Our First Moment

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.


I don’t remember why I spent all of Monday February 16, 1998 away from the Cluster House. Nobody else who was around then does either. There was still a lingering anger towards my roommate, but it was a day off from classes and I certainly had to work to find enough things to keep me away from the house all day. Nobody can remember why I spent the whole day away from the house, but everyone can remember where they were when I came home, when life as I knew it was forever altered by an admirer who finally saw fit to reveal herself.

The house was strangely quiet when I came home that evening. I came in the front door, turned left and trekked down the hallway into my room, content to spend the evening doing homework. I’d finally decided I was through being pissed off at Russel for his argument with Rachael on Sunday morning. It was going to be a normal evening home and then off to bed.

A commotion started out in the hallway a few minutes later and I went out to investigate. Stephanie, my housemate from upstairs, who’d just been through the ordeal of getting rid of her shitty roommate, was standing out in the hallway with her hair in two braids. She looked cute and younger than her 21 years. She held in her hand a small white envelope. When I looked closely, I saw that my name was on it.

She handed me the note. “This is for you,” she said, and then she boosted herself up to sit on the bannister while I sat down on the steps leading up to the middle level of the Cluster to read it.

The first line brought two days of wondering to a close. Very simply, very clearly, it spelled out, “I am the other secret admirer.” Before I read any further, I looked up at her and my heart began to pound. It wasn’t a joke after all.

I read on and she talked about how impressed she’d been with the way I handled the whole Housemate Controversy, how I’d listened to both sides and been very mature about it. She said that was the icing on the cake. She’d been noticing me for a while, wanting to get to know me better. And when the other note came she realized she had to do something fast, or else risk losing her chance altogether.

When I was done there were smiles and a hug and even though neither one of us really asked each other out, there was the understanding that our “getting to know each other better” consituted the start of a relationship. Slowly, housemates who had been in the know began to come out of the woodwork. Donna and Stacey suggested that we take a drive, that the new boyfriend and girlfriend should have some time to hang out together before bed.

I went back into my room to grab my coat. Russel was reading but he could tell when I came in that something had happened. Even though there was still a trace of anger within me towards him, I confided in him the story, because who else could I tell? Quickly, he congratulated me and I ran out to catch up with the others.

Donna drove the four of us up to Wentworth By The Sea, an abandoned hotel up on the Atlantic coast in New Hampshire, with Stef and I in the back seat not knowing how to act in this awkward, forced situation. The place kinda spooked everyone out. I’m not sure why they took us there, but Stef wasn’t a big fan of the place and even though I’d never seen it, I’m sure there were other places that would have been better suited for two shell-shocked people to spend their first moments as a couple.

We came home and I went off to bed, knowing it was the beginning of a long, strange trip, and that this one would be unlike anything else I’d ever experienced.