Friday, August 7, 2009

True lurve on campus (part 6)

With the wedding coming up quickly -- 7 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.

I know I'm running a little late on this one. And after part 5, people are a little upset with B, like B's mom. With a goal of posting every Friday, it was only a matter of time before my days became a vortex of incoherencies and too much work and one more drink and before I know it I'm lying on my back in my underwear on the kitchen floor and my life is falling apart because I'm more than two weeks late on the next installment of True Lurve on Campus and I'M SORRY, ARA, GAH. As for the rest of you, you can catch up here.

"What the FUCK" I breathed as I stormed across campus. I slammed the door to our apartment and Mojo, Caitlin, and Emily walked out of 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. And I couldn't stop thinking about it. B wanted to continue on with our friendship as if that little blip of blissful happiness and sister mercy the kissing had never happened. I, however, didn't. So I did the only thing I found logical at the time. I manically flip flopped between the sweet, witty, intelligent girl that he had claimed to be so attracted to just days before and the ice bitch.

We'd banter on, making each other laugh, things were so easy, so natural, and then I'd remember what we weren't. I'd cut myself off mid-guffaw. If he doesn't want this, then he's not getting it. He seemed to panic when I turned a cold, stubborn shoulder, and he'd begin to rationalize with me why the timing just couldn't work. I'd make my case -- who cares, let's try it anyway, how can we not, what if -- and when he wouldn't relent, I'd drop a "whatever" and walk away.

Throughout the week I tried to distract myself with school work. I had a 20-page paper due the following week for one of my journalism classes, and a stack of research on my desk covering almost every major element of rock and roll. There was one book I needed though. Most major papers covering the topics of music journalism referred to this one key book, and I needed it.

I walked across the dark campus on my way to the library. The streetlights threw distorted shadows on the bricks below my feet. Autumn darkness, autumn smells, autumn chill. I hurried my pace.

Twenty minutes later I was scanning the library shelves in the 1970s-era school library, thick with the smell of aging book glue, the orange-carpeted floor squeeking beneath my feet, the only sound on the floor besides the quiet murmer from iPod headphones. But the book wasn't where it was supposed to be. I checked with the front desk, and it turns out someone has it out, it's not due back for another two weeks. Feck. I knew I'd seen a copy of that book somewhere recently. Where had I seen it? Mojo's bookshelf? No. Who? Suddenly, I remembered exactly who. It was B. Double feck.

I pulled my cell phone out of my schoolbag.

"Hey!" B sounded jubilant when he picked up the phone.

"Listen, I need this book for a paper and I know you have it and I was wondering if I could just borrow it. I'm at the library now so I can just walk down the street to your apartment and pick it up."

"No, no stay there. I'll come to you. I'll meet you under the lamp right outside."

"Fine."

I zipped my jacket up to my neck as the fall air hit me outside the library's double doors. B was there, standing in the middle of the circle of light thrown by the lamp above his head. His hands were thrust into his pants pockets, his short sleeve shirt rustled in the cool breeze.

He held out the thick book.

"Thanks."

"Okay, no problem. Any time. I'll see you in class." His green eyes searched my eyes, and I had to be the one to look away first.

"Right. See ya."

I tucked the book into my bag and started walking back to my side of campus. I could feel B's eyes boring into the back of my head. Again. As I passed the library I turned around. B was still standing under the tall, black lamppost. He hadn't moved. I shifted the bag on my shoulder, pulled my collar up against the chill, and kept walking.

```````````````````````````````````

The next day I stayed away from Instant Messenger. I spent the entire afternoon working on my paper, scrolling through the passages that B had underlined, intrigued by the sentences that he found most interesting, the little notes he scribbled in the margins, the words he circled. The art of marginalia.

"Ugh, this is pathetic." I slapped the book closed, and walked into the kitchen where the girls were snacking and chatting. I picked up a piece of popcorn and threw it into my mouth. It was dark already. God, I hating losing hours of daylight.

Suddenly there was a frantic knock on the door. We all looked at each other. The only people who would knock on our door in college was the campus police, everyone else just walked right in. The knocking continued. Emily opened our front door as we peered from the kitchen, and there was B. His shaggy hair was even more disheveled than usual and he was out of breath.

"Bridg, can I talk to you?"

"Uhh ..." I could feel all ten of my roommates' eyes on me. No one said a word.

"Please? It's important."

I led him to my bedroom and he shut the door behind us.

"I made a horrible mistake."

"What?" What was WRONG with this kid? It had been less than 24 hours ago that he was adamantly telling me why this could never work.

"Horrible. I know that. We should be together."

"What?"

"Please."

"What about all those things you said? Like New Zealand? And graduation? And the distance?"

"I was wrong. So wrong. I know we can make this work."

He took a step closer to me. I didn't move. I had spent the entire day resigning myself to the fact that we were done. It sucked and it didn't seem fair and it was totally stupid, but we were done.

"Bridg, we'll figure it out as it happens. We can make it work."

As I stood there watching him, I felt like he meant it. I wanted it to work. And if he did too -- and if he really did mean it -- then what was stopping us?

"Okay," I breathed, letting the smile spread across my face.

B took another step forward, put his hand behind my head, his palm resting firmly on my cheek bone, and kissed me ...

... To be continued.

5 comments:

Jackie said...

This is the sweetest little series I have ever read. And the fact I have even read past the first paragraph is a testament to that because I have the shortest attention span ever.

Sole Matters said...

awwwwwww!!!

Ara said...

Friday at work was the longest day ever, I kept refreshing but there was no story.....please try and keep to the schedule.

Bellacantare said...

Whoo!

Nose in a Book said...

Ha! I totally did this to my man twice in our first six months together. I was determined not to get into anything serious until graduation because for one thing I planned to go teach English in China for 6 months at that point. The first time I dumped him it was just a couple of hours before I changed my mind. The second time it was ten days. Ten LONG days of soul-searching. Over 7 years later I figure he was worth sticking with. I've still never been to China though.

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