With the wedding coming up quickly -- 10 weeks to go -- I've been doing some thinking about everything that has happened in between the night B and I had our first date almost four years ago and today. All the things that have changed, and more importantly, the one thing that has stayed the same. You can catch up here.
My birthday had come and gone and still nothing had happened with B. If it hadn't been for the birthday confession, I'd have given up all hope of ever getting anywhere. I started to reason with myself. Maybe it's for the best. After all, in four months I was leaving for New Zealand, where I'd be staying for five months. While I was there, B would be graduating and moving home to Massachusetts, while I still had another year left at Loyola in Baltimore, even after I got home from the other side of the world. Did I really want to hunker down with a guy right before I was about to set out on the adventure of a lifetime?
But he was just so damned handsome. His greenish eyes and sandy brown hair and still slightly tanned skin, even in October. His sturdy arms that I'd still never felt. And we had, like, everything in common. We both laughed at inappropriate times, we were obsessed with all things Wes Anderson, we had a passionate appreciation for music, we were happiest on a beach, we could talk for hours, and we found few things more attractive than humor.
One night while on the phone with my mom I confessed, "He's just great. Everything about him. I've never really met anyone like him. It's really too bad about the timing with New Zealand and graduation and stuff. I swear, if he had met four years from now, he'd absolutely be the guy I would marry."
The night after all the birthday celebrations I was completely partied out. It was Saturday night and instead of heading out for another night at the bars with my friends, I decided to put on a pair of sweatpants and watch a movie because for the love of gah please don't make me take another shot.
B had decided the same. He called me as I was about to settle on the couch. "You're not going out tonight?"
"No, are you?"
"Well, I was just about to start a movie if you want to come over."
"What are you gonna watch?"
I looked at the selection of movies I'd pulled out sprawled in front of me and read him off some of the titles.
"Did you say 'The Notebook?'"
I blushed, a little embarrassed to admit it. "Yeah, I've never seen it, but I'm leaning towards 'Eternal Sunshine' again."
"Oh, well I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I actually liked 'the Notebook.' STOP JUDGING, I have three sisters. And don't tell anyone that."
"Seriously, dude? Well fine, maybe I'll watch it. Do you want to join me?"
"I'm kind of restless actually. I was going to drive to the beach."
"The beach?" The nearest beach to Baltimore had to be about an hour away. And he was leaving at 11 p.m.? B had grown up on the beach though. His town was right on the water in Massachusetts. The closest thing to Dawson's Creek you could get in real life. It was charming and completely fascinating for me, who grew up in the first ring of suburbs outside of Philadelphia and did most of my growing up in a concrete jungle. And as he said, that's where he felt best. It's where he did his thinking and his growing up.
"Yeah. I just kind of wanted to think."
"Do you want some company for the drive?" My hope buoyed. A late night trip to the beach. Could you get more romantic than that?
"No, it's okay. I'm gonna go though. I'll talk to you tomorrow." And like that, the balloon deflated. What the hell did he call me for? What was WRONG with this kid? I tossed my phone to the other end of the couch and pushed play on "The Notebook."
That Monday, we had our Creative Non Fiction class with Bowden and everything was as it always had been since the first day. After class, when we were both back in our apartments on opposite sides of campus, B and I were chatting when he stopped suddenly.
"Hey, listen, can you meet me?" he asked. "I need to talk to you. In person."
"Uhh, sure." We had practically just left each other when class had let out an hour before. "Where?"
"I'll come to you. Let's go to the Evergreen."
I turned to Mojo who was sitting at her desk in our bedroom. "HOLYSHITHE'SCOMINGOVERHEWANTSTOTALKWE'REGOINGTOTHEEVERGREEN."
What came next can only be described as a SQUUUEEEEEEEEEE.
Within ten minutes he was outside my apartment.
"That was fast. Did you run here or something?"
"Uh ... yeah." He put his hands in his pockets and looked down at his feet as we began to walk the few blocks down Coldspring Avenue to the Evergreen Cafe, a worn in coffee shop down the street from Loyola's campus. We chatted along the way, and I did my best to ignore the fact that he had just urgently interrupted our chatting ten minutes before and then run to my apartment.
We both ordered a tea and sat down on one of the worn couches by the front window.
"So listen," he started. "I know starting something with us wouldn't make the most sense right now with New Zealand and graduation, but I don't think that should stop us if we feel something -- like, really feel something -- do you know what I mean?"
I could feel the color rising in my face. Was he really saying this stuff? After all those weeks of possible kisses and late night drinks and sunny lunches and borrowed pens. I looked at his hands as he spoke. They were moving, fiddling, they were strong. "Yeah. I know what you mean."
"So let's try it, yeah?" Wait a second. Was he asking me out? This wasn't how things worked in college. In college, you drank too much, flirted too much, and maybe went home with someone every once and a while. Then when you saw them next, you'd act like it never happened, or smile knowingly, or call them the next time you were on your way home from the bar to meet up late night. Then maybe you'd do it all again. That's how relationships formed, right? Was this kid asking me to be his girlfriend? Before we had even KISSED? What was B doing?
He was being completely charming. He was being classic. He was being respectful and slightly flirtatious and old fashioned and he was sweeping me off my feet.
"Yeah," I said. I could feel my blush starting in my stomach, moving up my chest, and out of my mouth with my response. My stomach flipped and it took all of my effort to not jump out of my seat. I crossed my legs and flitted my foot, a nervous habit.
B looked down at my rapidly moving foot as a smile spread across his entire face. "I like your shoes."
We sat at the Evergreen talking as the sun started to slink behind the buildings before we started back home. "Can I take you out on Friday?" He asked me. "We'll get some dinner and go see that movie we keep talking about." We were studying the book "In Cold Blood" in our Bowden class and the movie "Capote" had just hit theaters.
B walked me to my door and I ran to my bedroom to pull out my favorite short story, one that B said he'd never read, "White Angel" by Michael Cunningham. I handed it to him. "It'll change the way you write."
He tucked the story under his arm. "I'll see you on Friday." His shaggy hair fell over his eyes and he nodded his head to push it aside.
"See you then ..."
... To be continued.