In my freshman year of college, I met a man, C. We were both waiting for a school shuttle that was like half an hour late. While waiting, we struck up a conversation, and we ended up talking all the way to the mall (our destination) and at the mall, and then all the way home. During the conversation, I asked him when his birthday was, and he said “November 8th.” I thought he was kidding around with me, since that’s my birthday, too, but it turned out that he was telling the truth. My curiosity was instantly piqued, and as it turned out, so was his. That odd Scorpio attraction ended up binding us together in an odd way for years after that moment.
One would think that a strong attraction would lead to at least one date, but as it turns out, I started dating someone soon after that shuttle ride. C and I went on to become that odd sort of acquaintance that you only run into once a semester while crossing the quad. Every now and then we’d see each other on the way to class and say hi, then head our separate ways.
Three years later, during my senior year in college, one day I was again walking across the quad. I was wearing a short denim skirt and a white tuxedo shirt, with platform sandals. I had short, choppy hair – almost the cut I wear now, in fact. I was feeling uncharacteristically vivacious, and it turned out to be a good day to run into C. We stopped to chat, and I invited him out to some group thing I was attending with friends.
After that initial date-ish thing (not an actual “date”) we went out soon after on our own to a local dive bar called The Saint. We drank and talked, listened to the juke box, and at one point in the evening he dragged me into the photo booth, where we shared our first kiss.
The following relationship was electric, and a disaster. It went very well for awhile, then started to do badly, and it should have ended there, but didn’t. In fact, every time it reached a natural low, something would happen to screw things up even more. Then he ended up moving in for the second semester when his lease ended. He didn’t pay rent, something my roommates were kind enough to only mention a few times, as they saw the intense mental strain I was under. He was horribly depressed, and I was in the midst of a nervous breakdown because of school ending and having absolutely no idea what to do with the rest of my life. This was made infinitely worse by me picking up on his intense energy and falling apart whenever he was around. Oh, and there was the little bit about him not wanting to be my boyfriend, even though we were living together and I was desperately in love with him. There’s no excuse – I was 21, and stupid. There was LOTS of drama and tears on my part, so much brooding on his. The whole sordid affair would have made great reality TV, had the genre been a little more popular back then.
After my senior year, he packed up and moved away. I was heartsick. At some point, I broke out of my own head for long enough to see clearly. I had to eradicate him from my life. So I took the photos of our first kiss and burned them in the sink.
As they were burning, I couldn’t bear the thought of losing them forever-forever. So I took a snapshot with my cellphone. Thus, this image represents two types of nostalgia – that for my sad, silly youth, and that for outdated technology. Isn’t it crazy how crappy cell phone cameras used to be???
I look back on it all with a smile now, but it took years to get my stomach out of knots (anger, lust, shame, embarrassment, sadness, adoration) whenever I thought of C. There was more drama in subsequent years, but eventually we built suitable walls and have managed to be good to each other in being absent.
Every now and then we run across each other on social media – just a hi, how’s it going, hope you’re doing well, gotta run. It’s amazingly similar to passing each other on the quad on the way to class.