Breckridge 309B. That’s my room. It’s small, to say the least. They pile hundreds of college students into each building, into identical white-walled file cabinets with lofted beds and a mirror on the door to create the illusion of more space. I’m sitting at my desk, typing away at some paper that I was supposed to hand in yesterday and my roommate is hanging out on his bed, reading and pausing every few minutes to jot down some notes, when all of a sudden, knock, knock, knock and she steps into our room.
I jump up, and I give her a hug, and Jake holds out his hand and she high-fives him. I sit down on the couch, and pat the seat twice. That’s it, start slow, take it easy, keep it going. She’s talking, something about a psychology exam that she just can’t something something something, good god her hair smells nice. All I want to do is lean in and kiss her, start something, get the ball rolling, see if her mind’s in the same place mine is, but Oh! She’s been studying for six hours, and do I have anything to drink?
So I walk over to the closet, where we keep the fridge, and I pop it open and rustle around in there for a bottle of water. I hand her the bottle, and sit down next to her, casually throwing my arm over her shoulder, just like that, there we go, get it started, keep the pressure up, blood pumping, and she’s wearing some kind of lipgloss that won’t let me look away, and oh, god, I just want to lean in and kiss her, but her cell phone rings, and she has to go out into the hallway for a phone call because our cinderblock rooms get no reception.
While she’s gone, I tell Jake to make himself scarce, and he gives me a knowing wink before heading out to watch a movie with two guys upstairs and down the hall, but he’ll knock loudly and count to ten before he comes back in, and just as he opens the door, she’s back, her conversation obviously concluded. So we’re sitting on the couch, and the TV is on, an infomercial about a fantastically clever new method for rotisserie-cooking a chicken in half the time, and she turns to me, and asks me how my day was, and I want to tell her that it’s better, infinitely eternally never-endingly better, because she’s here, right here, right next to me on this couch, but instead I say “Fine” and we’re silent for a minute.
The silence is getting long and dangerous, so I ask her if she’d like to watch a movie. She does, so we walk over to the desk to check the selection. She wants something deep, something to really suck her in, tell her a story. I want something I can ignore while my mouth explores every inch of her body. We compromise, and watch her choice: Indiana Jones.
So I turn off all the lights except that one right above my desk and the room is bathed with that lazy Saturday afternoon yellow light. We’re sitting on the couch, and I’m on one side, and she’s on the other but all I want is for her to drape herself over me like fine silk, feeling her warmth next to my body, absent-mindedly running my fingers through her hair and speaking in hushed low voices, soft whispers, maybe just lean in and kiss her. Indy’s running from that giant boulder, and she’s still so far away from me, curled up in that distant opposite corner of our tremendous couch, and you could drive a car between us, we’re so far away.
And I try to make conversation, I try to ask her about the things she does, but everything’s dead-ended, and we go right back to Professor Jones and all encompassing silence. We’re quiet almost the entire movie, although at the middle, she gets up and goes to the bathroom, and when she comes back, she sits next to me, just close enough for me to naturally and normally put my arm around her shoulders, maybe idly play with her hair, and I start to wonder what our children are going to look like, and Indy’s tailing some Nazis in a truck, and I hope that they get their mother’s eyes when she goes over to the bed to lie down so her neck doesn’t hurt any more.
And oh, what an entry, oh, what an opening! I tell her I give great massages, and she asks me for one, and I think we’ll have a summer house in Florida, maybe take winters in Paris, and she’s loving it, she’s oohing and ahhing, and all I want to do is lean in and kiss her, start something, get the ball rolling, and Indy’s tied up at the stake, and she says that’s it, I’m OK, but you can stay up here, and I lie down next to her, and we’re spooning, and my arm’s over her, and I can feel her breathing, and I’m busy planning our retirement together, and they’re prying the lid off the Ark, and every minute brings me a little closer to her, and all the sinners get what they rightfully deserve, and I’m just leaning in to kiss her, to start something, to get the ball rolling, and the heavens open up and claymation spirits kill the Nazis, and knock, knock, knock, count to ten, Jake walks in with the two guys from upstairs and down the hall so they can see his CD collection.
Indy’s won the good fight, and Jake’s boasting for his new friends while the credits roll, but she has to go finish studying for something, something, something, oh god she smelled so good, and Jake and his friends leave and as I walk her out, she turns to me and hugs me, and I just want to lean in, to kiss her, to take that one last shot, my one chance, and I don’t, and the wind pushes the door shut behind her, and I’m all alone.