More of our story:
The week after our "date", Todd took the train from work and came all the way down to Princeton where I picked up him up on my way home from work.
I love Princeton, NJ. It's why I live in the town I live now. It made me addicted to the idea of a thriving main street, town square, and sense of community with history. Whenever anybody came to visit me, I was very excited to take them all over my adopted town.
I picked him up at the train station and we headed back to my apartment so I could change out of my work clothes. I groaned upon arriving at my apartment because a young man was there whom I'd been dating for years. I had been "Off" for several months, but he was still in "On". Once he announced his decision to serve a mission, I was all for that but I had no intention of not dating anyone else for two years while he was away. I'd never been the kind of girl to wait around. He was just a month from leaving for his mission, and I figured it was as good a time as any to be done. Anyway, I found his presence very inconvenient since I had a friend to play with and this young man while wonderful in many, many ways, was not what one would describe as overly playful. Climbing trees and jumping in fountains were not his sort of thing. And though I respect law abiding citizens, I was not in the mood to hang out with one that night.
Todd, bless his heart, was very nice to the young man who hung out with us for a while but eventually took the hint from my pouty and icy demeanor that he should go away. (The young man was so nice that he'd even brought me a cookie. He'd been waiting in my driveway for a little while to give me a cookie. And I was a total brat to him. I shudder at how mean I was then, and am glad that Todd was there to be nice...and that Todd didn't immediately decide that I was a heartless hag and turn heel.)
Once I changed clothes, we set off to explore my favorite town. We wandered all over the university campus and I showed Todd all of my favorite places. Like little tucked away gardens which can only be found by looking for them. You can hide back there while the movers and shakers of the world pass you by. I love it.
When we passed the U store, I insisted we go in. I was so excited when my eyes set upon some colored chalk. "Todd," I said grabbing his arm, "we need this chalk!" Inside I was begging him to understand why we would need colored chalk. When he responded with, "Yes, we do!", I wanted to pounce on him and give him a big hug for knowing how to play.
Really, so few people understand playing. It makes me sad.
So, we purchased our chalk and found a sidewalk just off campus by the train station. (We played snail for any purveyors of hopscotch like games out there.) Apparently chalk decorations are not encouraged upon the sidewalks of the Princeton University campus. From there, we wandered back across campus until we arrived at the fountain. It was dark by this time and the lights of the fountain were on. It wasn't a particularly warm night, so the fountain wasn't overly crowded, but it was pleasant.
So, pleasant that as Todd stood at the edge of the fountain, I pushed him in. And as he laughed and reached up his hand to have me help him out, he pulled me in as well. And as we sat in the water laughing, I fell in love with Todd Smith.
We laughed and squished all the way back to my apartment where we changed into dry clothes and I drove him home. We had been having some really great discussions and while stopped at a gas station he said very seriously, "Emilia?"
I kid you not when I say that I actually stopped breathing for a moment as I waited to hear what amazing and important thing he was going to so earnestly add to our discussion. At which point he held up his Snapple bottle and said, "Never settle for less than 15% juice."
I think I swatted him arm and laughed the laugh of the disappointed and slightly relieved.
While on the drive, apparently someone decided it was monsoon season in NJ and the heavens poured rain upon us the likes of which I have rarely seen. What should have taken and hour took closer to two and left me exhausted when we reached his parent's house. I ended up spending the night on a pull out sofa and borrowing some clothes from his sister so I could go to work the next day.
An unconventional end to the day, but I found myself smiling for my whole exhausting day with middle school kids, just thinking about Todd.
When I arrived home, I realized that he had left his wet clothes at my apartment the previous night. I hung them up to dry. And that evening, I crawled into bed with Todd's plaid shirt next to me like a favorite blanket. It smelled like him, so I wanted it.
In fact, I didn't wash it until a few days later when it no longer smelled like him.
And, of course, I had to see him one more time before I left for Wyoming, so I could return his clothes. Because why mail something, or just drop it by when you can use it as bait to get a boy to come back?
I am so sneaky.