I remembered how quiet he was that night at the bar. This was in direct contrast to our own boisterousness. We were happy. No, we were elated. This was the eve of Columbus Day, no school tomorrow, and mid term exams were over. All the neighbors we could gather from our apartment complex were together at this bar. Guys, girls, cousins, none of us intimately connected, yet through the trials of college, intimately bonded, we were. Many of this group of friends would be the same ones who would stand up with me at my wedding. Many, many years away.
The quiet one, was on a “date.” Dates were a rarity in college life; too stifling; too limiting. College life demands that you be attachment-free. I couldn’t tell you what she looked like; she must have been quiet too, as I cannot remember who she was.
I remember blue “iced teas” and the bar tender couldn’t get the alcohol content right, erring on the side of abundance. We walked back, minus the quiet one, in one big pack, to one central apartment to pool our dollars together to order pizzas. The night was freezing. We, the girls, pulled our coats as tight around our waists as we could, yet the air was still bitter. The guys never offered to “keep us warm.” We were more like brothers and sisters, and siblings just don’t stretch those boundaries.
Video rentals were still a novelty. This apartment was equipped with a VCR, and one rented VHS tape. We devoured the pizza and watched, and soon we dozed. The owners of the beds in the apartment claimed them; the rest of us, too tired and cold to make it back home, settled on the floor, the sofas, and some slumped over chairs.
We slept like babies. The quiet one, the one with the date, had missed the pizza and the movie. He had work early the next morning and made it back to his bed, alone, long before we arrived. In the early dawn, I lifted my eyes and saw his face as he stood on the landing of the stairs, dressed and groomed, and ready for work. I watched him leave through the kitchen before I drifted back to sleep. Our eyes never met.
It would be a couple of months before I would visit that apartment again. Standing alone in the kitchen with the quiet one, when the phone would ring, and he would tell the girl on the other end that yes, he was seeing someone else.
To be continued. . .
Sunday Scribbling this week is a smorgasbord, pick what you want over the last two years of prompts. I picked, “In The Kitchen.”