I figure I better get in here and dust off the cobwebs before the place falls into complete disrepair. I have tried to post with regularity, but you can tell that is a lie.
I have been trying to keep up with distant friends, search for a house, and work on a short story for the past couple of weeks. One of my friends from Marquette University and I have been swapping email lately, and it is good to hear from her. She live in Milwaukee with her husband and works as a recruiter for some big muckety-muck company. I don't really know what her husband does. Thinking back on our relationship, I am glad we didn't screw it up by sleeping together or dating. She is a true friend of the type you rarely see, and enjoy knowing. The last time we saw each other face to face was in '97. I was packing up my stuff for the trip back to Houston. Grades were bad and I informed my parents that I was taking a year off. I spent a week in Milwaukee partying with friends and saying my goodbyes. Chances were good that I would not see most of them again when I came back the following year.
Most people would think we were a perfect match. She is 6'3" and I am 6'4". She's the typical blond, blue-eyed beauty with legs that would wrap around a man for days. Now, that's just based on outward appearances. We were off in our own little worlds doing our own little things. Every now and again we'd meet up at the cafeteria or passing on the street. It was nicer to meet up at a basement party or the local bar. There was less inhibition there and a better comfort level for both of us.
I met her on the way to Johnston Hall (at least I think it was Johnston) for lunch. I just finished my second Spanish class for the week and had time to kill before whatever lecture was scheduled for my nap. The Fall semester had just started and I was starting to slip into my comfort level being so far away from home. It was a sunny day out and pretty mild. Skinny as I was back then, I was decked out in my usual attire of Wranglers, Red Wing Boots and a t-shirt with some mildly offensive logo (whatever was in vogue back then). I dodged buses across Wisconsin Ave. and strolled through the Student Union. Some of my buddies were bragging about the food at Johnston earlier and I decided to try it out. As I came out the side and headed to the dorm, I noticed two pretty tall blondes giggling at their own private joke. Being the arrogant prick that I was then, I 'rightfully' assumed they were staring at my ass. WRONG!
"J" and her friend were just having a conversation amongst themselves, and I do believe they were talking about me, but cannot remember. I said some flippant remark and they shot back. The battle of the sexes was on! I can't remember where they were living, Mashuda Hall I think, but they were also between classes and didn't want to schlepp all the way up to their dorm for food. We just started talking and the conversation flowed through lunch. There was a lot of Jewish Geography going on. You know, "who are you?", "where are you from?", "what are you studying?", and the like. There was lots of playful banter back and forth, and I am sure now that there was a bit of sexual tension. As a matter of fact, there was a shit-pot full of it. Being the consummate dumbass that I am, I missed the cues. What can I say, I was sniffing after a cute little Iowa lass in one of my classes then.
Fast forward to sophmore year. I convinced a good friend to move to Mashuda with me. Big mistake. I was too dense to realize that I don't make a good roommate. That's another story. 'J' is still living there with her best friend I met that day at Johnston. We see each other more frequently and develop a better friendship. Our circle of friends varied, but we pretty much stayed in touch. Getting back to the sexual tension bit, I remember visiting with her one night before summer break and having a wonderful conversation. I think we both agreed that if her roomie was not asleep in the same room, things might have progressed. Yes, I was seeing someone then, but I would have chucked her for 'J' right away.
Okay, moving on. Life was moving at its own pace. I spent that summer working as a DJ for a rock station in Milwaukee and sleeping through classes. Overnight shifts and college philosophy courses don't mix. Thankfully, I didn't have to move any furniture for the fall semester. Didn't see J, but ran into her again that fall. The usual friend stuff. See each other, say hi, catch up on things. Whatever. Went home to work at a rock station for the summer and decided to take a year off.
I came back in August '96 to gather my stuff and move back home. I convoyed up with some pretentious shit from Rockford. He almost tagged along to Marquette with me, but I convinced him not to. Something about manual labor and packing boxes convinced him to head to whatever Midwest Ivy League hellhole he was enrolled at toot sweet. Like I mentioned, I was in full-tilt boogie party mode once the truck was packed. I ended up staying for a week in Milwaukee chasing after old girlfriends and having a grand old time. Spent the next week in South Bend with my sister chasing after those St. Mary's and Notre Dame girls. That was an even better time. Some of those East Coast primadonnas never partied with a cowboy before. And I was all kinds of cowboy then. But I digress.
I was chasing after a girl I hooked up with my freshman year. I remember her well because she was my first real college hook-up. Just mindless sexual fun without the guilt of a relationship later. We ran into each other at a bar and shared a few drinks. She invited me back to her place for a nightcap. Sure enough, it was downstairs from a buddie's place where I was crashing. No muss, no fuss. I get there and who should answer the door in her PJ's but 'J'. Quite a surprise. The other girl got home five minutes before me and passed out in her bed. Scratch that idea! So J and I sat down in the living room and caught up on things. We spent hours upon hours talking and laughing. As our night wound down and I prepared to head upstairs she said something I will never forget: "Well, I'd better do this before I regret it." And we spent the next couple of hours making out on the couch. That is a night I will never forget, or tell my grandkids about.
I ran into J one more time before I graduated. She was just visiting Milwaukee from Austin of all places. Seeing a guy and just hanging out. She looked incredible.
Now, I came across her name and email in an alumni database. Just shot out an email and hoped for the best. The best was a return email with her picture attached. Makes me regret not dating her. Then again, it doesn't. Like I said, why ruin a good thing? We've caught up on our personal lives and have tentative plans to travel to our respective homes for a vacation or visit, but nothing definite yet. We're so caught up on things that she even knows my new nickname: GSW. That is a far cry from my old name, Tex.
Made to Feel Welcome
2 days ago