A week or so had passed since my ducking incident, and I was grateful not to have seen Miriam's older brother again. I knew I would be awkward again, and I didn't want the slightest trace of my infatuation to be discovered by Meg or Miriam. Brothers, after all, are strictly off limits. I couldn't admit to Meg that in my first semester of college, still wet behind the ears, I had met the love of my life. That would make me no better than the gaggle of giggling girls we liked to roll our eyes at. No, there was nothing to be done but to forget the tall, dark and handsome Master's student, and to apply myself to my own studies.
Firmly resolved to forget him, I was walking to class with
There were two sidewalks to this academic building. One of them was a steeper incline but more direct, and the other went a longer way but was a gentler grade. I usually took the gentle grade, but he was coming down the steep path. I was coming upon the division of the sidewalk and had to make a split-second decision. Take the steep way and cross him, or save my already pounding heart and go the easy way?
Before I'd had time to weigh my options, my feet had already carried me towards him. My path was set, my fate was sealed... I couldn't turn back now and take the other way -- that would be too obvious, even for me.
The sidewalk was most inconvenient; it was long and unbending. When first you spotted someone at the other end, you had the options of either locking eyes the whole uncomfortable way, or you could both pretend to be fascinated by the grass and pavement cracks until right before you met, make brief eye contact with a smile and nod, and then go on your merry way. Whoever designs long straight sidewalks should be shot.
I didn't know which option he had taken, because suddenly I was absolutely captivated by the grass. Truly fascinating stuff. I had noticed, however, that he was wearing the most abominable brown moccasins, black jeans that were a little too fitted, and a tattered threadbare white t-shirt that looked as if it had barely survived the Nixon era. "Oh yay!," I thought, "he does have an area that my woman's touch will soon cure."
Without having looked up I had already calculated, based upon his original speed, exactly where our paths would meet on the sidewalk. My pulse quickened, my legs were cooked spaghetti, my head was in a cloud, and I felt I was suffocating. I think I was, actually, 'cause the path was harder and I hadn't drawn a breath since I'd seen him. After taking a little gasp of air I looked up just before we passed, to give the customary smile, eye contact and nod. It was the courtesy on the campus; you did it to everyone on that sidewalk, whether you knew him or not.
When that moment came, the moment I had anticipated and feared since the bottom of the sidewalk, the moment I had both dreaded and craved, that I had prayed to get through... it was already over.
He hadn't looked at me. He hadn't smiled. He hadn't nodded. He'd looked straight ahead, completely ignoring me and denying my existence.
"Well of all the nerve!!" I scoffed to myself. "What a jerk! And he has terrible fashion at that!"
But I couldn't forget him. "Maybe he hadn't seen me." "Maybe he'd tried to look, smile, and nod while my head was down." "Maybe he was lost in philosophical contemplation!"
This identical scene was repeated once more before I firmly eradicated all thoughts of Miriam's older brother from my mind. He was an unworthy.
At the end of the semester he left the University and I didn't think of him again.
To be continued...