The Basic College Crush

I spent most of college only associating with a very small group of people. I had a girlfriend in high school but that ended early into college. We were both just looking for different things. It was relatively mutual. Sophomore year in college, I took a psychology class for fun. We all need so many credits to graduate so I figured why not? Could be interesting enough to not be as miserable as math. I was definitely right about that, but it wasn’t necessarily the class that made it great.

The first day, the professor went through the typical spiel.  Here’s the syllabus, this is how many tests you will have, here’s how the grades go, blah blah blah. He has something different though. He called them “study groups.” We were to meet once a week to complete a homework assignment. At the end of the semester, each group would present on a specific topic as a way study for the cumulative final exam. He would take questions directly from each groups presentation so everyone would know what to study. Seemed like a fair enough idea, though I was weary of how it would turn out. Turns out it went pretty good.

The professor put the groups together himself, listing all the names in a word document that he put on the board for use to read. I scanned the board and found my name, first in the list of three: Mitchel, Emerson, and Travis. Travis was one of the few friends I made and kept. Emerson was a girl the I knew was in our grade but I had not really met her. She was pretty in a simplistic way. Curly hair that she kept in a ponytail most of the time, and bangs the she clearly straightened that hit the top rim of her glasses.  Since all of us had a clear schedule more in the morning, we picked Monday mornings, so that we could meet for breakfast at 9:30 am and get the assignment for the week done ahead of time.

As the weeks went by, the study group wasn’t really a hassle. To begin with, I was already friends with Travis and as we spent time with Emerson in the group, she fit right in. She had these great little quirks about her, like when she would push her glasses up further on her face as they slid off, or how she liked to talk with her hand as if we could hear her better that way. She loved Star Wars, and took every opportunity to connect what we were doing back to it. One day at breakfast, Emerson excused herself to get some more chocolate milk, after we had already finished the assignment.

“I think I’m going to ask her out.” Travis almost spit the words out. If he had held them in any longer, I’m sure he would have imploded.

“When are you going to do that?” I asked, trying my best to cover up my lack of enthusiasm.

“I mean, I was thinking about walking her to class and doing it after this meeting.”

“I don’t think that would be a good idea, Travis,” I stated. My intentions here were more for the sake of the group then for my own benefit, but Emerson got back to the table before I could explain myself further.

“What did I miss?” she asked innocently, as her ponytail swayed from side to side as she sat down.

“Not much,” I responded, attempting to avoid an awkwardness. “We were just talking about plans to go see The Force Awakens after finals.”

“Oh, cool! You guys going with a big group?”

“I mean, so far it’s just me and Travis, but I’m sure we’ve got a couple other people on our floor that will come.”

“Do you think I’d be able to join you guys? I don’t have a ton of friends that enjoy Star Wars how I do.”

“Sure,” I say glancing at Travis. We are definitely going to need to figure this out.

“Yeah, that would be great,” Travis chimes in.

“Awesome! Well, I gotta get to class, but we got time to figure it out. It is only November after all.”

“Yeah, of course, see you in class,” Travis said as she walked to put her dishes up. We waited a couple minutes, and then followed suit. “Why did you stop me? Why don’t you think I should ask her out?” Travis said.

I thought about it for a minute. I didn’t want to offend him, didn’t want him to think I was stopping him because of me, because really I wasn’t. Although I might think it could go somewhere with her, I would never say anything. I’m too positive that there’s no way an awesome woman like that could go for a guy that was in a random study group with her one year. “I think it would be best to wait until we aren’t in a study group anymore. Kind of like how you shouldn’t date coworkers. Not that she would say no, but if she said yes, I would feel like a third wheel to be honest, and if something went down between the two of you before the end of the semester, it might cause some awkwardness in our group.”

“Yeah, I guess I understand where you’re coming from. I’ll wait, then.” As we left the cafeteria, I couldn’t help but wonder what her response would be to that question.

I spent more time than I will ever admit replaying that scenario over in my head. I wonder if I should have told Travis to just go for it. Although I had a good explanation, who knows what my ulterior motives were. What if I had told Travis how I felt about Emerson? Would he get upset? Would it become a fight to see who would win her over? Would that have been more awkward than him or I getting rejected by her? Does she even like either of us? What if she rejected both of us?

I ran through these questions over and over in my head. I had to get the information out somewhere. I couldn’t risk telling my roommate because if word got back to Travis, that would ignite the bomb of awkwardness. So I did the only other thing I could think of. I took to the school’s secret admirer page. I decided that getting all my feelings out there had to help in some way. I wrote and rewrote and rewrote the paragraph I was going to send in. I expanded it and shortened it and spent way to much time and energy trying to make this thing sound great and not be too obvious but leave little hints as to who it was. I came up with this:

Emerson Wyatt, I am so glad we got the opportunity to meet. This semester, getting to know you has been amazing.  I hope to get to know you more in the years we still have left at school. Maybe     in a way that’s more than friends?  Who knows, maybe by the time the new Star Wars comes out, I’ll have the courage to tell you who I am. – Just another guy from one of your classes

I thought that was subtle enough, and at least I got my feelings out there. It might now be everything I expected, but for now it’ll have to do. Maybe sometime soon, I’ll be able to move past the basic college crush phase.

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