I can never shake the belief that everything really does happen for a reason. Some part of me still tried to reconcile what all that was about. Why did I fall in love with him if it was just so I could press through forgetting about him? No. There had to be some kind of purpose.
My room-mate that semester was my friend Christmas. She had been there when I first met Eddie Kindle. In fact, there was this one time in the very beginnings of my friendship with Eddie when Christmas and I were huffing back up to our dorm on the sidewalk after a run (not that I have ever made a habit out of going for a run) and we crossed paths with Eddie. We had waved hello and, even though he had invited Christmas and I camping at his house the weekend before (and we had gone), he had given us a quizzical look with one raised eyebrow in response. Like he didn't know us. Christmas had waited until we were just out of earshot and then scrunched up her nose at me gasping, "Ugh. I don't think I like him."
At the time I was mostly indifferent. Little did I know.
Because she hated to see me ache, she intentionally interrupted my troubled thoughts, cramming Moulin Rouge into the DVD player and climbing onto my top bunk with me to watch it.
Ah yes. Nothing like the perils of Christian and Satine to remind any girl with a broken heart that it could always be worse. Hey, at least I wasn't dying of tuberculosis!
There there, said the movie to me. You were right. Love is where it's at. And Ewan Mcgregor is still out there being dashing and Scottish and much more debonair than Eddie Kindle could ever hope to be.
I didn't get over him. But I did go to an art showing of my old room mate's lovely paintings with her. We dressed up and pretended like we were as classy as they come. We even took a Charlie's Angels type of posed photo to prove it. Because that's what classy people do.
I threw together a last minute outfit that didn't quite do the 80's any kind of justice and attended a themed school dance with a sweet friend at another college.
I went with Kentucky and another friend to a bench to appear conspicuous and pretend to be spies.
I read children's books with my friends.
And I gave kisses to dinosaurs.
I tried to study.
But I gave in to the temptation to roll down green grassy hills instead more often than not.
And on weekend nights that found me lonely and longing, I put myself and my sweet little sugar glider Aquene in my champagne colored Camry and I drove myself out of town, and over the curvy roads that wended and wound under a canopy of leaves that cast dancing shadows on the river that ran parallel to the gorge. On and on I sailed until I reached my hometown, where I would collapse in the yard of my safe old high-school friends who knew me. There I would forget about school, about being an adult, about Eddie Kindle. I let my heart rest in a balm of puppy piles, grassy blankets, and stars.
I did all of these things and I started to feel a little better.
Occasionally, Rosie and I would see Eddie Kindle's SUV on campus, and we would each nonchalantly grab a windshield wiper and put it up so that they stuck out and looked ridiculous. Not as ridiculous as he had made us feel, mind you, but it was still somewhat satisfying.
I had successfully avoided him all this time, and though it still hurt, I was becoming seriously talented at repression.
Campus Rock had a tendency to do little worship services on the University Center lawn every now and then. They had a loud, concert-ish feel, and despite our general feelings of ambivalence towards Campus Rock, Rosie and I couldn't resist music and warm summery night air.
I met Rosie near the back of the smallish crowd and offered her a bite of my sushi, which she tried, grimaced all the way through it, and then swore never to eat it again. I chuckled and finished the rest of mine up in a hurry so that I could throw away the remnants and get down to the business of being a disruption with Rosie as soon as possible.
We are brilliant at being a disruption, practicing our favorite forms of dancing: skanking and swing.
And then Eddie showed up. He showed up because Rosie had threatened his life if he didn't. Though we were still amazed that he did.
He was jovial enough, but there was something about his chipper demeanor that made it seem almost forced. Something was still amiss.
What was that he was carrying? A trophy? He verified, yes. It was a trophy. Some kind of totem pole face with a feather on it that he won where? Something sports related, no doubt.
After a while he got up to leave us in favor of a card game. But wait a moment, Rosie stopped him.
"No," said she. "You don't need to leave yet. You need to come back here and tell us why you don't talk to us anymore." Her eyes were clear, serious, and strong. And her words hit him with force. He stopped, turned, and came back to us.
Rosie ran over and kicked him in the shins. She demanded a reason once more, and everything that wasn't real fell from his expression until we could see only confusion and a true sorrow in his eyes that held Rosie's gaze heavily for some time, breaking every so often for a split second to glance brokenly at me.
I could offer no rescue for those eyes.
He finally replied with a squeeze of dear Rosie's shoulder and the words, "I ... I don't know how to respond to that so... I'm ... I'm gonna go."
One more set of heavy glances all around, and he left us.
We waited until he was out of earshot and then shook our fists at Leroy Jenkins (our favorite imaginary scapegoat). We grumbled about how much better it would have been had he just lied to us and told us he was busy. Even though it wouldn't have. We never would have believed that.