A Mindless Mesh
To the guy from Sig Ep: Hi. How are you? I hope you’re doing well. We should talk about First-Year Formal. I didn’t have a date, and was feeling kind of lonely. My suitemate convinced me to come to Sig Ep with him after the dance so he wouldn’t have to walk back to our suite alone. That’s where we met you. Making out with you in that loud ass basement might have been the freest I felt last year. There was clearly no long-term potential between us, which is what I was excited by. We were just people who found each other attractive and mindlessly acted. Then, you wanted to take me to your room. And I didn’t know how to say no. I’d like to think you would have been okay with me saying no. But I didn’t want to find out. So when you went to retrieve your jacket from the mountain piled by the bathroom, I left. Didn’t tell you anything. Just left. A French exit, if you will. I wasn’t ready to do anything more. I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings; the moment we shared really was amazing. But I wanted it to be just that: a moment. I wasn’t willing to make it more complicated. If we see each other again, I would be willing to have another moment like that — a brief entanglement in a sweaty room with music I don’t know blasting from all sides. Or whatever the equivalent of that moment is in a COVID world.
Camden Rider | email@example.com
All I Want for Christmas
I was walking up Elm Street on the way home from the Christmas tree lighting on the green. Obviously singing “Bring Me Love” by John Legend to myself, my favorite underrated Christmas song. You passed me on the sidewalk, wearing the classic vintage knit Yale sweater, close enough that we could hear each other. I stopped in my tracks. So did you. We both turned around. Simultaneously:
“Are you singing—
—Bring Me Love?”
It’s your favorite Christmas song too. I could see the disbelief sparkle in your eyes. You said you were on your way down to see the lights and invited me to come. I pretended like I hadn’t been yet. We walked around beaming in the holiday cheer, underneath the newly lit tree. We talked. We laughed. We shared a hot chocolate from the Jitter Bus. But, I didn’t give you my number, or ask for yours either.
Was it a little bit of Christmas magic? I think so.
Katherine Williams | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Zoom Class Crush
I saw you in office hours the one time I ever went to office hours. As a remote student this semester, I thought my love life would be limited, but one look at you was all I needed to fall helplessly into the void of infatuation. You had your camera off and you never spoke, but I could tell just from your name and the shape of your Zoom square that we were meant to be together. The way the syllables of your first name coalesced with the syllables of your last name; I just knew you were special. I even started going to almost every class just to see your Zoom square, which of course I pinned to my screen. Who cares about finding the Pythagorean side or whatever; I’d rather find what we have in common. But since I dropped that class after getting a 13 on the midterm, I don’t know when I’ll ever be blessed with seeing your beautiful name again. Maybe I should have gone to office hours more often.
Addison Beer | email@example.com
When we met, I was afraid to feel those god awful butterflies in my stomach again. I’d just gotten out of something way too long and honestly hadn’t yet moved on. You sat next to me; not on that first day (that would’ve been too forward, too… to the point), but most after that.
Never really seemed to take notes: I sent you mine when you didn’t show up (most Friday mornings). You don’t seem great with time, or maybe you’re just not a morning person. Are you? God, I hope not. Despite my brutal M/W/F trek up Science Hill, I’d usually beat you to class, and, despite coming from close by, you always sauntered in a precise four minutes late.
Whenever we’d exchange glances, I’d immediately direct my focus back toward my laptop, frantically typing out every detail on our professor’s mind-numbing powerpoints. I’m not used to attention. Everyone tells me I’m a loud typer, especially when I’m pulling late nights in Sterling, but you didn’t say anything.
I’d linger after class — after our TF finally shut up about the readings we both never did. I’d slide my computer into my bag at a snail’s pace so we’d just so happen to walk out together. Not in an obvious way. Well, I hope it wasn’t too obvious. You’d ask me about my weekend plans and our upcoming project while you clutched the handlebars and pushed your bike across Prospect Street like Sisyphus.
We studied for the first midterm together… I was kind of hoping we would. Not really sure how we ended up there — reading over my study guide in LC as icy, late night rain pelted Old Campus’ spindly Elm trees. I laugh at whatever you say (decidedly too much), but I can’t help myself.
I still wonder if you think I’m a loud typer.
Julia Hornstein | firstname.lastname@example.org
Fromage de chevre, muy chevere
It was my last evening with my parents before I moved into my suite. It was 60 degrees that day. Unprepared for the biting wind, we ran inside Trader Joe’s to take refuge from the cold and seek out some salmon for dinner. I was lazily browsing through the cold cuts when I spotted you across the store. You were covered in the most transparent coat I had ever seen through. I still remember how desperately I wanted to peel off your layers. I had never seen anyone so delicate, so unsullied before.
I don’t know why I didn’t grab you by the shoulders when I had a chance. I was a different man then, concerned that by doing so I would be violating some unspoken rule of grocery store conduct. I know now that everyone who saw you wanted to do the same. Maybe it was a lack of money that stopped me. But I was with my parents, and besides, I would pay anything for the taste of your liquid honey on my lips. I think I assumed that you would be back when I returned. I never returned.
I will return. I will wade through waves of people, wait interminable eternities if it means I get to see you again. And when I do, not even the most insurmountable mountain (in the middle of Trader Joe’s) can come between me and my honey-dripped goat’s cheese.
Pradz Sapre | email@example.com
Friends in Gross Places
There’s something about women’s restrooms in dingy places that breeds lasting friendships. I was standing behind you in line at the Slug — aptly named for the permanent stickiness that seemed to coat everything. The two of us watched as the men’s door swung open and shut, open and shut. We shared an eye roll. Your cheeks were flushed with the appropriate amount of liquor and made the neon green winged eyeliner you had so carefully applied pop against your pink skin. Unfortunately, your neon green winged eyeliner you had so carefully applied was now smudged with sweat, but the effect was still the same. “Christ, I’m fucking sweating,” I heard you mutter to yourself. You were wearing latex pink pants and a silver halter-top. The ensemble was both dizzying and awe-inspiring; the kind of outfit I wish I had the confidence to wear, but never could pull off.
Finally, someone stumbled out of the bathroom, granting us a sliver of space to squeeze through. You turned and grabbed my wrist, pulling me inside… only for us to walk straight into a cloud of dry shampoo and aerosol deodorant. About 20 girls were taking advantage of the free beauty products, attempting to mask their now disheveled appearances for the mirror selfies that promptly followed. “Can you all get out of the fucking way,” you shouted. “Some of us are trying to have a piss.”
Alexandra Gers | firstname.lastname@example.org