At the very start of Fall semester, I met Channing. I’d heard a lot about this baseball star the previous year in the girl’s locker room before cheer practice. Everything anyone said was enticing—he was the nicest guy, he excelled in school, he was athletic, etc., etc. When I did finally put a hyped-up name to his face in a picture one of the girls had, I knew that if I were ever to meet him, I’d be pining for his attention.
I was sitting on a bench in the religion building waiting for my class to start when he walked passed me that first time. I recognized him right away and followed him with my eyes until he turned around, headed back my direction, and sat down next to me. I played dumb when he introduced himself and faked surprise at all the friends we had in common.
He got my number and we began dating right away. So many things about him quickly captivated me—his darkish skin and deep brown eyes, and my instantly strong feelings for him took me by surprise, especially since I was in touch with Will again.
I can be stubborn, though, and when I told Claire I wasn’t going to sit around hoping for another chance with Will anymore, I guess I really meant it because I was fiercely determined to give my budding relationship with Channing everything I had.
Channing was smart and had ambitions of becoming a doctor one day. He was handsome, nice, and very in love with his mother, all of which magnetized me. (Oh, and I really liked his Jeep.) About a week after meeting him and hanging out quite a bit, he asked me out for Saturday night. I was thrilled that my suspicions of him liking me seemed to be true, and I told him I’d love to.
On Friday night I was surprised to come home to a voicemail from Will telling me he’d just arrived into town and would love to see me Saturday. I definitely wanted to see him—it’d been so long—but I knew it would have to be during the day since I wasn’t going to cancel my much anticipated date with Channing. So, I called him back the next morning and invited him to spend the day boating with Claire and me and a handful of our friends.
Honestly, my mind was bogged with too many thoughts to really enjoy myself on our boating excursion. I didn’t know what Will’s intentions were by calling and wanting to get together. Were we just old pals? Normally I wouldn’t have stressed about answers to these questions; I’d have cancelled all plans to maximize and enjoy any amount of time with Will, but instead I was perplexed by his sudden interest, and nervous that I wouldn’t get home in time to get dolled up for my date with Channing.
I did—just barely—get home in time to take a quick shower before Channing picked me up to go to the drive in. Oddly enough, I actually bumped into Will while Channing led me through a crowd to mingle before the movie started. Will looked like a mirage in the distance as my eyes held on to him for as long as they could before he vanished into the sea of people. It was strange to feel fluttery when Channing later put his arm around me while we camped out in the back of his friend’s truck because despite the excitement of Channing, many thoughts of Will filled me.
Another week flew by and Channing and I continued to spend a lot of time together and even established that we were a pair. On the following Saturday afternoon we were hanging out with my roommates in the living room when the phone rang. Claire handed it to me.
“Hey, Marie, it’s Will.”
“Will! Hi! How are you??”
I excused myself and hurried upstairs to my bedroom. I paced as small talk ensued. My thoughts ran wild. First his emails, then last weekend’s meet up, and now he’s calling me just to talk?
I was beaming.
“…Anyway, the reason I’m calling,” he sounded nervous, “is because I wanted to tell you that I would love for us to date again .(Long pause, disbelief) I feel like the timing is right now.” (Longer pause, absolute shock.)
“And…I love you.”
Wham went my heart. Are you kidding me!? sounded my thoughts.
I froze. One long and miserable year without hardly any interaction with him, and then out of what felt like nowhere, he tells me the words I’d been longing to hear for so long.
Before meeting Channing, I would’ve dropped any guy at the chance to date Will again. But I’d just firmly resolved to be over Will and Channing was the first guy in a long slew of guys that actually felt like potential.
“I’m so sorry, but I’m dating someone I told him, surprised at my own words. “And I really want to see where it goes.”
“I understand,” he said. “Okay. Well, I just wanted you to know.”