Always on Each Other’s Mind

When Dr. Caitlin Nicholson and Emily Reeves were introduced in 2011 at Dartmouth College, there was, Dr. Nicholson will assure you, a sorority house basement and a variety of the pong drinking games that involved beer. The venue was customary for both of them, as they were students at the college in Hanover, N.H.

And they met, for what it’s worth, but there was little more to it than an introduction.

In 2015, after Dr. Nicholson (left), now 29, had graduated from Dartmouth, and Ms. Reeves, now 27, was about to graduate from the school, the two were introduced again. Dr. Nicholson was by then a medical student at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, and Ms. Reeves was completing her senior year at Dartmouth.

Ms. Reeves had heard much in the way of lore about Dr. Nicholson, as the two had belonged to the same sorority, Epsilon Kappa Theta. (Ms. Reeves joined after Dr. Nicholson had graduated.) Though she had graduated, Dr. Nicholson had returned to her alma mater to attend a sorority late-night wine-and-cheese party.

“When she came to visit, I recognized her immediately and gave her a big hug,” Ms. Reeves said. “She’s really pretty, holds herself really well, obviously is super smart and very fun and is just charismatic.”

“We really just hit it off,” Dr. Nicholson said. “Emily was very witty, she was very funny, she just seemed to have this magnetic air about her that really caught my interest. I wasn’t really focusing on anyone else the rest of the night.”

Dr. Nicholson is now a primary care sports medicine fellow at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, a medical practice in Chicago. She received a medical degree from SUNY Upstate.

Ms. Reeves, who will take Nicholson as her surname, is now a candidate for an M.B.A. at Northwestern, and where she is concentrating in social impact and managing organizations.

When the two met again at the sorority event, it was just after Dr. Nicholson had taken her first medical boards.

Both recall that everyone else basically faded into the background as they talked that evening. The two shared a first kiss that night.

When Dr. Nicholson suggested she might be able to make the five-hour drive again a week later, for a visit, Ms. Reeves didn’t demur. “I was absolutely smitten,” Dr. Nicholson said.

Ms. Reeves, who is a vegetarian, introduced Dr. Nicholson to Indian, Thai and Nepalese food, and Dr. Nicholson persuaded Ms. Reeves to participate in a 10-kilometer run and, more recently, a mini triathlon.

By the holidays of 2015, the couple were in love. “I really couldn’t stop thinking about her,” Dr. Nicholson said.

“I had this realization that hit me like a lightning bolt,” Dr. Nicholson said. “I loved her and I had to tell her.”

Ms. Reeves had had the same realization, at exactly the same time, but Dr. Nicholson, worried that Ms. Reeves might not reciprocate her feelings, didn’t give her any time to reply. “She said it first, smooshed her face in mine, and I was, ‘Wait! I love you too!’” Ms. Reeves said.

On Sept. 5 the two were married in the backyard of Dr. Nicholson’s parents’ house in Ithaca, N.Y. The Rev. Janet M. Shortall, a Unitarian Universalist minister, officiated, with about 40 guests in attendance. The couple had originally planned for 125 guests, until the coronavirus appeared.

They each proposed to the other while they were in Philadelphia for Dr. Nicholson’s residency, in December 2018. This time it was Ms. Reeves who made the first move, surprising Dr. Nicholson along her regular jogging route with a handmade sign saying, “Will you marry me?” Two days later, Dr. Nicholson made her own proposal, amid the holiday display at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa.

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