Saturday, August 1, 2009


There is a 98.9 percent chance that I'll be starting graduate school at NYU in early September. The 1.1 percent uncertainty is due to the fact that I still haven’t heard from a couple of schools - one of which I’ve wanted to attend my whole life, but was brutally rejected (well, just rejected, but it felt brutal at the time) when I applied during high school. Regardless, I’m leaving the state, and therefore not looking to get caught up in a romantic relationship here in California. Yet - quite possibly as a result of this detached attitude - I’ve been attracting quite a bit of male attention.

During April and May, I was so busy balancing work with studying for the GREs and compiling my grad school applications, I barely had time to notice that I was living with my parents and had absolutely no trace of a social life. But once the GREs were over and the applications were submitted, I realized that I was restless and ready for some fun. So, I started spending most weekends with Girl Roommate in my old stomping grounds.

On Fourth of July, Girl Roommate threw a party at her new apartment. For most of the day, I was bouncing around, playing flip cup, talking to my old friends and making new friends. I was having so much fun in my temporary role as a social butterfly, I barely noticed that one of Girl Roommate’s new friends, Michigan, was following me around.

In fact, I didn’t really notice him at all until he asked me if there was any way to remove the bright red fruit punch stain from the front of his white t-shirt, without the help of a stain remover or a washing machine (Girl Roommate has neither). Always up for a challenge, I told him that our best bet was to soak the stain in club soda, and put the shirt in a plastic shopping bag to keep it moist until he could get it to a washing machine. Of course, I had NO IDEA if that would actually work, but at the time, I felt like I could give Martha Stewart a run for her money.

Clearly impressed with my stain-removal expertise, Michigan asked if he could take me to dinner sometime, you know, “as a thank you.” Partially due to the fact that after an afternoon of flip cup, I probably would have accepted a dinner date with Mr. Rogers, I agreed. Bonded by our shared domestic emergency, Michigan and I hung out for the rest of the day…and for the rest of the weekend. We never went to dinner, but we did take a romantic walk on the pier, have a private dance party in his kitchen (he is a terrible dancer, but incredibly endearing) and a handful of get-to-know-you conversations about our family and friends.

Michigan is easy to like - he’s sincere, considerate, friendly, good-natured. And masculine. While he isn’t masculine in an obvious way, like J-Dogg, he’s masculine in way that makes me feel very comfortable being feminine. Not only is he attentive, he’s always trying to anticipate my needs. That first weekend, he never missed a chance to help me walk up or down stairs when I insisted on wearing my super-cute, but not-so-practical wedges. He endured hours of back bumps and shoulder jabs after inserting himself between me and a drunkenly rowdy crowd while we waited for Girl Roommate to be ready to go home. He was receptive and respectful when I told him that I needed to wait until I knew him better before being physically intimate (something shockingly uncommon in our town). Surprisingly, he did all this without making me feel the least bit smothered. His manner is understated, genuine, natural.

Ordinarily, I would’ve been very concerned about being too available and spending too much time with Michigan - especially in the beginning. But because I’m leaving, it didn’t even occur to me to care. I was having the time of my life. So, we also spent following weekend together, hanging out with Girl Roommate and his friends, kissing, playing games on the beach and talking. It was easily one of the best weekends of my life.

Over the next couple of weeks, while I was in Colorado at Best Friend From College’s wedding, we texted, talked on the phone and we tried to orchestrate a group camping trip that never got off the ground. Then, Girl Roommate convinced me to come up again last weekend because of a local volleyball tournament and a birthday party for our mutual friend.

Very excited to have me back in town, Michigan left his friends at a bar and took a half-hour cab ride to meet up with us on Friday night. Much later that night, back at a friend’s apartment, I was playing cards with a few of his friends when he came up behind me and whispered, “I'm done sharing you. It's time for me to steal you away.” I laughed and whispered back, “If we leave together, we’re going to get so much crap! How about you casually walk downstairs. I’ll wait 35 seconds and then meet you down there?” He nodded, and without another word, he turned and walked downstairs. By the time my 35 seconds had passed, I’d already completely forgotten the plan and was wrapped up in another hand of cards. He waited patiently. And waited some more. About 40 minutes later, he came back up the stairs, smiled at me and said, “I think we need to review the difference between seconds and minutes.” Laughing, I gave him my best “oops, did I do that?” look, and we went home.

On Saturday morning, we talked about everything from what food we could eat for a month straight without variation (for me, guacamole and chips; for him, pizza) to our career and travel goals. Suddenly famished, we decided to motivate our friends to join us on a field trip to an especially-delicious sandwich shop in a neighboring town. By the time we got to the sandwich shop, I REALLY had to go to the bathroom, so I put Girl Roommate in charge of ordering my sandwich and went to wait in line for the restroom (this is a relevant detail, I swear).

When we got back to Michigan’s apartment, we all sat on the patio to eat our much-anticipated sandwiches. I opened mine to find that Girl Roommate had not taken her sandwich-sitting responsibility very seriously. My sandwich consisted of dry wheat bread and several pieces of turkey. That’s it. No condiments, no lettuce, tomato, onion, or anything else that makes a sandwich a sandwich. Seeing my distressed look, Michigan laughed loudly and immediately got to work. He took my sandwich and began wiping his condiments onto my bread. Then, he asked what else I wanted, and added tomato, onion, lettuce, pickles, olives and jalapeno, per my instructions. When he was finished, he carefully closed the sandwich and presented it to me as if it were sitting on a fancy silver tray.

That was it. It was so simple, but in that moment I knew I was falling for him.

That night, after I put in my appearance at the birthday party, he picked me up and drove me back to his apartment for a movie night. I walked in the door to see that he had arranged his living room like a movie theater. He had also set out red wine (a favorite of mine), candles, and…chips and guacamole. As we snuggled and watched Thomas Crown Affair (another favorite I’d mentioned), I distinctly remember feeling completely content. We spent the next day lying in bed, talking, laughing, telling stories and making out; we didn’t even realize we hadn’t eaten anything until it was almost 5pm. Our perfect weekend concluded with a mini picnic and concert on the beach.

Leaving that night was incredibly hard. But the time that’s past since then, has been even harder. Now that I know I’m falling, I’m scared to death. In what has to be a subconscious attempt to combat my sudden vulnerability, I can’t stop trying to plan how the rest of this is going to play out. I can’t stop thinking about the painful irony of finding someone amazing just weeks before moving across country. I can’t stop thinking that I’m going to leave in a few weeks, and might never see him again. I can’t stop wondering if he’s thinking about any of this…

I realize that none of this thinking will do any good, but I can’t find the “off” switch. It’s only been a month, and it would be ridiculous to make any decisions - to stay local for school, to try long distance, etc. - after only a month. My only choice is to move forward with my life. Packing. Apartment hunting. Class registration. And enjoy the time I have left with Michigan.


Anonymous said...

You have to know that the inevitable "if its meant to be . . . " conversation is on its way. Good luck to you my friend. Its always when you least expect it that your heart decides to screw with you:)

Jen said...

Sounds familiar. Except I spent a week with Texas and I was hooked. You know, although things ended and it was PAINFUL, I don't regret it. The time we spent together was pretty awesome. Enjoy the moments. You know how I feel about that. =)