In a flurry of college students mostly strangers, he wore an olive-colored sweater with a tiny German flag patched to his shoulder. His countenance was easygoing and authentic as we stood across from each other in a large circle, all positioned for a silly mixer game at our opening church social. I noticed everything about him. From his bright laugh to the unique gold watch on his wrist, I was completely consumed in a giddy crush that drew all submissiveness out of my character. At the first opportunity, I ran to my new roommate.
“Claire! Do you see that guy!?”
This was code for “nobody else in Carriage House Apartment 105 is allowed to like him--he's mine." I hoped she’d pass along the message.
After that was out of my system, I hurried back to my spot in the game and analyzed my appearance--I wore a plaid button-down shirt with a navy cardigan. My hair was cut just below my chin, slightly curled at the ends. I hoped he’d notice little me, fresh out of high school and trying to look sophisticated.
I certainly noticed him. Except when completely necessary to look elsewhere, everything about him--his uniquely chiseled ears and nose, the touch of tan in his skin, his genuine smile--kept my glance flickering his way. Imagine my supersized delight when he caught up to Claire and me as we walked home that autumn evening. Introductions and small talk were exchanged in the short distance before we split off to go to our separate apartment complexes—just kitty corner from one another, I noticed.
Small talk was the only fuel I needed to ambitiously allow visions of us swirl through my head. Us hand-in-hand, studying together, laughing, talking, flirting, confiding--a fairytale unfolding.
On a Thursday night nearly a week later, the telephone rang. It was just the music I needed to further encourage my fictional plots because it was HIM. My roommate Jamie handed me the line. Immediately after he and I exchanged “hellos,” my excitement escaped down my free arm and then out my hand in choppy sign language to silently tell her that it was W-I-L-L (number three, pinkie finger, thumb-and-pointer twice)! She sweetly laughed and silently clapped her congratulations, even though neither of us yet knew why he was calling.
Luckily, it was as I had hoped. A little ways into our phone chat, I was invited to an orchestra concert he was required to attend for one of his classes. A happy “I’d love to” slid off my tongue as I subconsciously became a cliche and slid down the wall all tangled up in the telephone cord.
Because I was taking evening classes that first semester, I arranged to meet him outside the concert hall right after my last class. In the minutes leading up to dismissal, I turned all flibbertigibbets--packing my bag early, studying the clock’s second hand, and tapping to name a few things. When English 101 was finally over, I pushed my way through foot traffic and hurried out into the crisp Idaho air to our meeting spot, letting my China blue floral skirt float behind me.
He was nowhere. I went inside and circled the building—still didn’t see him. Crushed, I went back outside and waited a few minutes. I was sure he'd forgotten about me and that it was time to imagine, "The End."