Sometime after Six P.M. on a Thursday and the bastards have scheduled a Friday test on the Declaration of Independence or some other important pre-Constitution political document. I am hazy on the details; I have not studied and in fact have not even gone so far as to visit the University’s bookstore to purchase the textbook. You stand there in your gallery filled with works I can’t remember, works made up of pieces of other works that occasionally come alive and speak. The gallery is nearly empty, and you seem to have taken a special interest that I’ve come out in the snow to see you. You talk at length about your oeuvre, but based on my insufficient memories it’s clearly you I’m interested in.
Time passes in a blur, and your exhibition continues. People begin to shuffle in. You understandably take the time to talk with them, to tell them the same sorts of things you would tell me, and knowing that I can’t monopolize you, I head to the door. You call back to me that there’s a concert tonight, and it’s going to be grand. Would I meet up with you in a friend’s room in a couple hours? Sure. Of course. Why do you even need to ask. You stupid, wonderful girl.
Meantime, I have new student bullshit to attend to. Upperclassmen, acting with forced joviality on an ancient stage in a colored auditorium, put on skits for us advising us not to get (a) pregnant or (b) AIDS. To hammer home the point, an instructional video is added. One of the case studies is of a young man—probably quite like us—who got drunk and went to an unlicensed tattoo parlor and his current incurable blood disease stems from that very night. It’s grim and in poor taste and I leave early after they break out the pictures of the foot lesions. I wander in the cold. It’s not time for us to meet yet.
And then it is your friend’s room, and you look more like I remember you looking than you did in the gallery, less hawk-nosed, more the pleasant young Bohemian I’ve come to love over these many years. Mount Washington would be visible through the left-hand wall. It is hypothetically a beautiful view but the only thing there now is a poster of the Cure, and I am left with the keen and certain knowledge that I cannot name a single song the Cure ever did, and in fact I am not even sure whether the “The” should be capitalized as being part of their name or not. The words “integrated article” run through my mind, but I am not even certain if they apply here. So much for Advanced Placement English.
We chat again. Bullshit, but loaded bullshit, filled with uncomfortable pauses where the words “I love you, I love you, I have always always loved you” should be. We talk about the concert. Silently I worry about the stupid Declaration of Independence, but I comfort myself with the fact that I can picture the spot in the bookstore where the book I am supposed to be studying would be were I to at some point go to buy it, so there’s a link there, and right now that has to do.
The concert approaches. You need time to get a little readied up, but we can meet again. I ask if you’re still in the same dorm you were over the summer, but you’ve apparently been saving and snagged a spot in the University apartments, that sort of weird hybrid between dormitory and real life that the school maintains as a sort of freeway on-ramp to the world beyond. You give me complicated directions I cannot understand, two separate attempts using landmarks I can’t even locate and I leave the interaction with nothing but a foreign street name and hope in my pockets. I don’t know why I’m so confident I’ll find you, but I am.
Back in the cold, I wander. There’s a test I need to be studying for tomorrow and I’m not even sure what time it’s at, but it’s not happening tonight. I’m going to a concert with you in about an hour, if I can even find your place. I doubt that I can. But that doesn’t matter so much. Ever since I saw Mount Washington through the walls of your friend’s room, I have known that I would fail for you, tomorrow and tonight, and that is how much I care. I’m setting myself up for a breakdown, a test I shan’t pass because I haven’t even bought the book yet, all for the promise of a concert that I won’t attend because I’ll never find your room and I’ll roam all night in the snow because I could never turn down the idea of going out with you in a million years because I love you so much.
I’d fail for you, kid. That is how much I love you.