just talking and listening; you’ve actually got to hear and understand what the other person’s saying.