I changed majors in undergrad, lasting only 2 semesters in engineering before moving into the more comfortable liberal arts and sciences. I decided that this change must be paired with alternate student groups to match my shiny new major. So I decided to join the campus chapter of the Sierra Club. It seemed like a nice way to meet some nice environmental people, and I figured we would pick up some litter, encourage recycling and then head back to the dorm to study.
I dragged a friend to the informational meeting on the quad. Always uncomfortable in new situations, I was nervous and she was kind enough to come with me. We were sitting in a circle, a little taken aback at the militant attitude taken by the officers in the club, and a boy walked over and sat down just 2 people to my right.
I glanced at my watch – he was 10 minutes late. I don’t normally like (or even tolerate) tardiness, but he was quite lovely to look at, so I forgave him. I’m sure he had something important going on. He wore long, olive shorts and sneakers. I’m sure there was some nondescript t-shirt, though he often paired the shorts with long-sleeved shirts too. Sitting Indian-style, he brought up Zero Population Growth and his concerns on overpopulation and lack of resources. Um…not the most romantic or sympathetic of topics. Was he anti-baby?
Oh, but look at him. The short, dark hair. The intense hazel eyes covered by glasses. Who knew glasses could be so breathtakingly sexy? He paused to listen to a question, answered it confidently and continued with his original comment. Articulate, at ease, respectful of others. Militant leader moved on to a different topic. I scooted back a little so I could stare without being noticed. My friend, Elle, obligingly moved out of my way. When the meeting ended, we all got up. I continued to watch Cute Boy from SC – he greeted someone, then walked away, moving quickly. I turned to Elle, eyes wide.
“I know.” She said immediately, then settled in to listen as I began to review the list of qualities that had convinced me to tumble into an intense crush. I was shy, but certainly I’d talk to him soon. The group was small, and they met every week. My devotion to environmental causes was complete – I would save the world, but only to get to know this boy.
The problem with Cute Boy from SC was that he was completely unpredictable. And if you’re going to stalk someone, there has to be some known schedule – you try to figure out when and where his classes are so you can put yourself in his path; you dress up to go to casual environmental meetings hoping that he’ll show up. But I didn’t see much of him – a quick glimpse across campus, maybe. Enough to keep my interest sharp, but not enough to appease the most rabid of curiosities. But we’d giggle together – Elle and I shared the story with our respective roommates and I’d make grand plans of how I'd meet him, he’d change his mind about the whole anti-baby thing, and we’d marry and have 2 children. And we’d never throw litter out the window of our hybrid car.
One evening, my roommate, Julie, talked me into attending a Christian group meeting. I normally went to one that met on Wednesday evenings. They told me my grandparents were probably in hell, and I basically told them to head there themselves. So I went to this Friday night group for lack of anything better to do more than a true desire to connect with God. But Cute Boy from SC, who I never saw at SC, was there.
All aflutter, I sat with my roommate, guiding her toward the back so that I could watch him through the meeting. But a friend beckoned her forward and we ended up in the front. Everything went fine – I don’t really remember what we talked about in that dimly-lit room in the basement of one of huge buildings on campus. But near the end, we each got index cards with half of a Bible verse written on them. We were to find our partner – the one who had the other half to make us whole.
Oh! I thought – how absolutely perfect. Cute Boy will certainly find me and discover that I am the other half of him! Nervously, I glanced at my verse – I was the beginning. The group started to mingle, smiling and reading, pointing people in one direction or another as they remembered seeing a card that might match. I turned to see Cute Boy from SC. My heart sped up and my stomach clenched, and he smiled at me briefly before glancing at the card in my hand.
“I’m a beginning too.” He told me, my eyes never leaving his face. “I think you’re over there,” he continued, tipping his head slightly toward the left. I don’t think I said anything, and he quickly turned and walked away. I was breathless – I have absolutely no idea who had the other half of my verse. All I can remember was the moment when our eyes met and he smiled. He was so absolutely perfect, I remember thinking.
The meeting adjourned, and I found Julie to walk to the dorm. “That was him!” I whispered as I started back, almost trotting with excitement.
“Who was? And what are we talking about?” She responded, keeping up but remaining confused. She was starting to smile though, picking up the traces that I was far too excited about my evening.
“Cute Boy from SC! That was him!” I replied – entranced with the thought that there was another place I could look for him. She quickly understood – we had discussed him with the seriousness that only sophomore year in college can bring. She laughed a little – my normal behavior covered a wide range. I could be excited and happy or miserable and depressed, but only rarely do I get giddy. After I described him to her, she nodded in understanding.
“Oh…” She told me. “That’s Gabe. He lives upstairs.”