One day, our professor told us all to meet at the library to go over some research methods. As I was getting off my bike, my classmate approached me with one of the funny guys as I walked inside. He was smiling and laughing, more relaxed than of late. I cautiously sat down at the wooden table, and he handed me a paper to read that he'd just written for another class, entitled Life Without Principle: A Modern Dilemma.
Everyone was very chatty, with Spring break starting soon. I was secretly excited to read more of his work, and so I read the piece in bits during an exam study session for my Astronomy class; glancing up every once in a while at the professor, trying to act interested. I realized when I was done that I hadn't known his last name yet. It was Cone.
We begin talking again. A bit here and there, before class, after. Sometimes he walks me to my bike. We even go to the coffee shop off campus once and spend all morning talking about politics, our dreams, our simple and complicated likes and dislikes.
A couple of weeks later, I was unlocking my bike and we were talking as usual. He asks me if I'd like to get some food. I'm confused. Right now, you're hungry? I ask. No, no. This Friday, he says, laughing. I tell him "sure", because we're finally friends, right?
And then I realize This Friday is Good Friday. And at the time I was a practicing Catholic and could not miss Good Friday Mass. On Wednesday, I gingerly approach him after class and tell him how sorry I am that I can't go, but could we do it next Friday? His eyes dart away, I can tell he thinks I'm lying. He says ya, that's fine a little too quickly and I try to explain, but it comes out sounding ridiculously forced. I promise myself that on Monday, I will remind him.
That Monday, I can tell he is up for more ignoring. I bee-line him at the end of class, forward compared to the girl I usually am, easily embarrassed around guys I like. At the time, I didn't admit this even to myself about this particular one.
I ask him directly if he's still up for Friday. He tries to mask his surprise but can't; he says, Ya, ya, ok, Friday. Wanna say 6? He gives me his number. Just in case, he says.
Friday comes and I am not nervous. I am literally in gardening clogs and watering my tiny flower bed when he pulls up, Joan Osborne blasting out of his speakers. As we're driving, he says, So I was talking to my roommate about how I was sorta going on this date and how I didn't really know where to take you.
[Date?! Who said anything about a date?] This is the honest to god truth. I was literally in jeans and a t-shirt. I may or may not have combed my hair before getting into his car after watering the flowers. I did change out of my gardening clogs, though. I know I did that.
By May, we'd begun to instant message and email. He tells me how he is planning a backpacking trip up a big mountain in Colorado. I invite him to my end of the semester party. He comes, brownies in tow. I secretly think about him all of the time, even though the pilot is around. We fight a lot, he makes me cry. I stop writing to my classmate, sabotaging a perfectly good friendship because I feel bad thinking about a guy so much who seems to only want to be my friend now, as I simultaneously date/nondate someone else. Besides, he's an atheist: a big no-no for the good Catholic girl I was raised to be. In spite of myself, I enviously think of the cute philosophy major hipster he's probably dating. Perfect match. Barf.
He suddenly writes me again in July. He picks up where we left off, wondering how my summer is going, even though we both know I didn't write him back last time. He wants to know if I'd like to get some ice cream.
That summer, we were solely responsible for doubling Ben&Jerry's profits.