Monday, February 16, 2004

Six years ago today (a continuation)

First, an apology: I wrote the first installment before I posted it here. As in, before I even came online. I did not do that with this one, because I was busy all weekend being in the relationship rather than thinking about its beginning. And now, I am really tired and just want to go to bed, so this is going to be brief* and sucky. Maybe someday I'll expand on it.

Valentine's Day seemed strange that year, having a fiance but no boyfriend (if you know what I mean). I made Will the ugliest (UGLIEST!) Valentine possible, out of pink construction paper and lace and crap. We walked through campus, admiring the fliers our friend Adrain had posted EVERYWHERE. They were photocopies of our marriage license. Yes, the thought of it now makes me ill. I don't know - at the time I just thought the whole thing was hilarious. On the path that led to the library and/or science building (I can't remember which), we spotted a girl carrying loads of balloons. Will doesn't remember any of this, but it is clear as day to me. He did not want the girl to talk to him, so he grabbed me and held me against his chest, bending over me so that it appeared, I suppose, that we were smooching. I felt very odd about the whole thing - who knows, maybe I was beginning to be attracted to him, or maybe I suspected that he was attracted to me.

The next day was a bad day. I went shopping with two friends, and we were harassed by a man who worked at the shop. It's a long story, but I assure you that it was far more of an ordeal than the typical abuse by salespeople in crappy stores. (Er, I do not mean to imply that all salespeople are abusive, just to say that when they are, they are generally not as bad as this guy was.) When the three of us arrived back at campus, we went to a remote location where people did not tend to walk around, and broke bottles. When we'd sufficiantly relieved our stress, we went to Adrian's room. Adrian had kicked his roommate out (well, his roommate had moved) and pushed three or four beds together to make one huge bed. There were several people sprawled about watching the end of 12 Angry Men or Hung Jury or some movie with a name like that. Except it wasn't 12 Angry Men, because I'm fairly certain it was a western. ANYWAY. Will was there, and Robin and Hilary and I joined everyone. The next movie was Event Horizon. If you've seen it, you know that it is absolute shit, but the last 20 minutes alternate between being comical and absolutely terrifying. At some point during the movie I had started leaning on Will's shoulder, as he was sitting in front of me. Toward the end, we both came to the somewhat distressing realization that we were holding hands. When the movie ended we (separately) retreated quickly, hoping no one had noticed.

So. Today (six years ago). When I said Sunday was bad, I meant without Monday for comparison. Monday was one of the worst days of my life. I lived in North, in Randall Hall. There was a hall phone, a door down from mine, for all incoming calls. It started ringing at about eight in the morning - quite unusual. I was prone to ignoring the phone if I felt the hour was unreasonable, but something made me answer it. It was my friend Emily from back home, in hysterical tears. Before I'd left for Antioch I'd been a nanny to two splendid children. That fall, their mother had given birth to twins, David and Henry, who I had met over Christmas break. Emily occasionally babysat, and was best friends with my replacement, another good friend, Lara. They had just been woken up by a call from Melanie (the mom). Henry had died of SIDS overnight. They had just returned from the hospital (and Paul, the father, who found Henry, from the police station, which is procedure but MY GOD, how awful). Melanie was a wreck. Emily was a wreck. And I went into shock. There was a table sitting outside my door, and half an hour later two of my hallmates came out of their rooms and found me just sitting on it, not speaking. They got me to tell them the basic jist of what had happened, and practically dragged me to the cafeteria, wisely deciding that I needed at the very least some juice, and definitely to not be sitting on the table anymore. Liz and Tyler? I don't know where you are, but thanks.

I spent the rest of the day in a daze. I skipped my afternoon class (aikido), but had to go to my evening Lit class, because the professor only allowed three absences. I had already missed one class because I'd fallen asleep with a migraine, and I thought I'd probably have to miss at least one more to go back to New York. I pulled her aside before class and explained, fibbing that it was a relative (he might as well have been, as I considered his siblings my children), and I left at break time. Back in Randall, Hilary and Robin were painting their nails (it's amazing how one remembers the inane details) and were very solicitous - how did I feel, was I all right, et cetera. I couldn't take any of that, and told them I was going for a walk. I told Hil not to worry if I didn't come back (her room was right next to mine and she was the RA), as I might stay at Adrian's so as not to be alone.

This was a patent falsehood, though I am not certain if I knew that when I said it.

From the back door of my dormitory, Adrian's place was to the right. I took a sharp left and walked directly to West, where I found Will in his neighbor Jake's room. A girl named Lela was also there, and offered me some Bushmills. I had purposely avoided alcohol all day, but accepted a sip to help me calm down. Will asked me into his room, and I went. It should be noted that he was terrifically drunk. He showed me some new lyrics that he and Cliff had written to "Birdhouse in Your Soul," which had me rolling on the floor laughing. Alas, sadness set in again. Though I would deny it with my dying breath if anyone else said it, Will is not the smartest guy on earth when he's had a few too many, and he decided that the best way to cheer me up would be to kiss me. I slapped him.

Yes, I did.

From there things get fuzzy. I believe he announced that he needed to introduce me to his next-door neighbor Rachael; we knocked on her door and he introduced me as his fiance, and gave me a quick smooch. All I know for sure is that at some point after this, I was quite agreeable about the kissing stuff. I even slept in his bed - but it should be noted that I never undressed. I just sort of fell asleep, though I had, of course, every intention of staying. Will was an utter gentleman, and even wore sweatpants to sleep in, which must have been wretchedly uncomfortable in that over-heated room.

And that has you all up-to-date until about five a.m. on the 17th.

to be month.

*Did I say brief? Ha ha ha ha ha.