After I graduated college in May, I stayed in NJ for another month to fill the permanant sub position for the job that I would be starting in the fall. It was a great chance to get to know the staff, building, and most of all the students that I would be working with the following Fall. My plan was to head out to Wyoming at the end of June and spend one last summer with my family.
I figured after that, I'd be doing grad school in the summer so there wouldn't ever be another chance. Also, to be honest, I wanted to hide in the mountains all by myself. Realistically, in order to make that no-relationship thing work, I needed to get away from everyone. Cowboys, drunks, and cousins are the only men available in my parents' small Wyoming town, so I knew it would be a safe place for me.
I received an email from Todd around this same time in which he indicated that his summer plans fell through and he would be back in NJ. So we decided to get together to "do lunch" one day. Which actually became more of a dinner thing. He was working at a law firm in Newark, but left work a little early and met me at my school where I had stayed a little late cleaning out "my" classroom.
I had giggled nervously to the band teacher that day, "Um, I think I have a date tonight. With the first boy I had a crush on. And then hated. I haven't seen him five years." The band teacher looked at me like I was a little bit crazy. We'd known one another for all of three weeks.
I met Todd out in the school parking lot, where he arrived driving his parents' blue van that I'd ridden in when we were teenagers. I smiled at the familiarity of his sillouhette as he pulled in, and when he stepped out, my first thought was, "Todd got his grown up face!" He didn't look old, but he didn't look like a boy anymore, and somehow this made me a little shy.
We hugged and he hopped into my car so we could find a place to eat. As a poor, starving college student, I didn't know of any places to eat, so we somehow ended up at Friendly's for old time's sake. (We used to go to a Friendly's after Stake Youth Dances when we were teenagers.)
This was another weird moment that completely freaked me out. As we were driving, I looked over at Todd who had those little white flecks at the corners of his mouth that marked someone who hadn't had enough to drink that day. I hate that. I've always hated that. My friend's Mom always had that and I thought it was totally gross. Here I was with a guy I hadn't seen in five years and had been mean to for a solid 8 years and the thought that went through my head was, "Hm. Could I really live with that forever?"
I immediately turned back to look at the road and asked him a question or three to get the thought out of my head. I was NOT going to end up with anyone right then. Especially NOT Todd Smith.
Dinner at Friendly's was nice. But I made every dating mistake you could make. He asked about a mutual acquaintance of ours. I had had a rather long and protracted fling with this person. And I told him the whole story. Every single gorey detail. I was a solid 20 minutes into the story when I looked at him, realized what I'd done and said, "Oh. Sorry. That was probably more than you wanted to know."
And he replied with a chuckle, "Yeah. Actually, I really just wondered what he's up to these days."
Despite this faux pas, we finished our meal and went to play at a playground and talk some more.
For me, dates should involve as many hours as possible until one party or the other passes out from sheer exhaustion or has some other pressing engagement to attend. Like work. Around 8:30pm after only about three hours together, Todd and I were both too tired to continue.
So, we said good bye, made plans for him to come down to Princeton to visit the following week, and headed off in our seperate directions. I felt all sorts of calm and well, calm which was highly unusual for me. I'm rarely calm inwardly. I put up an okay front on the outside, but inside I'm usually shrieking! Especially after spending time with a boy.
It didn't even bother me that we were done after so little time together. I told myself at the time that it was because he didn't matter to me like that.
I didn't even begin to consider that it was because Todd Smith is the calm to my crazy and the reason to my reacting.
But I smiled the whole drive home.