My best friend was living in a large city about an hour from where I went to school. She was studying fashion design and had offered to make me a dress for my graduation ceremony. I had completed my general Bachelor of Science and would be receiving my degree that spring.
She made me a lemon yellow dress out of two layers of fabric. The bottom layer was a shiny material that I cannot name and then there was a finer, see through layer that sat over it to give the dress this three dimensional, this is really a fancy dress, kind of appearance. It had a belt at the waist.
We had planned to have her there for my graduation. By this time I was seeing the guy that I met at the party quite regularly and I invited him as well. He went to the actual ceremony, but all I remember about my friends’ visit was that the dress was not finished. She asked me if I had a sewing machine and I had said yes. She had not asked the specific question that she needed to and that was, does your sewing machine have a buttonhole maker, which it didn’t.
We spent her entire visit running around the down town trying to find a seamstress or a sewing machine that she could borrow, or rent or pay for so that she could get the button holes into the dress. At the end of it all, she had to sew the dress onto me for the ceremony. It was gorgeous. My largest regret in this was that we did not actually get any time to spend together, to catch up, to talk about our lives or to just plain hang out. She was working in the other city and had to go back right after graduation.
The guy, on the other hand, was spending an increasing amount of time with me. We both had secured jobs at the university and we would often walk up to the school together in the morning and together on the way home. Neither of us had any close friends living in the city, so our outside friendships seldom interfered with the time we were spending together.
He was very attentive. I would find ‘Far Side’ cartoons taped to the outside of my locker. He would leave handfuls of ‘Smarties’ at my workspace in the lab. Sometimes, I would meet him for lunch.
The campus is gorgeous in the summer. There are no interior roads between the buildings so there are all kinds of green spaces and places to sit and walk. There was an outdoor barbeque that served burgers that you could eat at picnic tables and there were numerous other places to buy and eat food. There is something quite serene about having all of that space that is pedestrian friendly. On days when we packed lunches we could always find a bench or a picnic table or a fresh piece of lawn to sit on while we ate together.
We got into a routine of going out together regularly. On Thursday nights he would go and rent videos and the VCR. You could rent both then and he would come back with three movies, the VCR and a pizza. So we would sit and drink beer, watch movies and have pizza once a week. It was all very cozy.
There were weekend visits to the farmer’s market followed by large brunches that were consumed while reading the weekend newspapers. We did our groceries together, went to the laundromat together and shopped together.
He knew the importance of being a modern man and contributed essentially equally to the chores that needed doing. We were increasingly at my place because he was living in a boarding house. At his place he had a lock on his bedroom door and there were two shared cooking areas and a couple of washrooms for everyone. It was not the sort of place that I would have ever stayed in but I did not put too much stock in the fact that he had chosen this place to live. He knew that it was temporary.
He told me how close he was to his family. Before the summer was over, we hitchhiked to his hometown. This ‘close’ family that he had mentioned, did not seem to know how difficult it was for us to get to their place because they were not around. I know that I was introduced to them, but there was no visit. There were no meals together. Interesting. We went out with his friends from his hometown, people that he had known since high school.
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