Makaylia Bailes and Keifer Parker are no strangers to magic. In fact, they have magic to thank for their relationship.
Bailes and Parker met in 2015 when they played a game of pool together with mutual friends in the Cave at ETSU.
“I wanted to date her from about two minutes into meeting her,” said Parker. “That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I knew pretty quickly.”
Bailes’ first impression was a little subtler though.
“I’m very shy around people, so once I got to talk to him a little more I thought he was cool,” she said.
A few weeks later, the pair met again at a pumpkin carving event outside of Carter Hall. The two soon began to interact with each other on social media and became close friends.
“We talked for a really long time,” said Bailes. “And then we would go on nightly walks and just get to know each other.”
In Jan. 2016, Parker and Bailes decided to go with a group of friends to see a magician perform, and when Parker was dared to volunteer to participate, the real magic happened.
“I raised my hand, and I got called up there, and he asked me to name five girls,” said Parker. “So, I named Makaylia and four others, and she ended up being the one that came up.”
Bailes was not thrilled.
“I’m not a person who likes to be on the spot, so I was really angry with him at the time,” said Bailes.
The magician had Parker write a time on a slip of paper and had Bailes set an alarm clock. Then, the magician had Parker read aloud the time he had written down, and it matched the time that Bailes had set on the clock. Then he had Parker and Bailes stand back to back about five feet away from each other. The magician tapped on Parker’s shoulder, but Bailes also felt the tap.
Bailes and Parker both agree that the magic show helped put things into motion for them to begin dating. The two became an official couple two or three weeks after the show and will celebrate their three-year anniversary on Feb. 18.
The couple says they feel much more settled in the relationship now than when it first began, and that they approach everything as a team.
“We collaborate a lot, so if he needs help with homework, he comes to me and vice versa,” said Bailes. “We help each other a lot.”
The couple also participated in Power of Performing arts, or POP Arts, together here at ETSU. POP Arts is a program where community members, including those with special needs, are taught communication skills through performance.
“It was nice being able to do some classes with him, and to be able to work at POP Arts and see a little bit of what he does and have that respect and understanding of his world,” said Bailes.
Three years after the magic show that brought them together and just a few days away from their three-year anniversary, Bailes and Parker remain inseparable.
“We’re almost attached to the hip,” said Bailes. “You’ll find us everywhere together. If we’re not busy doing something, we’re together.”