* * * *
I still remember the first time he came with his roommate, Dallin. They didn't give us a solid lesson, but we had a nice visit with them. Shayla (my roommate) and I had been watching A Walk to Remember and Brian gave us ruthless crap about being curled up in blankets, watching it. I liked Brian from the beginning. I thought he was funny and quick-witted. I remember as him and Dallin left, I thought to myself that I could see myself being friends with Brian Weller. I even said to Shayla as they shut the door,
"I liked that blonde kid." (I already had forgotten his name) "He's pretty funny. And he is pretty cute too, actually."
But a month passed and we didn't become friends. I saw him at the gym a few days before Christmas break and attempted to be friendly, but that basically backfired. It was slightly embarrassing because a guy was following me around the gym, videotaping me. It was my freshman year of college and I was part of a group called 'The Fab Freshmen'. The university was making a series of videos to put online, basically to document our first year at college. Since I spent a good majority of my free time at the gym, that is where we decided to do some of the filming for my part in the video. So after getting some clips of me running on the indoor track, we headed upstairs to the weights. The man with the video camera was walking in front of me. Then I saw my blonde home teacher walking toward us. He said hi to the man with the video camera. They knew each other. Then I smiled at Brian and waved my dorky wave even though I was standing right next to him, and let out a very chipper, "hi there!" Brian came to a halt, gave me a very blank stare which made me feel insanely awkward, and replied with an, "Um, hi."
He didn't remember me! He had no idea who I was! Man, I felt like an idiot.
A couple days later after my last final, my mom and sisters were in town doing Christmas shopping and offered to pick me up. So I accepted the offer. As I walked outside through the snow, I spotted my mom's Cadillac parked next to a white Ford Ranger. A blonde boy was sitting inside the Ranger. A blonde boy! Brian Weller! My home teacher! I thought about how just days before I made a fool of myself at the gym by acting like we were best friends and he didn't even remember my face. Well, I didn't want him to see me now and remember. I quickly shuffled through the snow, to my mom's vehicle, and shut the door as fast as I could. I looked back to see my sister, Lexi, with her face pressed against the window, obviously staring at Brian Weller.
"Alexis, don't do that!"
"Well. . .it's not polite to stare."
"Do you know him?"
She was now pointing at him and I swear she hadn't blinked once yet.
"Er. . sort of. I guess. Well. . .he is my home teacher."
Then my mom chimes in,
"Oh really? You should say hi to him."
"No. Really Mom, he's fine. Besides, he doesn't even remember who I am. I tried saying hi the other day."
"What's his name?"
"I think it's Brian."
Lexi had now started pounding on the window, yelling Brian's name, trying very hard to get his attention. I felt my body slide down deeper into the seat.
"Mom, make her stop!"
"What's his last name?"
"I don't remember. Will you please tell Lexi to stop?"
I turned to look out the window and found my eyes meeting with his. I quickly turned away, hoping he hadn't recognized me.
But the boy who I thought didn't recognize me, in fact, did. When I got back to school in January, after a nice Christmas break, I was told by a neighbor girl that Brian Weller found me attractive.
"He doesn't even know who I am."
"Oh believe me, he knows who you are."
And I discovered that he did. The next week in church I paid closer attention and caught him staring at me several times while he sat at the sacrament table. That led to being facebook friends, which led to exchanging phone numbers, which led to a series of texts, which led to him coming over in the evening and playing songs on his guitar, which led to making pizza in my kitchen, which now led to a date. Our first. The first of what would end up being many. Thousands. Maybe even millions.
* * * *
I prance toward the door and pull it open.
His welcoming smile that I am beginning to grow quite fond of greets me.
"Hi! You look really nice."
I brush off this compliment like I do for so many compliments that come from the mouths of males. Compliments are just a form of manipulation. Manipulation so that the male race can get action from girls. I am no idiot. My brain tends to think more like the brain of a boy than that of a girl. So I know from my own instincts and from years of dating that this is how the system works. I have learned the games of the male and so I created my own games to throw back at them. To make it more fun.
