The night of our first date I was a bundle of nerves. I knew it would be fun. I always had fun with B. We'd already discovered how much we enjoyed making out, so there was no need to worry about that. After B had made things official, we had been stealing kisses every chance we got. On the couch while watching a movie. In the kitchen while making tea. And when we weren't -- when we were sitting in class or walking across campus or standing in line waiting for the Boulder Cafe cashiers to ring up our sandwiches, strong hands and soft lips were the only thing I was thinking about.
For dinner that night, we had settled on Tir Na Nog in the Inner Harbor. We spent more time talking than we did eating. Pouring over each other's pasts while small boats swayed in the chilly bay outside. Brown eyes locked on green eyes. After dinner we had some time to kill before the movie, so we started walking around the harbor. Outside the planetarium, we were stopped by a middle aged man in khaki pants and a denim button down shirt with the Maryland Science Center's logo on his pocket.
"Excuse me, did you know tonight is the closest Mars will ever get to the Earth for the next 60,000 years?"
We stopped walking. Was this guy about to give us an impromptu science lesson? "Um. No, actually."
"It is. Which means tonight is the brightest the planet will ever appear to the naked eye."
"Wow," we both replied.
"Would you like to see it?"
B and I exchanged glances and smiled.
"Come in, come in." He excitedly ushered us into the science center with the wave of his arms.
Inside, we were greeted by another khaki-pantsed, denim-shirted employee, and followed a small group of visitors up the stairs, passed replicas of planets in the hallway and twinkling lights above our heads, and into the dim dome. B reached for my hand in the darkness, and whatever the guide was saying about Mars and rotations and gaseous bodies melted away.
Inside the dome was a telescope the size of a small bedroom. I stepped up to the lens, closed one eye, and there was Mars. Huge and red and glowing. I hadn't been to a planetarium since I was about eight, when my dad took me to one near our house to see the moon bigger than I'd ever seen it before. Suddenly, I was as excited as an eight year old, when the world was still huge and new and waiting to be explored. Suddenly, everything was new again.
Back outside, we laughed about how our first date had turned into a scene from a movie. Did that really just happen? Paul Rudd would totally play the role of B. I'm not sure who would play me, but they'd have to be a bombshell, obvi. I'm accepting applications, all you beautiful and talented female actors. There will also be a $200
B and I had been reading "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote in our Creative Non Fiction class, and decided that "Capote" would be the perfect movie to see on our first date, since it was
Neither of us could believe what an amazing night that had turned into. The next week went by quickly, and that Friday we were out again, dancing and drinking good beers at a Karl Denson's Tiny Universe concert at the 8x10 club in Federal Hill.
Whenever I was with B, time bled and the hours passed in minutes. We could pass an entire day with a single conversation, which we had been known to do. We were shocked whenever we caught sight of a clock, and often ended up eating breakfast for dinner.
Things were going better than either of us could have dreamed. I'd never had so much fun with someone before. I'd never felt so at ease. He was charming, and caring, and oh-so-very handsome. I was absolutely, positively head over heels for this boy.
"True love on campus!" our friends would yell at us as we walked across Loyola's campus together, our hands only brushing.
As I was throwing back the covers on my bed Sunday night, my phone rang. It was B.
"Hey. I don't really have an excuse for calling. I was just thinking about you."
I could feel my stomach flip.
"I guess I just wanted to say goodnight. See you in class tomorrow."
The next afternoon was our Creative Non Fiction class. I slid into my seat and waited for B to show up. He was late, and rushed in as Bowden started his lecture. When class ended and students started filing out of the room, B came up to me.
"Hey, um, can we talk?"
What the fuck? What does he want to talk about? Nothing ever good comes out of can we talk. That's a horrible question. Can we talk is exactly how I'd broken up with every single one of my boyfriends before. Don't get crazy. This guy's so into you. It's obvious. Calm down.
We walked to cafe in the center of campus, both got a fountain soda, and sat down at a table tucked away in a corner.
"Listen, I know we haven't been dating for that long, but things have been amazing," B started.
"Yeah. I agree." I was flooded with relief.
"And I was really just thinking about things a lot last night ..." Last night, when he had called me just to tell me goodnight. "And I think we should break up."
Shock smacked me across the face. "What?"
"Listen, things are really good and in a few months you're going to New Zealand and while you're gone I'll be graduating, and then I'm moving back to Massachusetts and then what?"
"I just have a lot going on now. I need to figure a lot of things out. You know?"
"No, honestly, I don't know."
"I just think we shouldn't be together. The timing. It just won't work. There's things ... to figure out ... and I just don't ..."
"Fine. If that's what you think."
"Fine." I pushed my chair back and scooped my books up to my chest.
"So I'll see you soon?" he asked the back of my head. But I didn't turn around.
"What the FUCK" I breathed as I stormed across campus as fast as I could. I slammed the door to our apartment and Mojo, Caitlin, and Emily emerged from their bedrooms as I let loose.
Mojo and Caitlin seemed as dumbfounded as I was.
"What the fuck?" Emily tore in. "What the fuck does he mean he has to figure shit out?" She sneered. "What a shithead. Good thing you never slept with him because god what a DICK. That makes, like ZERO sense. I don't understand how boys can be such assholes. You are going to have so much fun abroad hooking up with all those hot New Zealanders, Bridie, so it doesn't even MATTER."
But it did ...Tweet
... To be continued.
... To be continued.