In February of 2017, then-freshman Jane Sonnichsen paced through the AMC Town Center theatre. She was waiting for her date, then-freshman Lotus West, who was running late. Sonnichsen had a bought a new white dress just for the occasion–she wanted to look her best. West walked in the doors with an excited smile, red rose in hand.
“I’m trying this romance thing,” West said as she handed Sonnichsen the flower.
This casual movie date was just the beginning of Sonnichsen and West’s year long relationship.
West is lesbian, while Sonnichsen is pansexual, meaning she is not limited to genders and doesn’t have a preference on sexual orientation. West came out at the end of first semester freshman year. Sonnichsen began questioning her sexual orientation at the end of eighth grade, and came out at the beginning of freshman year.
The couple first met through a mutual friend, sophomore Elizabeth Frederick. Frederick noticed that the two enjoyed the same things, like their favorite band, Halsey. Frederick introduced them to each other in the East cafeteria by pushing them together and telling them to “be friends.” Sonnichsen likes to say that they did her one better.
After meeting, West and Sonnichsen got to know each other during Journalism 1. West spent the entire semester trying to get Sonnichsen’s attention in any way possible.
“There was one point where I crawled across the ground to grab her ankles,” West said. “It worked. She was scared, she nearly kicked me.”
At school, they have first hour EHAP together, and occasionally hang out before school to do homework in front of Sonnichsen’s locker on the second floor. Both are happy to go along with each others hobbies. Sonnichsen is a photographer, and West is her muse most of the time.
“One time we were hanging out in Hen House, and the light was hitting her perfectly,” Sonnichsen said. “Whenever I see a certain moment like that, she lets me take pictures of her.”
If they aren’t with each other drinking coffee or having a mini photo shoot, the two text and FaceTime to stay in touch. Sonnichsen and her family live far away, so it’s hard for the couple to see each other on weekends. Recently, Sonnichsen was able to meet all of West’s family at West’s birthday dinner. Sonnichsen said she was very nervous about making a good first impression, but quickly was made comfortable by West’s welcoming family.
“They all love her,” West said.“They didn’t even know her before [my birthday party], but they always talk about her.”
Sonnichsen and West have never received any mean or rude reactions when they tell people they are dating. According to West, the two “may as well have a fan club.” Their friends fawn over them, even if they are fighting about an EHAP project, Sonnichsen said. They are both very grateful for their accepting friends and family, but nothing makes them happier than the love they have for each other.
“She is caring in a way that others aren’t.” said Sonnichsen. “She sees things about me that others don’t usually take the time to see. It makes me feel special.”