I volunteer with the Student Union as a Campus Greeter. Essentially that means I run orientation tours and help first years get acquainted with the next four years of hell. You wouldn't believe some of the things those pour souls say to me. "I plan to finish my degree in two years." "I'm taking four advanced Chemistry labs and seminars." "I plan to study for an hour every night. Time to buckle down, after all." Oh, you pretty things.
In addition to making blissfully ignorant first
years welcome, I also orient foreign exchange students. This was a
separate program that you have to sign up for. A computer
chooses your buddy for you. Pen-palmanship is then established, and then
about ninety percent of the time both people proceeded to never meet
or even chat with each other ever again.
Except for me and Taner.
When we exchanged e-mails the first time, I introduced myself with all the bullshit pleasantries everyone expects but no one appreciates. I don't know if it's a Turkish thing or just a Taner thing, but his reply was a short, clear biography of himself (raised by an uncle, sculptured by the reserves), an outline of his interests and hobbies (cricket and cooking), a summation of his personality (quiet yet sociable), and to top it all off, he attached a picture of himself.
I am embarrassed to admit this, so no one else will ever know but you and I. But I saved that picture in the same folder with all the images of shirtless Taylor Lautner and Fight Club Brad Pitt. I look at Taner's the most. So you can imagine what he looks like.
Since then, I have spent almost every day of the semester with him. True to his word, he's been utterly quiet--almost never says a word--but insists he loves to hear me chat. So I've been just talking at him, the entire time convinced he was zoning out and realizing that I have a double chin when I laugh or that I wipe the side of my nose more often than I make eye contact. So self conscious was I that I turned bright red whenever he smiled. He wasn't reacting to what I said; he was thinking, Christ, she's adorkable. Or something Turkish like that.
But now we were packing up after class and I was chatting idly about tap when he said: "Come with me to Esmerelda's tonight."
"Oh. She a girlfriend?"
"No, no. A bar."
"Never heard of it." I didn't hear my own words because my mind was shrieking too loud.
"It's not far. There are dance lessons before happy hour. I go every Friday."
"Okay. Sounds fun." More like fuck me now, please.
So I excused myself to fall back and regroup. I went home, showered, did my hair again, and spent twice as much diligence on my makeup than usual. My hands kept sweating, so I tore out half the Kleenex box in vain of drying them off. I ran out of time for dinner and nearly missed the bus to get to my Turkish Delight (I didn't realize until now that I've always wanted to say that).
In a hazy blur I paid cover and coat check and found myself in a cinematic crossroads; there, across the dance floor, stood Taner, and the patrons parted to give me the way. Here I imagined myself running at him like Jennifer Grey and he, Patrick Swayze, would sweep me off my feet.
That's pretty much what happened. Well, besides the fact that he came to me and I let him move me around like a marionette.
Apparently we were dancing for an hour. It was the first time neither of us said a thing and I saw so much more. He spoke with his eyes and his hands, and he guided me with them far better than anyone could have verbally. Under his finger tips I felt how nervous he was at times, too, just by their heat and their moisture, the way they shook when he grabbed my hand. Whenever we made eye contact he smiled, and it looked strained, like he wasn't strong enough to hold it long. I learned the dance quickly.
Then happy hour began. Being that I had no food in my stomach, I had one cocktail and was just tipsy enough to admit I had at least ten detailed entries of him in my dream diary. Luckily that didn't happen. Luckily he finished his beer and decided it was too hard to come up with words. Luckily he kissed me like we were in a soft core porn. Tentative tongue massages, gentle nips, hand on the hip and everything.
The booze ensured I wasn't even the least bit embarrassed we just did that in a very public place. Instead I grabbed fistfuls of his shirt at his chest and slipped a leg between his while I grinned up at him. "You should teach me dance more often."
I felt him stiffen, which in turn made me squirm a little. "You too."
"You should cook me dinner."
"I can do that."
We got a cab and sat in the back. The entire way he had his hand on my thigh, and scrunched his fingers once in a while like he was making to crawl up my skirt. It kept me wired the entire way to his dorm room. By the time we got there the alcohol had worn off, but not the freedom. So we never actually made dinner. We just gave each other more dancing lessons all night.