Warning: This work has been rated 16+.
I have never been so confused in my life.
See, I am an orderly person. I like to plan ahead, keep organized, and do everything exactly right. There is something supremely satisfying to me, in knowing that I am fully in control of my own life.
This week I have forgotten two papers, been late to class three times, and I completely fucked up half of the professional work I actually managed to get done. I have gotten lost twice in buildings I have traveled through frequently for the last two months, and I cannot focus on freaking anything.
There is something legitimately wrong here.
Is this early onset Alzheimer’s? Did I fall and suffer a concussion? Have I completely lost my mind? Close.
I think that, for the first time in my two decades of life, I might be in love.
No, dear reader, I do not have a touchingly romantic story about a chance meeting with destiny or some gushy shit like the paperback romance novels your mother brings to the beach every summer. He isn’t a prince, not a billionaire, not a tantalizingly ripped dream jock.
My first memory of actually noticing that he existed was on day one of Psych 101. It was my very first college class. He sat at the table beside mine, on my left. He wore snake skin patterned Skull Candy headphones, and had eyes that looked perpetually curious about something. Our professor, in an effort to break the first day ice, posed somewhat controversial questions to us as a group (such as, “Is a person born gay?” or “Should a woman have the ability to choose abortion?”), and then we proceeded to announce our alignment with one side of each cause by walking to the appropriate side of the classroom.
The professor asked for some of our individual thoughts on each question, and all that followed was noncomittal passivity, which was completely boring and unanimous around the room.
And then this guy spoke.
I don’t remember his exact words (though he can generally remember mine) but I pensively recall him opening up to the class about battling with his conflicting inferiority and superiority complexes. He spoke with clarity, intelligence, and ardor. This, after about ten answers of mediocre intent, was like lightning in the dessert.
Stated shortly, he had my attention.
I noticed similar behavior in him as the class wore on. He made clever comments in group discussion, smiled often, and carried himself with an air of uncertainty that drew me in, mostly because it was such a compelling contradiction to the conviction with which he spoke. So for the entire month of January, he became my muse.
The class eventually drew to an end, and our professor was such a caliber of educator that half the class joined forces (and wallets) to plan a gift for her, with me leading the group. She had a thing for coffee tumblers, so we bought one and planned to have the entire class sign it.
At this point I began to realize that there was less than a week left of Psych 101, and I still had not said more than three words to my muse. There had to be a way to get him to turn my way, and I pondered this for one restless night. And then it came to me.
Our professor loved mermaids, and this guy had mentioned in class that he was an artist (much to my excitement – he said that and my ears perked up like a puppy prodded with bacon). Why not ask simply him to draw a mermaid on the tumbler? It was brilliant. Simple, but brilliant.
Moreover, it worked.
Ours was a quick introduction.
“Hey,” I gestured to him quietly after class on the third to last day. “Can I borrow you for a sec?”
And, dear reader, I must confess to you: This boy looked back at me as though I had asked him if I could borrow his bottle of lube. Deer in the headlights doesn't even scratch the surface.
Not feeling so great about myself, and with a pounding heart, I explained the situation. He agreed to draw the mermaid.
And just like that, I was in.
The next day, the gift group met up after class to discuss gift stuff and this guy stayed behind afterward to work on the tumbler. Seeing a chance to make a connection I stayed behind too, hovering over his shoulder, watching him work in fascination. There was something about his hands that was irresistible, and watching him hold a Sharpie and create something beautiful was actually vaguely pornographic for me.
But I was pulled suddenly from this reverie when I remembered that I had two very important meetings on campus that afternoon and since I was new in town, I had no idea where I was going. I was also five minutes late.
After I took a moment to panic, he offered to walk me to these meetings.
Good sign #1.
We chatted in the halls along the way, my meetings went well, and then we said adieu for the evening.
The following day was our final day of psych class, and the day that the gift group had decided to present our tumbler. My guy presented the finished product to me, and my jaw must have hit the literal floor. It was actually gorgeous, and I say that without bias. The boy had skills. It was a simple design featuring the side profile of a shapely mermaid, sitting on jagged rocks. It was drawn in metallic tones of bronze, gold, and black, and displayed a use of negative space that was creative and thoughtful.
There was, then, the organized effort of getting the class of twenty to sign it right under her nose (which I nearly botched, because I was so distracted by him) followed by the teacher flipping out, saying things like “This is the legit nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me! *sniff sniff*” and "Ya'll are the BEST EVA!". We had a little celebratory shin dig that involved buffalo chicken dip, Pringles, and about five boxes of Entemens, and just like that Psych 101 was over.
In a panic I realized, as I watched my muse pack his bag, that he was about to leave that classroom without so much as a backward glance. I would likely never see him again.
So I called after him, explained that I was new and had five classes beginning in about three days, and no idea how to get to any of them.
Now, you and I both know that college campuses have maps. I could absolutely have figured out where to go, if I wanted to.
Maybe he knew that too. But he agreed to show me around.
We ended up spending seven hours together, and seven hours tells you quite a bit about a person.
I learned that he was homeschooled like I was, and his transition into the weird social hierarchy of, well, reality was rough. I learned that he was bullied as a kid, that his moral compass was about five times broader than mine, that he was smarter than I would ever be in my wildest dreams, and he was witty in a way that kept me laughing the whole day.
He was also extremely awkward, I should note. This is yet another contradiction, because on that day I also discovered his absolute chivalry. He opened doors, conducted himself like more of a man than most thirty year olds I know, and generally impressed me as far as his demeanor was concerned. However, he was a gamer geek with limited social experience. So there was that.
This transitioned into a sweet and amusing friendship, which from this side of three months is actually kind of a heady and colorful blur for me. I know we met up just about every day, talking about who knows what (he probably does) and that it was not too long into this that he openly admitted to liking me. Sitting on a bench in a nearly empty campus, he openly called both his attraction to and affection for me, without any ‘player’ vibes or beating around the bush. He put it as such: “You know the old adage of ‘that one girl’ you stare at during class? You were that girl for me.”
So basically, we had been eyeballing each other silently throughout all of Pysch 101.
Somehow, this is the type of situation that always gets scoffed at by those who are cynical and jaded like me, because they seem completely unrealistic and impossible anywhere outside of a TV screen. It is comical to think that this irony actually exists, that the person you've been thinking about thinks about you too, that the person you want actually wants you too. Its hilarious even to think that in the end, dreams might actually come true. Until it happens to you.
Then shit gets real.
Something about his candid interest was both appealing to me and a turn off, at first. Suddenly I had to ask myself: how invested do I want to get in this guy? Knowing full well that there is a definite chance that it won't be forever?
I stumbled around with him for a while, not knowing what to do. I shared with him my reservations, my insecurities, my need to be uncommitted. But in the end, he pulled me in, slowly at first
He once told me, somewhere toward the beginning of our courtship, that 'getting in a girl's pants is easy. Getting into a girl's heart is the challenge.”
And he did exactly that. He got into my heart completely. Still not quite sure how he did it, but it happened.
I have discovered, in this experience, that love is not the simple wondrous thing that Disney would have us believe. Love is confusing. Love is stupid. Love is freaking bipolar.
Love makes you forget an enormously important paper in English, which counts for forty percent of your grade.
But I've discovered something else too.
Love is worth it.
We'll see how this goes. I'm not married to the guy, nor do I plan to be at this point, but I'm not sweating commitment anymore. I am happy with him, and I'm perfectly content to explore where love takes us. Who says we have to plan every twist and turn on the path we walk? Who says we can't just walk and see where the path takes us?
In the end, all that really matters is that we are walking it together.