What I learned about College Romance

I made it a rule to avoid relationships at university. As arbitrary as it seems, this rule suited me well. I never wanted to mix my education with romance, and I instead outsourced my love life, opting for courtships with yuppies and far-flung childhood friends. Yet, the thing about self-imposed rules, especially those regarding something as mercurial and illogical as love, is that these rules have a way of breaking themselves, despite the best-laid plans of the rule-maker. I never expected my life to shift that day that I slogged through autumnal drizzles on my way to campus, corpses of dried leaves crunching beneath my boots. I was on my way to campus to plow through a bit of paleography and tackle a portion of the heaping dose of required reading. If I were to be graced by outrageous fortune, if I were capable of sufficient caffeine consumption, perhaps I could get ahead. I blinked as flurries of rain clouded my eyes with unwelcome, cold caresses, and hit the 7 button on the wall of the lift. If the fates allowed, I would be blessed with my first full night’s sleep that October. That was simply not to be.

I opened my laptop and the soft, familiar blue light drew me in like a hapless moth. There were others in the study room, but I was determined to don a sort of equine blinder, so as not to let the clicks of their digits on keys, the scratch of pen on loose-leaf, or their tittering conversations distract me. All was going well. I was partially finished reading an essay and had successfully transcribed a bit of half-uncial onto lined paper, when my left ear began to disobey me. I listened to the voice beside me. “Have you read anything about the Zeta cartel? It is ghastly and brutal and fascinating. All that cartel business is just…mental.”

I could not resist. I had to chime in. “Well, my sister was in Brownsville and two Zetas actually tried to pull her. Bought her drinks and tried to pull her. She bolted as soon as she could. I know loads about cartels, since I live, like, on the border.”

“Are you serious?” the boy asked with an undeniably genuine lilt in his voice. So much for finishing my work today. I turned to meet his eyes, and for a flutter of a second, I was rendered wordless. He was positively beautiful to look at. I felt the hint of a smile creep across my face, and I began to banter back and forth with him about cartels, but I was consistently distracted by his shock of shiny black hair that swept across his forehead, the sweet ruddy of his wind-kissed cheeks, his dark green eyes framed by a million black lashes, and a genuine, soft smile. He asked for my number. I gave it to him with not a sliver of hesitation. We met for coffee down the block later on, and talked of films and fantasy and history. We did not talk about cartels, even though that was the feeble excuse we made to justify our meeting. I remember how we drew nearer, ever nearer, as we waxed intellectual, until one night, cloudless and starless, we kissed, lit by naught but misty streetlights and a pale moon. We kissed despite the press of time, we kissed despite the flustered passersby. We kissed, my hands in his rain-slick hair, his hands on my cold ears. We kissed and thought nothing of dissertations, critiques, deadlines, or marks. We kissed on Sloane Street, right by the Gloucester, and kissed long.

Author: Elizabeth Greenwell, Essay-Girls.com

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