Let me preface this installment by saying that at the ripe old age of 20, I was ready to put love on the back burner for the next ten, twenty years. I was exhausted. I dated some, but I always preferred being on my own. Halfway through our speech class, I had started dating someone new, and I would date a few guys throughout the next year and a half.
While this happened, interestingly enough, I would run into Tom periodically. I'd see him from afar on campus or walking with his friends, and it always made me stop and think. The thoughts were never clear, but every time I saw him, something in me would go "Hmmm.."
He is a local to our college town, so I saw him at the movies several months before we would start dating. I was actually on another date at the time, and Tom worked at the theater. He sold us our tickets. I swear, we looked at each other for awhile, and we both paused. We exchanged brief small talk, but then I left for the theater, telling the person I was with that I knew the guy who sold us our tickets. He didn't care, obviously, but I really felt compelled to tell someone about it.
I saw him in March, too, walking with one of his friends. He looked very James Dean in his sunglasses, and I brought myself to wave hello to him...but he didn't see. I proceeded to pretend I was fixing my hair and ran away awkwardly.
Then came April. I hit my breaking point. It was a rough month for me, and I was sick of trying, sick of holding out hope for people who would leave me hanging. I was already a romance cynic. I had been my whole life. I believed fairytale princesses lacked substance, and anyone who graduated college with a serious relationship was selling themselves short big time. That was their chance to explore, to grow. And I was going to spend my last two years of college doing just that.
This big epitome came to me the night of a hair show that my mom had entered (considering she's a hairstylist.) I learned that someone I had been on a couple dates with had moved on to someone else, and I decided to free myself from all the drama. It wasn't worth my time, and because the next two years of my life would be absorbed by the campus newspaper, looking for a relationship was completely pointless anyway. Also, my great grandma died that night. And it was a horribly dreadful, gloomy night. At least the hair show was fun.
This was about a week and a half before I ran into Tom again one night. And that night would change everything.
(Dun dun duuuuun!)