One sure tell of Moriah feeling self conscious is her pulling out that childish nickname — Ice Princess. For awhile I thought she liked calling me it, that it was just fun and games. But over time I noticed it only coming up when we were discussing a guy she found attractive. Sometimes she’ll use it in front of one of these guys. I hate that.
She’s always talking to one guy or another. I used to think that that was how all girls were supposed to act. I mean based on TV that’s how we were supposed to be. But I could never get into it. In high school, I could mostly string along the appearance of me being one of those girls because back then the guys were… well they were just boys. Now at college, they felt more adult, more like men that you either had to date or not talk to if you didn’t want to lead them on. After just the first semester, I grew annoyed with this mutual exclusive nature to dealing with the opposite sex. So I just stopped talking to guys outside of class altogether.
Whereas I avoid leading guys on, Moriah loves it. Her favorite thing to complain about is how she doesn’t have a boyfriend, but I think she’d be miserable if she were to actually get one. I think what she secretly enjoys more is stringing them along and feeling desired.
The way she introduces me to guys is the opposite of self-deprecating. When she introduces me, she always does so in a way that explicitly tries to highlight the fact that I’m smarter and prettier and kinder — all her opinion. And it makes everyone feel embarrassed. But she seems to have to do it anytime we’re in the presence of someone’s opinion she desperately cares for. That’s how I can tell if she wants to be friends with someone or likes a guy. The more desperate for their attention she is, the more hyperbolically good she’ll introduce me as.
After dinner, I take a warm shower and then make myself chamomile tea using bottled water and an electric kettle. The water in the dorms is absolutely disgusting so I make sure to always return with a wholesale supply of bottled water whenever returning from home. I sit, staring out the window thinking about the dilemma Moriah’s putting me in. Realistically, I have less than two weeks to decide whether I want to live with her or not next year. This scares me. I open up my laptop and check my email instead.
5 PM on a Saturday with no major sporting event is a beautiful time on campus. None of the staff or faculty are around. It’s also that weird refractory period between the time when students study, but before they start going out to party. During the other seasons, there would be people lounging around outside right now, but due to the harsh conditions, it feels empty. The campus feels like mine. Unlike most other girls who are scared of being assaulted, I am not scared of walking around in the dark on campus. In fact, I feel extremely safe. I don’t know why. I guess I just trust people. It’s weird.
I go to the fitness center. I warm up with four laps around the indoor track, which amounts to a little under half a mile. Then I go lift weights. Today is powerlifting, so low reps, high weights. Squats. And then some auxillary exercises to end with such as the leg extensions machine. And then I go on the eliptical.
I had a dream as a kid that I might go so high on the swing that I might be able to flip around the top bar. Do a full revolution. I would swing in the park near my house for hours at a time trying to do this. And nobody knew that that was what I was trying to do. No grown up at least. If any of them knew, they would’ve probably felt bad for me and told me the truth — that it was impossible — and that I should not waste so much of my time trying. But I’m glad nobody told me that. I had a lot of fun swinging, trying to do the impossible.
I do a similar thing now on the eliptical. I push myself to try to surpass the 200 Beats Per Minute mark. I’ve gotten close. The closest was a 189. Nearly 190! I had been going so hard that time that an employee had to come and ask me if I was okay. They wanted to ask me to slow down, but they didn’t have the nerve to say that, I think. Today, the highest I reach is 175 BPM. It’s not because I’m feeling demoralized or tired or anything. It’s just that the whole campus, this whole day has been nice. Slow. Eerie. And I feel like I’d rather vibrate along with that feeling.
I exit the fitness center and notice that there are now more people around. Not a ton, but more compared to before my workout. I already have my earbuds in and my iPod Touch playing music as I walk towards Burkley Hall, which is far from Welch Hall, but has the best food. They always have a really nice chicken breast, and that’s what I’m craving right now along with some brown rice.
I walk far from the main roads, on the nature trails. A few joggers pass me, and so does a couple people on bikes. The reason why I enjoy these long winter nights, especially over the weekend is because it makes me feel a sense of no urgency. It provides me the sense that I have all the time in the world to do my homework and write my papers. I’m so used to having done my school work when it’s dark outside. Honestly, I can’t really work in the light anyways.
Before I get into Burkley Hall, I see Moriah and Jimmy. They are holding hands and walking by the courtyard right outside the building. I just remember now that they had plans to watch movies tonight. That she had invited me. I don’t know if they are going right now, or if they have just come back. I hide behind the corner of the building and watch to make sure that we don’t end up at Burkley caf together at the same time. I cross my fingers hoping that they are leaving, but it looks like they’re going in. I sigh and turn around and make the twenty minute walk back to Welch hall. There, I run into two girls that I talk to pretty occasionally. They invite me over to sit with them. They’ve already eaten, but they stick around. They seem really nice. After I’m done eating, we all drink coffee together and chat for another 45 minutes. Then I go up to my room, make some Earl Gray, and open up my laptop to begin my paper about the history of computing.