When junior Faith Maddox first saw senior Liam Chewning walk into her poetry class, she noticed him immediately.
“I was like, ‘wow, I like that guy. I don’t know why, but I do,’” Maddox says.
Chewning transferred into Maddox’s poetry class a few weeks into the spring semester of 2020. Chewning says he needed an English credit and had always wanted to learn how to write poetry.
Although Chewning says he initially took the class to learn how to write poetry, he gained much more than a few new writing pieces by the end of the semester. Just as Maddox noticed Chewning when he walked through the door, Maddox immediately grabbed his eye as well.
“I thought she was intimidating,” Chewning says. “I just thought she was older and wise—she seemed very wise.”
Weeks passed without communicating. Maddox says she kept waiting for Chewning to come up and talk to her—gender norms of the guy approaching the girl first were still ingrained in her mind.
“Well if he likes me, he’ll come up to me,” Maddox kept thinking.
Weeks later, on a Tuesday during class, Maddox was fed up. The professor kept forgetting her name, and Maddox got more and more frustrated as class continued. Finally, all of that anger built up, transforming into confidence. She decided it was the day to make her move.
Synchronizing her exit with his, Maddox turned around and said, “‘Hey, your name is Liam right?”
They got to talking about the class and themselves, complimenting each other’s writing styles and class pieces. “Then there was this pause and I was just like, ‘oh, I think she’s hitting on me,” Chewning says. He asked for her Snapchat, they exchanged info and planned to see a production of “As You Like It,” a play his roommate was in that weekend.
Maddox says that the image of Chewning waiting for her outside of his car to pick her up will forever be burned in her memory. “I think I knew that I would probably love him because he was standing out of his car waiting for me,” Maddox says. “There was music playing, it was so romcom-ish.”
On February 27, the couple celebrated their one year anniversary.
Starting a relationship right before a worldwide pandemic has its unique benefits and challenges. For Maddox and Chewning, they feel that the time they spent together strengthened the foundational base for their relationship. Being together constantly while the world was shut down allowed their relationship to go through stages much more rapidly than it most likely would have living normal life.
Both creatives, Chewning, a film major, and Maddox, an English major, have an artistically collaborative relationship, akin to the likes of Joan Didion and John Dunne. Chewning is Maddox’s favorite peer reviewer, and Maddox is often Chewning’s lead actress or script collaborator.
“If I finish a piece, usually the first person I want to read it is Liam,” Maddox says. “His work just inspires me so much. He’s like the most prolific artist that I know and probably the most talented person that I know.”
The qualities that attracted Chewning to Maddox have only grown stronger as he’s learned more about what is behind that seemingly intimidating and wise exterior he saw the first day in class.
“Faith is really driven, really motivated, quite passionate, and intelligent, which is attractive to me,” Chewning says with a slight chuckle.