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Part Two

So, where was I? I was back in the early part of 1993, an innocent young thing, visiting the Creative Arts Center of West Virginia University and preparing to step into the next segment of her life.

Dr. Beall, the composition professor, was taking me on a tour of the CAC, which, as I mentioned, was a maze-like structure and was bustling with students and professors. It felt llike a whirlwind, and I only caught traces of things being said to me. Dr. Beall introduced me to people we passed, and I smiled, shook hands, and tried to keep from looking too much like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming vehicle.

At one point, Dr. Beall stopped to chat with and introduce me to a couple of students. It felt no different to me than any of the other introductions I already had, but its importance would become clear in hindsight. "Carrie, this is one of the other students in my studio, Eric." I smiled, shook hands, and listened politely as Dr. Beall spoke with him. After a few minutes, we moved on to other things, heading down yet another path of the labyrinth.

A few minutes earlier, unbeknownst to me, I had been spied by that other student and a friend of his as they stood talking. I didn't feel their eyes on me as they discussed me. I certainly was unaware of their decision to flip a coin over me, or of the fact that Eric won the coin toss. It didn't matter; by the time I came to know any of this, I was already fast friends with both Eric and his "rival," Protho.

But that wouldn't happen for many months. By the time I met Eric for the second time, I had aleady been at WVU for several weeks, having arrived early for marching band camp. I had also begun dating another band member, though it was a short-lived fling. It was a crazy time, and I was trying desperately to find a rhythm to my life there.

One evening, I found myself sitting in the computer lab, struggling to make the school's notation software do what I wanted it to do; specifically, I had been sitting there for about an hour and had been completely unable to make the program display a single note on the screen. I was about to give up entirely when a man walked into the computer lab, dressed in a long black trench coat, black fedora, black gloves - like nobody I'd ever met in my life. He walked over to my computer, looked at what I was doing, clicked a few keys for me to show me what to do, and then walked out. I was stunned, and I was intrigued.

After that, I began to notice Eric on a regular basis. He was always a figure of interest for me, and I enjoyed talking with him and his circle of friends. The vast number of inside jokes they shared very nearly formed a whole new language when they got going; I couldn't stop laughing when we hung out. On one of the first occasions I went anywhere with Eric (crowding into his new-to-him Nissan Maxima with a group of people), it was to bring a faked autographed picture of Fred Rogers to an ill Laurie, who fell for the prank hook, line, and sinker. There was always something fun going on within the group, and as I enjoyed spending time with everybody, it was only natural that I was growing closer to Eric himself.

The fling ended, and I was single again, but not really looking to start dating anybody in particular. Eric may have had other ideas in his mind, but the fact was that, at least from my side, what happened next was completely unexpected and entirely organic. We were hanging out in the hallway between classes, and just talking about nothing in particular. Then it was time for my theory class, so we said goodbye, kissed each other, and I was halfway through the door of my classroom before I - wait, what just happened? Did I just kiss him?

So we started dating. Eric was funny, making up stories that added to his "intrigue." He brought me three roses on our first date, for example, and claimed that it was a long-standing family tradition, which his grandfather had once scolded him sharply for neglecting to remember. (His family had no such tradition.) Another time, my watch stopped working, so he loaned me his pocket watch, which he told me to care for particularly, as it had also belonged to his late grandfather. (He found it in a junk store.) When I would catch him in his stories, he'd laugh like a mischievous little boy who'd been caught in a harmless prank.

Our first official date was to an italian restaurant, and after that we came back to his apartment and a rented movie. Unfortunately, I was already running low on energy, as a new college student, and the movie ("Mighty Ducks," if I recall) was boring, and I fell asleep on Eric's shoulder not long into the movie. He, in his words, thought I looked cute sleeping there, so he let me rest.

When I woke up past midnight, though, I was panicked; I had a football game that morning, and my dorm was moving buildings that weekend, for which move I had yet to pack a single bag or box. I had to rush back to the dorm, cram stuff into boxes all night long, and then jump into my band uniform and rush to the field, going only on what bit of sleep I managed to get on Eric's couch.

By October, we were officially a couple. We've been together ever since. It seems bizarre that I've been with him since before I was technically even eighteen years old, but it's a fact. And the best was yet to come.

To be continued further...

previous one year ago:
"Mommy, Gabe is awake again! I just touched him gently!"
two years ago:
Lately, whenever a situation becomes remotely uncomfortable for the boy, he turns into a cat.
three years ago:
Mom was a professional crafter, and the holidays meant that our home was full of bustle and the smells of glue-gun and wood polish.
four years ago:
For the sympathy I was given, I'm very grateful. It may, however, have been overfelt.
five years ago:
Let's just say that if you ever happen across a woman standing in front of a display in the grocery store and sobbing her eyes out as if her cat had just been run over by a snow-plow, you'd be well advised to steer clear and not ask for an explanation.
six years ago:
I have lesbian guinea pigs. Should I charge admission?
In the ears:
The Apprentice finale

On the Bookshelf:

Gratuitous Sam

Extra Gabe

On hold until we get back


©1999-2003 C. Richmond.