I started college with an undecided major. My freshmen roommate Chrissie and I used to joke that we were “majoring in EVERYTHING!” when people asked us. I don’t think it was a surprise to any of my family members when I quickly declared a double major of English and Fine Arts, which even more quickly turned into a major of Creative Writing and a minor in Fine Arts. I was in the honors program, and it was nearly impossible to double major at St. Norbert with the special classes I was taking.
It was fine with me; I never really intended to be a practicing artist, I just loved the history of art and loved to see the world through paintings, drawings, and photographs. But English was my true love. I grew up obsessed with reading. I read before class, I read during lunch, I read while grocery shopping, I read while walking our dog, I read before bed, and my dad had to turn off the light when I fell asleep with it on. And like most readers, I liked to write.
When I started my junior year of college, I was finally able to take the classes I loved for my major, starting with Creative Fiction. I wasn’t in a great place in the fall of 2007. I had broken up with my boyfriend of 2 1/2 years that summer and subsquently had my heart broken by someone else. I wasn’t really sure who I was or what I was doing.
Unfortunately, my ex-boyfriend was also my best friend, and because we kept hanging out, we sort of started dating again. We still loved each other and had both good days and bad days, but I knew that we got back together for all the wrong reasons. Especially when I saw one of those reasons sitting across the table from me in my Creative Fiction class: Dave.
We figured out we lived in the same dorm, in the same hallway no less, and he invited me to stop by some night when I was bored. I did, but it turned out I knew his roommate from one of my art classes, and he hijacked the conversation. A month later, we talked before class, and we hung out for about three hours after talking about everything. He invited me to Denny’s that night. I went. I broke up with my boyfriend. And then I fell in love with Dave.
My writing professor encouraged all of us Creative Writing majors to keep a LiveJournal account to keep us writing every day, no matter what it was about. Looking back through it, I found this gem that I wrote when I was twenty (Twenty?! Was it really that long ago?), and decided it would be perfect to share for our anniversary post. After all, this is the reason we danced to “First Day of My Life” at our wedding.
The music faded away and we sat at the edge of the bed, staring at the computer screen. Silence.
“I have a confession,” he began, lifting my chin up with his hand.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“I played that song for you,” he said. I couldn’t stop smiling as we put on our coats and walked down the stairs. We sat on the bench outside, our denim-covered legs grazing slightly. The wind whipped ferociously every few seconds, twirling my scarf in its slippery hands and putting his hat askew. He looked at me.
“I was thinking about writing about ‘the moment’ for our next short story,” he said.
“Go for it.” I smiled and squeezed his hand with my slightly purple one.
“I’m going to get so much shit for it, though.” He stared off at the cars whipping through the parking lot.
“But you don’t care what other people think.” I visualized his abrasive exterior falling away in a public place, instead of with friends.
“Yeah, I do. Especially people in that class.” He turned to look at me, his eyes dark behind his thick black rimmed glasses.
“Okay, people may or may not laugh at you. But if they do, it’s not because they think you’re a sappy idiot, it’s because they’re seeing a new side of Dave….the softer side of Dave!” We both laughed.
“My life has never been so wonderful and weird before. I now find myself being the optimist in situations, rather than the cynical bastard. It’s so …” He trailed off.
“Crazy,” I filled in. “Give it a few months. You’ll get sick of me and then you can go back to being Cynical Dave,” I smiled.
“Never.” He looked into my eyes. “That moment? No matter what happens to us, I will never, ever forget it. In my 21 years, I’ve never felt like that before and it will always be perfect in my mind.” We sat like that for a few minutes, hand in hand and eyes glued to each other as if seeing into the future.
Suddenly I burst out laughing. “Man, we are being so gushy right now!”
He joined in. I laid my head on his shoulder and felt his rest on mine. And nothing mattered then, except for us, sitting there.