After weeks—like, literally, weeks—of waiting, the cute boy on your hall asks you out.
You know the one I mean. You’ve had your eye on him since that hall program during orientation week. The one with all of the icebreakers and free snacks? But, more importantly, the one where you found out that he, too, is majoring in BME, and his favorite band is, too, the Black Keys.
It’s Chi Friday, of course. You stand there, holding on to your Genesee can, while he talks to you about books and the meaning of life. And then, his arm over your head as you lean against the wall, he asks you, “So uh, do you want to like, eat with me this Friday? Maybe see a movie?”
Beaming, you accept his offer. Danforth and Hoyt it is.
On the way back, he puts his arm around you as you walk over the bridge together. He hugs you goodbye, after walking you to your door, all the way at the end of the hall. You catch a quick glance at him as he steps four doors down and disappears into his room. You wonder if he is the one. The one your kids will tell stories about…“My mom and dad met their freshman year in college. They’ve been inseparable ever since.” You go to sleep with butterflies in your stomach.
Saturday night, you carefully plan out what time you leave, so you don’t run the risk of bumping into anyone from your floor. You know that girl on Long has eyes for him. You wear that red lip, classic look that he likes. And, in his leather jacket, he’s got that James-Dean daydream look in his eye.
As you’re walking to dinner, you realize, Danforth begs the question: Do we wait in the same lines, or different ones? Do we pick a table first and put our stuff down, or do we keep our backpacks on while we browse? Before you can consider any more options, you can already see the Rochester skyline in the distance. You’re almost inside. What is he talking about? Were you listening?
“Swipes, please,” he says. You’re in. He puts his arm around your waist, but your backpack is still on, so all you can feel is the bag hitting against him as you walk. You veer off to one of the red booths by the entrance and put your stuff down, his arm kind of flailing away. But hopefully he finds your initiative attractive. You walk with him to the first station. Then, the next. He picks up some weird noodle thing, you pick up some weird noodle thing. He grabs a soft drink, you grab a soft drink.
At Hoyt, he realizes he forgot his wallet, so you have to pay for both tickets. It’s fine though, you say. You can tell this interaction makes the UR Cinema Group person uncomfortable. You hand her your six dollars.
The movie has lots of naked people in it, which is a bit awkward for you. You wonder what he’s thinking. You look over, but he seems un-phased. He’s so worldly, you think. You keep your hand on your leg closest to him, in case he wants to hold it, or something. His arms stay crossed most of the time.
That’s it, you think. He’s over me. I’ve ruined things. Was it something I said? Do I smell weird? I’ll be alone forever.
And, just as you’re spiraling into despair, he puts his arm around you. You lean into him, and all is right with the world. But wait, you think, after ten (beautiful) minutes. You’re stuck. You’re frozen. You’re starting to cramp up, you want to stretch out, but his arm is there, and if you make it not there, will he think you don’t like him? Alas, cruel Hoyt, and your lecture-style desk-seats that dig into the sides of young lovers!
Roadblocks aside, things blossom expediently. Week one, he meets you in the library every night. By week two, he’s sleeping in your bed every night. You relish the bitter stares from your roommate, who seems not to like waking up to bae every morning. Week three, you’re wearing his sweatshirts.
But, week four, something changes. And, as you grow more distant, so does he. His sweatshirts start to smell like wet towels, and he rolls around and sighs too much when you’re trying to fall sleep. He doesn’t offer to use his Declining for your Starbucks as often, and when you ask him if he wants to go to Danforth for dinner, he says he already ate at Douglass. And, when things end, it is not with tears, but a distance that can only come from knowing someone for those long, fulfilling four weeks.
But, it’s fine. There’s an older guy in one of your classes who wears cool glasses. You tell him you like his Arctic Monkeys shirt.
There’s hope for you yet.
McAdams is a member of the class of 2017.