On the final weekend of this college career, Aaron Risser ginned up the courage to talk to the girl.
Her last name was long and Greek, she was funny and strange, she drank vodka tonics and he drank cheap beer and when he let himself imagine such things he imagined their first apartment, the way they'd argue over money and the way they'd make up after those arguments, the life they’d begin to build together when they left that small college town for parts unknown. Aaron wasn’t a romantic, in his life Aaron had never been accused of being romantic, but something here was different and he knew it and he suspected she did too. They had taken two classes together, they’d worked in small groups together, twice they spoke on the telephone and both times the conversation veered wildly from homework to exes to favorite vacations.
He wasn’t sure what she felt, but he knew with a clarity he’d never before experienced exactly what he felt.
He did a shot from a plastic handle of cheap vodka, he did a second shot from the same plastic handle, he whispered “Time to get the girl” and made his way from his strange studio apartment across campus to the college-owned club that everyone called, “D Station” even though it was technically named “The Depot”. Finals were over, there would be no more Saturday night parties until the Fall, couples were pared off behind trees and juniors shouted obscenities across the quad and seniors -- alums! -- sat outside in circles, stunned by the realization that it was all over and that in a matter of days they’d be working stiffs and all the very good and all the bad that had happened on this small New England campus would be reduced to a memory. It was a night to cheat on girlfriends or boyfriends, to break into professor’s offices, to light piles of nearly anything on fire, to say goodbye to the universe.
D Station was hot, it smelled like sweat, Aaron would forever remember Letters to Cleo was playing when he opened the door and wedged his way through the desperate bulwark of wet flesh, when he saw her the music had changed, something by R.E.M., Aaron touched her shoulder and she turned and smiled and he shouted, “I need to tell you something!” and she shouted “Is it that you’re in love with me!” and he shouted “Yes!” and she shouted “I know!” and he shouted “How?” and she shouted “Because I couldn’t get you off the phone! You just talked and talked and talked! I wanted the homework -- that was a difficult class, I was going through a tough time personally, you were organized and seemed to know what was going on but everytime you were just about to give me the homework you’d sort of meander down a different conversational pathway and suddenly we’d be -- you’d be -- reminiscing about, like, a girl you wanted to date one time and all I wanted was information, you know? It was incredibly frustrating! Just tell me what I want so I can move on with my night, you know!”
The night comes back to him like it’s being played through a slide-projector. In quick, bright flashes. Letters to Cleo. The heat. Cheap beer and sweat. The girl. He forgets about it for three years, but when it comes back he’s 21 years old with a broken heart and no future to speak of.
Oh! And: members. It’s the penultimate Thursday of the Month so -- pick-up is tomorrow from 6:30 - 8:30 pm, and fyi it’s the quarterly pick-up at the brewery. Buchanan is one of the four beers.
See you tomorrow.