“We just thought she was kind of crazy because even though we lived in the same neighborhood and had been in school together, we never noticed one another like that before,” Tanisha says.
After graduation, when Tanisha went back to visit, the teacher made the ultimate prediction.
“I ran into her in the school and the first thing that she asked me was, ‘So, are you and Phil dating yet?’ ” Tanisha says.
To Tanisha, this was just a former teacher being weird, and she thought nothing of her suspicions. Unbeknownst to them, that teacher was onto something.
After high school, Phil attended George Washington University and Tanisha went to the University of Michigan. They began talking online once they were states apart, and a platonic friendship quickly bloomed. The summer after freshman year, they hung out nearly every day because they lived just a few houses down from each other, and the first inklings of a real crush began.
Still, they didn’t act on their feelings. They both graduated in 2008, and in January 2009, Tanisha moved to Washington for an internship. That’s where the soon-to-be-couple was reunited and had a first date arranged for them, without them knowing it.
“I was going to the Cherry Blossom Festival with two high school friends of mine so I had invited Phil to come join us, and my friends conveniently decided to sneak out in the middle of the festival, which was totally unplanned on my part,” Tanisha says. “Turns out it was the plan the entire time for them. And I think we were at the Jefferson Memorial at that time, and we just spent the whole day there talking and he ended up coming back and making dinner.”
The next week they talked on the phone every day, and when Tanisha told Phil she was having computer problems, he saw an opportunity to woo her once more.
“He came up with a convenient excuse to come over to help fix it, and it was really sweet because he actually didn’t know what he was doing,” Tanisha says with a laugh.
She was charmed, and he was charmed. The string of convenient excuses and arranged meetings finally turned into a real relationship that night. Soon, Phil moved to the same D.C. street as Tanisha, bringing a proximity just like the one they had growing up in Vermont.
Immediately, the idea of a future together started to form.
“We had been friends for so long, and I think we both wanted to be together for so long that when it finally happened, we knew that that was it,” Tanisha says.
Soon they moved into a small one-bedroom apartment in Rosslyn, where the couple learned how to get through everyday hardships and struggles. It’s also where they discovered they were very different people in terms of decorating.