This was it.
The night of graduation. Four years complete. The party had long since started.
I’d taken ecstasy and was well into hours of drinking, running from party to party offering intensely felt goodbyes and impassioned promises of staying in touch forever to pretty much everyone I ran into.
Emotions were high, and so was I.
It was at the fountain, as Deborah and I danced around the falling waters, that he passed by. I realized in that moment that I had been looking for him all night, or perhaps just my body had.
We both yelled out “Heeeeey!!!!” as he passed by, and then I impulsively said, “I’ve been looking for you!”
“So have I!” he stopped and said.
“Let’s meet up!” I said.
“Yeah! Let’s meet up! Your room, midnight,” he suggested.
“OK!” I gleefully yelled at his back as he ran on with his fraggle (gaggle of frat brothers.)
My high ratcheted to interstellar levels.
I’d been in love with him all semester, since the choir ski trip. He finally noticed me one day on the bus when I made everyone laugh by reading a cheap romance novel aloud in a sexy voice.
After that he started leaving me hand drawn cartoons and notes, and then we started meeting up and hanging out here and there.
We never went on dates, exactly. My sorority and his fraternity did not mix, so it was a bit like the Capulet – Montague situation going on. I guess you could say we kept in on the DL, though that phrase was yet to be coined. I was so bedazzled by him that I didn’t even notice that it was happening.
He was just the most amazing guy. I had a huge physical attraction to him and he made me laugh so hard. He was creative and smart and I just got weak in the knees around him.
Though we’d fooled around, we’d never taken to the next level. Not that I hadn’t wanted to.
But I was not super comfortable with my sexuality then. I still felt conflicted about really owning it (all that inherited and social conditioning that a “good girl” didn’t admit to liking and wanting or even having sex.) So I tended to sort of deny my own sexuality while at the same time pursuing it.
But I knew one thing in that moment that night when I ran into him at the fountain. I wanted that boy.
And now here it was, the last night of school. My last chance.
After the fountain, the goodbye tour continued, as did my drinking and drugging. I had no purse, no watch, as I had long ago learned that I would lose anything not on my person. I remember riding on the back of somebody’s green moped through the night to hit all the spots, laughing. I was giddy with anticipation, and hazy with inebriation. In the back of my mind, all I could think about was meeting up with him.
At a certain point I suddenly snapped to attention. What time was it?! It felt late.
I grabbed the nearest wrist and strained to read the time. The big hand was on the 6, and the little hand…fuck! It was 1:30 AM! Noooooo! My last chance! And I missed it?!
I starting running at full speed across campus. Maybe he got caught up too. Maybe he’d be there, sketching funny drawings of me dancing around the fountain,
When I finally reached my dorm room, my heart sank into my gut: it was dark. I fumbled for the key under the mat and entered the room, tears welling in my eyes. I blew it.
Why had I played it safe all semester? Why had I passively let him call the shots? I really liked him. I really wanted him. I may never meet another guy like him again. Damn my stupid Protestant good girl upbringing. I’d missed yet another opportunity to really live.
I closed the door, and as I turned, my body became aware of another body in the room.
My eyes, adjusting to the darkness, began to discern a shape in my bed.
“Cal? Is that you?” I asked, my heart doing flip flops in my chest and my mind, reaching for possibilities. Maybe my roommate had gotten into the wrong bed…was that Kim? No, she was already gone. Maybe…hope against hope….
“Yeah. What took you so long?” That voice. He was there. In my bed. Thank you Jesus.
In what felt like the most bodacious move of my life, I slipped my dress off and stood there, in my naked desire.
I whispered out into the darkness, “I want to make love to you. I know we’ll never see each other again, but I just really want to. I just want this one night. OK?”
I risked humiliation in his rejection or total disappointment in his gentlemanly restraint.
I risked my imagined-but-until-that-moment-still-crucial-to-my-self-delusional-upbringing-repressed-sense-of-my reputation.
I risked my own potentially life-long regret in the light of day.
I took a deep breath, and I think in that very moment, I changed in some very crucial way. I already knew on some level that no matter his answer, it was my asking that would always matter.
I waited through seconds of heart-aching agony and anticipation for him to reply.
“Yeah, sure, me too,” he whispered back.
My entire body sighed in relief, and then vibrated in pure desire.
I walked the few steps over to the bed where he lay, looked down at his face in the moonlight, and began to descend.