This Friday is D and my 1 year anniversary. In honor of the day, I decided to share the story of how we met. I wrote the following for my final ENG 200 paper, emulating the writing style of an author, Thomas Pynchon, that we'd read during the semester.
She had to switch seats, class was difficult enough to follow without sitting behind the pumpkin headed man, who seemed to have a strange psychic connection with her, knowing when she was craning her neck to see around the bulbous mass of his head and moving in sync with her, blocking the entire blackboard and the oh so important notes that Professor Tangent was scribbling down. Walking into class she headed for a desk against the wall, far away from where Pumpkin-Head liked to sit, pulling out textbooks, notebooks, reference books, date book, folders, pencils, pens, highlighters, paperclips, stapler and the college elixir of life, anything with a lot of sugar and even more caffeine, it was a necessary evil when it came to these long-winded professors who felt that they had to tell you absolutely everything ever written about their subject, but couldn’t manage to do it in an interesting way.
Professor Tangent ran through the names of the students in the class, glancing up each time, trying to connect names and faces, giving it the old college try you could say. “Kelly Anystudent. Oh, you moved.” His observational abilities amazed her at times, but she only smiled and nodded slightly, doubting that he or Pumpkin-Head would appreciate the humor in the truth of the matter, that one’s voice barely registered to her as coherent speech and the other’s fat head blocked her view of the only written record of important lesson details. Of course, now that she’d moved to a place where she could see Professor Tangent barely touched the chalk, instead droning on and on about place of articulation and tongue placement in the mouth, all of which she imagined going in one ear and out the other, floating through the air, unabsorbed facts off to join their peers in the college graveyard of unlearned information.
“Turn to the person next to you and note the tongue placement as they say buh-buh-buh-guh-guh-guh-wuh-wuh-wuh-luh-luh-muh-muh.”
Looking left, Kelly saw that the Doodler had already paired up with someone, her notebook covered with a strange mixture of notes and drawings, much as if she were an archaeologist, trying to decipher the strange hieroglyphics she’d discovered on a temple wall. Looking right she found herself face to face with a man around her age, one green eye and one blue, David Bowie eyes, Ziggy Stardust singing his songs on the stage while the girls all scream and cheer for him despite his feminine appearance, it just makes him more attractive because it means he’s a manly man who isn’t afraid to get prettied up.
“You go right on ahead.” She said with a grin, propping her chin upon her hand and watching him as he blushed and laughed, nervous and hesitant to make an ass of himself in front of someone he didn’t know. It was a strange introduction to make, two returning students around the same age, making stupid noises at each other, laughing and forgetting the whole point of the exercise, something clicking audibly between the two, heard even over the ridiculous recitations of “buh-wuh-guh” of their fellow classmates, Professor Tangent roaming the desks, pulling tongues out students’ mouths to show their partners the places of articulation that were being used and occasionally the shiny tongue-ring that the other person was sporting.
After class had finished she wandered with her newfound friend Dan Everyguy over to find food and a place to sit down somewhere on campus, launching into conversation and then both diving headfirst into a friendly competition of who was the biggest nerd, even though she really preferred the word dork because it had a more feminine sound and because she could then use her witty and cute mix of adorable and dork, labeling herself as adorkable.
“I knit.” It was best to start with the small stuff and keep building up, it really wasn’t nerdy at all because knitting was a productive hobby and it took skill and patience and dedication to each individual project and even though society immediately connected it with old ladies, rocking chairs, old-maids and being completely boring she found it best to mention right away because she carried some with her everywhere and really it was cool and relaxing and stereotypes annoyed her anyway so he could deal with it or not.
He smiled, thought for a bit, then threw out his first challenge. “I watch Smallville.”
“I film short movies with my friends.”
“I do reenactments at the Renaissance Faire.”
“I own three Star Trek movies.”
He’d trumped her, hands down that was the clincher, Trekki beat Rennie no matter what the circumstances were, the nerd factor was positively through the roof. She was impressed that he’d confessed such a thing to her on their first discussion. Things like that usually came out a week or two after the honeymoon, unpacking boxes together and pulling out items you’d never expect to find, staring at each other with wide and horrified eyes, one holding the entire collection of Xena DVDs, the other with a box full of VHS recordings of every single college football game that has ever played on TV in the past 25 years, both wondering if it’s too late to get out.
Dirty laundry aired between them, the pair ended up at her apartment watching a horror movie, except that they never stopped talking so the movie was mostly background noise so that the nosey roommates in the next room couldn’t follow every word they said, even with the paper-thin walls. It was dark before he finally left, the pair walking to his car and standing in the warm air, laughing and joking long after repeated good byes. Irish good byes he called them which only launched them off into another long discussion which led to several more, both of them babbling on and on, saying things that they’d likely regret the next day when they ran the events over in their head or relayed them to friends or family.
Dan had one foot in his car, the closest they’d gotten to actually saying a real goodbye, when she took the leap and laid it all out on the line, set the cards down on the table, wore her heart on her sleeve, swallowed her pride, bit the bullet, took the bull by the horns, seized the day, charged forward and knocked it out of the park. “So… I could give you my number. Maybe we could hang out over the weekend...”
He looked at her and smiled, settling himself down into the driver’s seat of the car. “Oh, no thanks, I’ve got to work.”
She watched as he pulled away, heart sinking like the Titanic, his casual rejection the iceberg that had punctured the steel resolve she’d built up over the years, each last hope struggling to hang on as it slid into the icy pit of her stomach, drowning slowly and painfully as she turned and headed back inside the apartment, bracing herself up against the inevitable coos of her immature roommates, excited to see her with a boy.