Sunday, September 12, 2010

In which I meet my college boyfriend, who later became my fiance' but then I changed my mind about getting married and he married my roommate instead

Let me be clear about one thing from the outset: my college boyfriend, Calvin, is a great guy. My decision not to marry him had nothing to do with his being a jerk (he wasn't a jerk - I dated him for three years - even I don't put up with jerkness for that long) and everything to do with my being only 22 years old at the time. Twenty two is very young to marry. It's also young to make career decisions, but what can you do?

My freshman year of college, beginning of the second semester, it snowed. In Big Southern City. This happens once every gajillion years or so. Big Southern City is usually quite humid (= Hell is the staging ground for Big Southern City) but on the snow day, the air got really dry. My eyes got dry. That was back in the day when I wore hard contact lenses. Dry eyes + hard contacts = scratched eyes, which meant a trip to the ER (had I known then what I know now, I never would have wasted medical resources like that, but it felt as if someone was pouring acid in my eyes and I was 18 and didn't know what else to do). They rinsed my eyes and told me to keep patches on them for a few days.

My roommates kindly drew me a wardrobe of eyes to wear over the patches and escorted me to the commons for meals and to my classes. I didn't, however, go to my first physics lab (I was an engineering major before I changed to the oh so practical English), which was when everyone picked their lab partners. I was partnerless when I showed up for the second class. So was Jake, who had twisted his ankle playing basketball. He hobbled and I squinted into class.

It was destiny.

We were great lab partners because we would calculate what our results should be (density of water? rate of gravity? easy!) and set up the experiment to get the results we wanted, which meant it took us half the time it did the other students.


Our labbie might not have approved, but bless his Korean graduate student heart, we couldn't understand a word he said, so even if he had been telling us to tear it all down and start over, we didn't know.

This method didn't hurt Jake too much. He got a PhD in chemistry from CalTech, which makes me think his technique wasn't so far off.

Naturally, I developed a crush on Jake because he was funny and smart, which is the lethal combination that always gets me.

One day, as we walked back from lab to our dorms, Jake asked me, "Do you want to go to [this dorm dinner]?"

I paused. What did he mean? Was he asking me on a date or was this an in-theory question, like, "Would you like to be two inches taller and 20 pounds lighter but with bigger bosoms?"

Well duh.

Who wouldn't?

I answered cautiously. "With you?"

Wouldn't you be concerned? What if I had answered, "Yes!" and he had said, "Well I hope someone asks you."

Then I would have felt dumb.

"Yes, with me!" he said impatiently.

Well yes then!

I was so excited. Maybe my feelings were reciprocated.

They weren't. Jake just wanted a date for the event. I don't even remember how I figured out he was not at all interested in me but it didn't matter, because his roommate, Calvin, was also at this event and without a date.

And really cute.

And really smart.

I looked at him and thought, "That's the man I'm going to marry."

And I almost did.

But it took some work to get to that point.

More on the Calvin, who had almost never kissed a girl, story next time.

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