You had said that you were starting back up at school in one of the few letters I received before we cut off communication. So when I returned from summer with a new, serious boyfriend, who was also a student at the university, I was anxious for the day when we would all run into each other, past meeting future. At this point I was still settling into the idea of Drew and the idea of being anyone’s girlfriend, since the previous attempt had been so devastating. Drew had semi-patiently waited for me for 8 months and I was feeling that I was starting to catch up to where he was in the relationship. Luckily my anxiety about the run in was short lived because on the first day back, while walking hand-in-hand with Drew on our way to the bookstore we ran into you. Drew didn’t know what to look for yet but I spotted your all too familiar build and rosy cheeks from a moderate distance. Instinctively my hand wished to be free from Drew’s but I was powerless to move it.
As I was frantically searching for crowds to hide behind we made eye contact. A look of hesitation and then a sly side smile crept on to your face and you approached us head on.
“Oh my goodness! Hi Jim!” I blurted out over-excitedly, my anxiety raising the frequency of my voice.
“Hey Kate,” you said so cool and collected.
You looked better than I remembered. Your usually soft body was now hard and sharp underneath your t shirt. Your hair had been cut and styled to look more grown-up. Did you get taller? In comparison to Drew, 5’9”, your 6’1” stature seemed gigantic.
We held the silence, taking each other in, noticing the familiarities of each other’s frames. Drew’s hand, still in mine, grew clammy and I was awakened to reality.
“Oh! I’m sorry. This is Drew. Drew this is my …. This is Jim,” I stammered.
Drew did a calculated head nod and extended his hand. Jim looked Drew up and down, ignoring Drew’s hand, let out a laugh and then turned to me.
“Okay.” Another laugh. “See you round Kate.”
You were so self-assured, you were so confident. I was immediately embarrassed by even associating with Drew because there was no comparison. All of the faith that I had built up in this relationship that Drew projected onto me crumbled at first sight of the only person I have ever wanted to be with. It was the beginning of the end, my subconscious mind registered. But instead of dumping Drew on the spot, running to you and confessing my undying love, I let Drew lead me into the bookstore. We had books to buy.