I celebrated my 9th anniversary with my boyfriend this month.
We’ve been dating since we were 18 years old, so pretty much my entire adult life. We’ve lived in the same apartment together and we’ve lived on opposite coasts. But our romance started in a college dorm, and a lot of it, especially during that first year, took place in a library.
My boyfriend’s work-study assignment was at the information desk in the periodicals department of one of our university’s libraries. So, pretty often after class, I would swagger in and lean against the desk and talk to him until someone shushed me or he got embarrassed. If his boss or coworkers were around, I’d sit at a table right near him and pretend to study while stealing glances at his messy black hair or crooked glasses. If he had to stay until late, I’d go to my dorm and return in pajama bottoms and oversized hoodies I’d stolen from him.
He’d come over if he could or send me funny texts if he couldn’t. And I loved every minute of it.
But then summer break came, and I moved back home which was more than a 3-hour drive away. Due to the universe trying to stop our love a few unfortunate circumstances (we both had crap cars that wouldn’t necessarily make the journey safely, parental concern, no money for the train or the bus, parents saying no) we didn’t see each other for almost 2 months after school let out. Then I got a call from my roommate, who wanted me to come visit her, and visiting a girl was much more acceptable to my parents than visiting a boy. They said I could go. My dad even drove me all the way there.
My boyfriend only lived a few towns away, and even though it was summer, he was still working at the library. So that first balmy July day, while my roommate was at work, I planned to catch the train to our campus.
Now you have to keep in mind that I had gone from seeing him every single day to not at all ever. I hadn’t seen him in person for 7 whole weeks. And I’m not the kind of person that handles separation well. My body was humming with anxiety and excitement.
I’d looked up the train schedule the night before and calculated the exact trains I’d need to take to maximize the time we got to spend together. But everything that could have gone wrong, did.
(1) My roommate dropped me at the train station late. But not really late. Just late enough that as we pulled up the train (the perfectly timed one I had looked up the night before) was just pulling out of the station.
(2) I bought the wrong train ticket. But I didn’t know until I was already on the next train (WHICH HAD TAKEN 20 MINUTES TO ARRIVE)
(3) I thought I could just buy a new one while on the train. But it was $5 more than it would have been normally. I didn’t have enough cash and they don’t take cards on board.
(4) I got off the train. Bought a new ticket. Then waited for ANOTHER TRAIN!
(5) I called my mom and cried on the platform embarrassing myself in front of all the angry morning commuters.
I finally made it to campus, and I practically ran to the library.
Periodicals were in the basement, but he met me at the entrance and he was staring at me like he’d never seen me before. I wanted to tell him all about my harrowing journey, but he grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the elevator before I could say a word.
We didn’t go down. We went up, to a floor I’ve never been to before, to the part of the library that’s just rows and rows of books. There were floor to ceiling windows and buzzing florescent lights and it was completely deserted. I giggled as we ran down a random aisle and it smelled like sunlight and pages and dust. And that’s where he kissed me for the first time in months.
We totally made out in the stacks.