I'm remembering the time I arrived at the Starbucks on our first official date. As my dad and I pulled in, I carefully scanned the parking lot and the surrounding area for your car, an object I wasn't fully familiar with at that time. My dad drove off and I was left in a foreign land, in front of a store whose primary product I didn't enjoy. So, I wandered along to some nearby seats, still in a foreign land, and still in front of a store whose products I didn't enjoy. The seats were wet with rain and dew. I jostled around on the chair, trying to find a way to minimize how wet I got and maximize how cool I looked. I decided to take out my computer as I had a program to show you, but upon doing so, I found that my preparation lacked. Although I had organized the Java windows for your viewing pleasure, closed the 15 tabs of chrome directed to various pictures of you on Facebook, and hidden any obscene material prior to leaving my house that morning, I had forgotten to clean my damn screen. It became flagrantly apparent in the morning sun, outside the darkened reserves of my room. Between my jacket, the remaining moisture on the seat, and my paranoia about anything I presented to you being done so as smoothly as possible, I was able to remove the more apparent smudges from the screen, all the while jumping any time I sensed a car approaching. But it was still nowhere near the standards I held myself to for you. 'Would she think I'll begin to slack now that we're dating?' 'Would she remember the pristine condition of my screen that previous Saturday, when her gentle eyes read my college applications as I tried to nonchalantly hide the sweat dripping from parts of my body I never knew existed?' Questions of a germophobe, or a boy anxious to make a wonderful girl fall in love with him?
With the soaking of my clothes now due more to perspiration than condensation, I decided to give my program a few test runs. Everything worked as it had the night before, and although its execution wasn't flawless (the ball would float after losing all of its energy), I thought you'd find my errors humorous, and so the result would be tantamount to a perfect simulation. I played around a bit with a few parameters and, as the night before, I came to the conclusion that I had the right settings.
I was nervous. The last time I saw you, I hadn't touched you at all. I recalled sitting next to you while we were playing Boulderdash that Saturday night, and wanting to let my leg brush up against yours. I thought about how, upon you leaving, I didn't receive a hug. How would I initiate something? Would enact my plan to exclaim: "Quickly Tara! Hold my hand!" to which you'd ask why, and I'd feign in a distressed voice: "The universe is expanding!"? When I thought about it the previous night, it was golden. But now, only minutes away from seeing you, I saw it as too risky, with too many ways it could burn and crash.
And then I saw you pull in. In an instant, I thought about what the transition would be like from 'just friends' to 'something more'. 'What would it be like to talk to you with these new labels?' 'Would we talk about the same things?' 'What the hell did we talk about, anyway?' I couldn't even see myself kissing you; the notion of kissing Tara Aida was just too far out. I thought you were beautiful, and I thought about that beauty every time I looked at a photo of you (and my records show that between Saturday evening and that Wednesday morning, I looked at 1179 photos of you (not necessarily distinct)), but I never imagined being the one to kiss you. I don't think I ever really imagined anyone to, actually.
I think you wore a white and yellow stripped shirt with jeans that day. I'm pretty sure I saw you for the first time as my girlfriend in that moment and I remember being really curious about what was going on in your head. Everything after you sitting down next to me is a blur, though. I only remember watching you play with your keys or watching myself play with them while we were sitting down in Starbucks. I think I remember you getting up to order something, but I don't remember looking at you while you were in line (I was probably resisting). I remember hearing about SGLI and Hong Kong, and worrying about not being able to keep all of the events straight. I remember the feeling I had when you mentioned going Venezuela. I remember talking to you about Joe C. in the car, and laughing when you told me that he sent you a "good luck with your new relationship" email. I remember listening to you contrast Joe C. and my interests. I remember sitting down with you on the bench, and I think I may have even put my arm around you. On that bench, I remember thinking that things could be so beautiful with you, and that our relationship would have so many dimensions due to our similar interests and intellectual faculty. I remember you touching my arm many of the times you laughed. I remember you telling me about Ms. Rotolo and her husband. I remember being nervous when I couldn't explain "meta". I remember you telling me that you sent your friends a screenshot of my change of relationship status, and the wave of surprise and happiness in knowing that you really had been interested in me. I remember sitting in the car outside my dad's work, wondering if I should lean over to kiss you. I remember watching you walk around the car so we could to share our first real hug since SVSM. I remember dreading how long it'd be until we saw each other next, and how much I wanted to reinforce my relation to you as 'boyfriend'.
I clearly remember what it was like after you dropped me off. Almost immediately after you left, my dad took me out to get some Wendy's as I hadn't eaten that morning. I was terrified that you'd see me at a fast food joint. After we got back to his work, I laid on the floor of his office with my eyes closed and my headphones on, thinking about and texting you.
By the way, I got like 6 adrenaline rushes while writing this.
Note that some of the narration has been inflated with comedic intent.
I think about the past when you're not in my present.
I do this thing when I'm thinking about you or writing to you sometimes where I shake my head back and forth, sometimes combined with an eye roll. I think it's me trying to realign my thoughts whose order had just been obliterated by my affection for you.