My Freshman Year: Day 61
Days as a Freshman: 61
“So…” Sasha pulled a chair from an empty table over to the one I was sitting at, holding a paper cup of tea and chewing on a plastic stirring straw. I watched him sit, look down into his cup, chew on the straw, and blink. What was he waiting for?
“Should’ve put honey in this. Green tea sucks without honey.” He looked up and grinned, the straw bending with his smiling lips, his messy brown hair falling into his eyes.
I wanted to freeze everything; take a picture of him just how he was right now with my eyes and keep it in the back of my head. I wanted to find a way to memorize the little dimple on his left cheek. I wanted to come up with an exact recipe for the smell he carried with him; a mixture of fresh deodorant and warm fuzzy dryer sheets. I needed to never forget the way a simple plastic straw could make someone irresistible.
The moment of realization that you’re sitting across from someone who could actually be everything you’ve ever dreamed about is strange. It’s not a big feeling, not a sharp feeling either. It’s mostly just a warm sensation, like someone’s poured bubbly, fizzy water into your limbs and into your chest.
“People make fun of me for drinking tea.” Taking the straw from his mouth, Sasha stirred the liquid in his cup absently, looking up at me and then back down at his hands, smiling in a quieter way. “It’s not cool or something. But I like it.”
And I like you, I thought, holding my own cup between my hands and breathing as carefully as I could. It seemed like a strong exhale could ruin the moment, blowing away the comfortable yet electric energy between us.
“So. Okay.” Sasha took a small sip and then looked up at me. “So here’s the whole thing.”
My breathing hitched. I had no idea what he was going to say. It could be everything or nothing.
“Thanks, by the way, for hanging out with me. I know it’s late…just nice to talk to someone who seems normal.” His hand played with the plastic straw, “so many people here act like…the opposite of real.”
“No problem…” my voice came out softer than I wanted it to. I coughed a little and tried to do my best imitation of an easy-going smile. “It’s nice hanging out with you too. From the first day I met you I…” my voice trailed off. What the hell was I going to say? From the first day I met you I knew you could be my husband? Probably not the best idea. “From the first day I could tell you were a cool person.”
“Well, this is probably a really weird thing to talk about, but I need to get it out to someone who I know I can…trust.”
“Sure, Sasha.” His name sounded odd falling off my tongue. Odd and amazing.
“Yo! Campbell! What the fuck, man?!”
The air between us cracked and shattered as three soccer boys lumbered toward our table. I could feel the shards of missed opportunities hit the back of my neck and cut their way into my heart, shredding through the bubbly warmth and polluting it with something much heavier.
What did they want?