I realize this is my second memoir style post in a week. Bear with me…I’m trying a writing exercise, as I have realized since starting this blog that my writing could use some work.
For my first taste of freedom, the amount of space I’m given is a little confining. A tall person could stretch their arms out and touch a wall on both sides of the room. But all 100 square feet is mine. The best of both worlds, a single in a suite. I’m a very lucky freshman.
I complain grumpily that my hall mates only stop by so often to play my Nintendo and watch my TV, but deep down I know that isn’t true. And I love that my room is often filled with people. With a single, all I need to do for privacy is shut the door, but the room feels so much smaller with the door closed.
This closet-sized room is my haven, and there I have long and intense conversations late into the night with the boy I love. He lives just across the hall and I pine for him long after it’s reasonable to hope for anything beyond friendship.
The people on the hall become a kind of family and the arrival of someone new upsets the balance. I have noticed, of course, that new guy has transferred here and is hanging out with us a lot, but he has not made an impression on me. And now, he wants to walk me home from a party.
I only go to the damn party because I hear her voice. The boy I loved was spending more and more time with her and there was her voice, unmistakable, drifting in from the hallway. So I go to the overcrowded party and immediately regret it. New guy does not want to stay either.
“This party is over.”
He decides to leave the others behind and he takes me on a convoluted path back to my building. He believes I am drunk. I insist, accurately, that I am sober.
“I don’t think you would be talking to me so friendly if you were sober.”
I had never really spoken to him before this night and the experience is strange, unlike any other, but not bad, and we say good night in the hallway. At my room, there’s a message from a friend, who I had planned on visiting anyway. Ironically, he likes her too and we bond over the fact that our unrequited love interests seem to be requiting each other. However, new guy is still in the hallway and thwarts my attempt to cross the hall.
“Can I talk to you?”
We go to my room and he closes the door behind us, which makes me immediately uncomfortable. The room is silent and dark, with only a soft glow from the street lights outside coming in through the window. He stops me from turning on the light (“I like the dark”) and asks if he can sit next to me on my bed. I stare straight forward, focused on the darkness of my open closet, while he throws out line after line, trying to gauge my reactions.
“You can tell a lot about a person from their room.”
I’m apparently “sophisticated,” I apparently “look really nice that night,” and he apparently “never thought he would be in my room talking to me.” That makes two of us.
He eventually deems me “too smart to play games with.” He says that he’s never asked a girl if he can kiss her before. What a coincidence, I’ve never been kissed before!
Conflicting thoughts flood my mind:
I’m not really attracted to him, although he is attractive, and his confidence (he is two years older) and flattery is, well, flattering.
But he’s not the boy I love.
But the boy I love is falling in love with someone else. And I’m sick of never having been kissed. Maybe I should just say yes and get this thing done.
I look over at him, I’m taking too long to respond. I’m indecisive, yet honest.
“I don’t know.”
He takes that as a yes, and my first kiss results. I’m frozen and can’t make myself kiss him back, yet he persists for what seems like forever. I pull away. Somehow it does not end as awkwardly as it could and when he leaves I understand that the door is still open if I change my mind.
When he is gone, I lie on the floor of my room and cry a little. I’m sorry that I let him in here and I think I already know I am going to settle for him.