His art was spectacular, and invigorating. I could spend hours looking at it, admiring each picayune detail, each brush stroke, each color change. His art was what I first fell in love with.
The one art class that we shared was the only one we ever would; our paths would, otherwise, never cross. He was an upperclassmen, and I an infantile freshman. That art class was my only connection to him, and it was the door that led me into a creative world I had never knew. \
At each and every critique, I noticed his pieces the first, without realizing they were his, and commended each and every aspect of it.
I had grown a liking to him, a crush of sorts, which my friends found out about in a game of truths. They told me that I should talk to him. He lent me a dime last year, should I return it to him now? Would he remember it?
His name's Eric. A common name applied to an extraordinarily intuitive boy. I am able to envision him making it as an artist – he won't be a struggling one. But I don't even know if he aspires to be an artist.
He's a senior now, and I'm a sophomore. He's off to university next year. The same one that I plan on applying to my senior year.
I can't help but imagine our meeting, sometimes, on the pathway to our separate classes. I might happen to bump into him as I exit a café, spilling some coffee. And as I express my apologies, I notice his face, and recognition will dawn on my face, as well as his. "Eric, right," I shall say, and he'll reply with a yes and an invitation for a coffee later that week.
But that's inconceivable.
I'm still an underclassmen, but at the university I had dreamed of attending – the same one he is attending.
We crossed paths once, during my first month here. I don't think he recognized me.
I think something in me died.
My luck has been moderate, but when my roommate mentioned an 'Eric' and 'artist' to me, I did not make the clear analysis that her Eric and my Eric were the same. My roommate knew him, liked him, and asked him out. He said yes.
I stood there, confused. Why was I upset that he had said yes? He doesn't know me. I don't know him, technically, either. "That's great! Is he coming over?"
My roommate nods. "He's coming to pick me up. You should say hi."
Knocking ensues not five minutes later, and she runs to open the door.
"Eric, right on time! Come in, come in. I'd like you to meet my roommate."
He enters slowly, taking in his surroundings. His eyes land on me. Recognition flashes in his eyes. He says my name, in astonishment. He knows my name? When did this happen? I don't recall us being introduced. But then again, he must know my name if I know his. We were in the same class after all; my name could have been called at any point and he could have taken note of it – but that was years ago.
"You guys know each other," my roommate exclaims, clearly enthused, "that is fantastic! How do you guys know each other, though? When I mentioned you to her, she didn't even indicate any knowledge of knowing you!"
I begin to answer. He begins to answer. We both stop.
"We went to the same high school," he states.
"Oh, cool. Which high school…" The phone rings, interrupting my roommate. "I'm really sorry, let me go get that." She leaves the room.
An awkward silence transpires after her exit. I clear my throat nervously, as he shuffles his feet.
"I remember your art from high school. It was absolutely astounding. Are you studying art, now," I inquire. The silence has gotten to be a bit too much.
He laughs, "thanks for the compliment. I'm actually studying music in the conservatory. I'm much better at music than I am at art. However, my art, in comparison in yours, suffers greatly. I still remember the portrait, you did, of that woman in the senior citizen's home. It was life-like, and the emotion that radiated off of that piece was enthralling. Are you studying art?"
I laugh. "Thanks, but I want to be a doctor. More money, better life."
"I really liked your art. It's funny, because I developed a crush on your art abilities, of all things, after I saw that portrait."
"What?," I ask. He had a crush on my 'art abilities', like I had a crush on his?
My roommate comes into the room. She seems a bit flustered and worried. "I have to go to the hospital," she states. "I have to go to the hospital. My mom…my mom is in..," she starts crying.
I hug her, telling her it's okay. That her mother will be alright.
Eric looks a bit uncomfortable, but he offers to drive us.
I comfort her in the backseat. When we reach, she wants me to come with her. I tell her I can't, that she must go in alone. She leaves me slowly, and walks steadily towards the hospital, and soon, I see the doors close behind her, obstructing her from my view.
As we wait for her to come back out, or her to tell us to come in, Eric smiles at me.
"This may not be the best of times to tell this to you, but I'm afraid I never will. Your art is not the only thing I fell in love with."
And I laugh, unsure of how to react. My roommate, and my best friends', world was falling apart as we stand, and during this time, Eric is confessing his love for me. This isn't right.
"Eric, thank you for the ride, but I think you should go now. She likes you, too, and putting this on her plate as well as all of what's happening now is too much. She needs me. So please, do her, if not me, a favor and please just go." I don't want to tell him this, but it's essential. This conversation can't be happening now. If he likes me, as he claims he does, he'll wait. He'll realize that right now isn't the time; that I won't react the way he wants me too, the way I want to.
"Fine. I'll go. But I know you like me now, too, and we will be continuing this conversation another time." He gets into his car, and waves a hand, grinning, regardless of the circumstances. The smile doesn't seem to quite reach his eyes, but as he waves his hand one last time, before he speeds off, there is a twinkle in his eye.
I could fall in love with him, but that day won't be today.
As I enter the hospital, the doors close behind me. I put my hands into my coat pocket, and feel this crinkly paper. I take it out, as I walk towards her moms' room. As I read the crinkled sheet of paper he had slipped into my pocket, I laughed.
Don't hesitate to call me. 482-908-3938
That day isn't too far away.