February 24, 2005
The chaos around me seemed muffled as I focused on the streets on the other side of the big windows. The gray of the street seemed interrupted by the residual snow on the ground…or was it the other way around? The sidewalks were empty except for a few students rushing to a coffee shop or the library to study. The beauty of midterm season was that except for a few key places on campus, the rest was empty and quiet. Streets that received a rest from the thousands of feet beating it. The air that was calm, instead of the chatter that filled it up.
I turned my attention back to my friend Becky, who was going on about her boyfriend between sips from her Vanilla latte and taking notes. She, and her boyfriend, had become a big part of my life since I started at college as probably one of the only commuter students. My life was difficult as it was and she added a touch of normality to it during the days we hung out.
“I don’t know how I’m going to make it with him in Hawaii for so long” she was saying. He was in the Air Force and would be stationed in Hawaii for the 4 years it would take him to complete his college degree. I know that what they had was true love and as I nodded at the appropriate places around her words, I wondered if I would ever find that love. The closest I came to it was with a man who was now in Iraq, also in the Air Force. We just didn’t have the history to even attempt at a long distance relationship. My thoughts and her words were interrupted by my phone vibrating across the table.
“Is that him?” she asked. “Him” was my friend Marcus who was coming to campus that day to see me. I nodded as I flipped my phone open.
“Hi, Lily?” The voice on the other end was tentative but smooth. At that moment, I didn’t know that this would be the voice my heart would revolve around for the remainder of my days.
“Hey, yeah it’s me. How are you?”
“Good…I just wanted to let you know that I was close to campus. Where did you want me to park?”
I gave him the directions and told him to call me when he was parked. I’d meet him by the elevators of the parking garage.
“So you guys are meeting for the first time” Becky stated, more than asked, as I shut my phone.
“Yes. You know this already. We’ve been friends since October but haven’t had a chance to meet. He’s a really great guy though. I’m really excited to see him.”
“And you’re sure he won’t kill you?”
“Yeah honey, I’m pretty sure. If he does, I’m leaving my car to you.”
“Ha ha. Funny. Just be careful.” She looked concerned.
“I will be. Why do you think I’m having him meet me on campus? Look…I met Thomas off Myspace and he didn’t turn out to be a murderer. Just an emotionally closed-off dickhead…” I sighed. She knew all too well. I had gone straight to her dorm room when I got back to campus from the base…the last day that I saw him before he shipped off. The day in December that we “broke up”. “Anyway. I should get going. I don’t want to rush and break my ankle before meeting Marcus.”
“There’s no way you’d slip in those shoes” she joked. She was right of course. I was wearing my typical tomboy get-up. Three times too big sweater over tight jeans and red tims.
“Alright babe. Good luck with the studying. I’ll give you a call when he leaves.” I gave her a hug and made my way out the crowded building.
I thought about Marcus as I made my across campus to the parking garage. He had become one of my best friends in the short few months we’d known each other. A few months ago, I’d joined a forum on a whim. I was lonely after my move and needed some kind of distraction. Quickly, my days began to fill with the banter back and forth on the boards. Marcus was only one of the people that I had grown close to, as these were all people that lived in my area. He was the karaoke DJ and organized the monthly get-togethers. Tonight was actually one of them and as always, I couldn’t make it. We didn’t talk much at first but after a conversation sparked by Dean Koontz, we began talking on a daily basis. Our conversations ranged from our favorite books to movies to the everyday struggles of our lives. I was happy for him. He had finally proposed and was now engaged with his long-term girlfriend. He was also a dedicated father and a great friend. It was about time we had met face to face. I smiled at the thought of seeing him and just then..my phone vibrated.
“Hey you. I am on the…third level of the garage.”
“Alright. I’m almost there. I’ll meet you in front of the elevators on that level.”
“OK,” he said. “See you in a couple”
(I started this story two years ago…I’m going to start posting the chapters here every week…Just to force myself to keep writing…Hope you guys enjoy!)