"Oh. You look good too. Come in and tell me what we're doing on this date already."
I had sent him a text earlier that day, asking what we were doing but he had shortly replied it was a surprise.
Brian walks into my kitchen and lets out a chuckle,
"I actually don't know what we're doing."
Oh boy. I should have seen this one coming. When he told me it was a surprise that had really meant he had no clue what to do and he was trying to buy time. Looks like we will end up going bowling, which I despise. I am lucky to get a score of 90 in bowling and I am not the kind to be a good sport when it comes to things I lose at. I am not good at playing the ditsy girl who giggles when I get a gutter ball. I am the kind who gets frustrated. And I am not good at acting impressed when my date gets a strike. It makes me angry. Angry that he would bring me on a date to do something that he will obviously beat me at. I have always been a sore loser.
I feel sarcasm bubbling up inside of me. My hands are on my hips. I feel a playful smile creep across my face.
"Oh, I see. So it looks like I'll be going on yet another dinner and a movie date. I am getting to be an expert on those."
Rude of me to act as if I have plenty of other boys I'm going on dates with. A lie as well since I've been on a bit of a drought when it comes to my dating life. Of course there is the boy I have been infatuated with since I moved to Logan, but he never takes me out on dates. He is way too cheap and too much of a jerk. Probably the reason I am infatuated with him. I tend to show interest in the jerks and turn all the super nice boys away. He usually just randomly calls and tells me to come over. Which I usually do. And we cuddle and kiss sometimes. Humiliating, I know. But I feel I almost need him. As a security blanket or something. Then there is one other boy who has recently been taking me out on very nice dates. He actually went to my high school but he was enough older than me that we never really talked. But I can't even tell if he is really interested in me. As far as I can tell, I don't think I'm interested in him as anything more than a friend. He doesn't have much of a sense of humor. But we have nice conversations. Usually about books. So it feels like we have more of a book club going than him actually courting me.
"Hey, now don't get carried away! I'm not taking you on a stupid dinner and movie date. I'm not that lame of a date. I have some things planned," Brian says.
He pulls a notepad out from his jacket pocket.
"Do you have a deck of cards?"
I retrieve a deck of cards from a drawer and he begins shuffling them. I look over at the notepad to find that he has written down date ideas as well as different places to eat for each of the different cards within a card deck. And all the date ideas sound way fun.
Make a model car together and race it.
Bleach colored t-shirts for each other.
Go people watching.
Photo scavenger hunt.
This long list of creative ideas must have taken a good chunk of time to think up. I am impressed. This is when I realize that Brian Weller is a creative guy. And I like that. Creative guys are hard to come across these days. Even the idea of using a deck of cards to decide our fate is a nice creative touch.
He is now holding the cards out for me to choose. The first card I choose is to decide where we will eat. It comes out as Tandoorian Oven. Neither of us have been there. It is a strange Indian food restaurant inside of a gas station. Sounds a bit sketchy, but it will be an adventure. And I always like trying new foods. The second card is to decide what we will do after dinner. The card tells us we will be bleaching t-shirts. Brian tells me he has never actually tried it but that it should be like a tie-dye shirt but reversed. Instead of adding a design of color to a white shirt, we will be bleaching a design into a colored shirt. Sounds cool to me. So I put my coat on, ready for this fun date to begin. But before we leave, Brian asks if I want to see a card trick.
"Sure, you can show me one of your card tricks," I say in a teasing voice and pat his shoulder.
"Hey, don't make fun of me. So I'm kind of a nerd sometimes."
He has me choose a card, shuffles them, and starts going through them to find my card which is hidden somewhere in the deck. He passes my card. I try not to smirk. Then before he flips over another card he says, "Let's make this interesting. What do I get if the next card I turn over is your card?"
I think a moment.
"So if it's not my card, then do I get something?"
"Sure," Brian replies.
"A mix cd."
Mix cds are one of my favorite gifts in the world.
Brian is smiling, "Deal."
Instead of flipping the next card over, he reaches to the cards that have already been flipped and pulls my card out.
"Is this your card?"