In autumn, the air at campus smells like maple leaves. It’s crisp enough to feel cold in the shade, but in the sun, I’m glad for short sleeves.
I get the mail, finding a few letters to me–from Cid, Derek, and some other guy I don’t even remember meeting–and a package. The package is from Shea Hollis, my broccoli-scented green friend.
Heading back to the dorm, I see Shea in the dining hall, playing computer games on his laptop.
He’s got a cute profile. I think maybe he’s Irish–well, if plants can be Irish.
His face is cute from the front, too.
“I like your eyebrows,” I say.
He chuckles. “They’re not green!”
“Thanks for the present.” It’s a digital art frame, loaded with a red and blue splatched painting the he did. “Can I show you this new gizmo I got?”
“It’s a camera?” he asks.
“Well, it is a recording device. It’s a crescograph.”
“Oh!” he says, impressed. “So you can see if I’m growing!”
I decide to take my studies seriously this term. I really want to finish the term with an A.
Plus, my art history text is fascinating. We’re studying the development of street art, so I feel like it’s especially relevant to me, since I am an aspiring street artist, and all.
The lecture class leaves something to be desired. Only Shannon, Derek, and I show up. I guess, with just the three of us, we could turn it into our own personal discussion session if we wanted, but Derek, though he’s sent me a few letters, isn’t talking to me. So instead, the three of us take turns sleeping, asking questions, and taking notes. It’s our own personal sphere of boredom.
There’s always something of interest, if you engage your curiosity.
Wanting to feel intellectually stimulated, I head over to the library after the lecture.
Cid is sitting across from me.
“How’s your text?” I ask him.
“Oh!” he says, acting surprised to see me. “Not bad. If you like reading about llama hooves and stuff.”
“Boring,” he says.
We talk a bit, about his painting and this new band he likes. It’s actually a fun conversation, and I start to remember what I enjoyed about being his friend.
“Maybe I’ll call you,” he says, as he leaves.
Then, Anoki Moon calls to invite me to a party at his dorm. I keep rereading the same page, then looking at the clock to see if it’s time to go, then finally, it’s almost time, so I rush home, change into some dress-up clothes, and dash over to Anoki’s dorm.
There’s Derek, first person I see when I come in.
“How’ve you been?” he asks me, finally breaking his silence.
“You mean in the two hours since our lecture got out? Just peachy.”
Anoki comes in. He’s dressed in a white suit, black shirt, and pink tie. Somehow, being dressed up like that makes his eyes look deeper.
He comes into the bathroom while I’m washing my hands.
“Having a good time?” he asks.
“Well, your dorm is nice,” I reply. The party’s not much fun to me, but I’m having fun talking with Anoki at this moment. This is the first conversation I’ve had with him when there weren’t a bunch of women circling him.
He invites me over the next day, after my late class, and we study together.
“I usually listen to music when I study,” he says. “It helps me concentrate.”
“I’ll play something!” I grab a guitar that’s sitting in the corner and play. It’s fun to play study music for him.
After a bit, he says, “I want some fresh air. Want to walk outside with me?”
It’s frosty, and the cold air makes me feel excited and happy.
We talk for a while about sports, movies, recipes for veggie stir-fries, the healing qualities of ginger and turmeric, whether Ceylon cinnamon is better than cassia. I say it is, by far. He says, maybe, for health benefits, but cassia’s got a kick you just can’t beat.
“You’re a cool person,” he says. “I’m really happy we’re friends. I think you might be one of my best friends here at campus.”
I’ve got a best friend. And it feels as good as it did in the dream. Maybe better. For now, I can see my best friend’s face.