All through the evening, you were as calm and composed as ever, something I remember mimicking. I must have tried too hard, and more than once during the short stroll from Dolcezza, our host for the peanut-butter-ice-cream fest (and thank you for that!), to the Healy Gates, did you look at me and immediately turn your face away. It now amazes me how you restrained yourself and kept continuing casual conversation before finally breaking into a huge laugh at the Darnall Hall pillars. I'll admit, I was a bit embarrassed initially, and wondered what the situation called for me to do. I was hoping you'd guide me through, but you just kept laughing.
"Oh Shrey!", and you ruffled my hair. Phew! You saw my face and ruffled my hair a bit more. Did I just blush?
- "It's a pity that the only week you're here is when our Hall's famed Café is closed."
- "Now isn't that what every hall here says?"
- "Say what you will mister, but there are many who cross the bridge just for a sip of old Darny's."
"Someday!" I said to myself. That, of course, never happened, and it was less than a year afterwards when you had that little setback when the place closed down. A few years later, a fancy 'Epicurean' restaurant with a valet service would come up, and people would move on. Most.
- "Now here's a campus map, and *this* is where you need to go. I'll see you the day after; Sleep tight soldier!"
- "Thank you!"
- "hmm... I'd rather not ask what for. Accepted. Thank you too!"
"There! Now we're done for a lifetime. No more thanking, ever."
I knew I had a sleepless night to look forward to, as did you I suppose. As did you know, I mean. Every small soundbite, every little detail, every little strand of red hair that fell over your eye... every bit recounted, recapped.
As dawn broke, I realised my folly (not that I had had a choice to make), and hoped to get through the registration in time. Being pretty much the first person to register, I had a key to my new room in minutes. Now it was just a leisurely wait for the others. And wondering when we'd be meeting next.
Our Honduran friend was the first of the three to arrive, and like all good international roommates, our first hour went appreciating each others' passports, visas, and memorising the choicest of expressions for proposing love and damnation in each others' tongues. And the unlikely coincidence that the two of us shared our birthday, only that:
- "Dude! It says 1989! You're like... FIFTEEN!"
- "Yup! Exactly three years after you came in. I mean out."
- "Holy Fucking Hay-soos!!! FIFTEEN!?!"
Oh damn it! I didn't even know your birthday! I didn't even know your age! I couldn't even guess!!
I usually made sure it crept in during my first conversations with people, but that conversation already had way too many firsts for me. How easy life would become after social networking would arrive. As for now, I'll just ensure I slip-it-in the next time...
Next to arrive was the tall, lanky fellow from the States, and for once in life (as of then), I was not the quietest one in the group. Not much later, we discovered we had a Biblical scholar amongst us, and half an hour of an intense conversation later, I knew we had many a memorable conversations to go.
Finally, he arrived. I was in the loo. All I heard were murmurs, followed by "FIFTEEN!?!"