The four of us ended up back at the dorm sitting on the ever-worn couches in the main lounge. It had been poker night on campus so drunken freshmen staggered through the dorm whooping it up and flashing their fake cash. In between the tribal screams we managed to converse. Things quited down eventually and Sandy and Gail went to bed. Donna and I stayed on the couch talking. Time passed quickly as we talked and talked. The world beyond our couch disappeared. I could have stared at her eyes all night. She was different – deeper than other girls I’d known. She knew who she was. I was taken – absolutely taken with her. She told me about her travels to Europe. She’d gone twice – the first time, as an exchange student to Finland. The second on a backpacking trip around Europe. She spoke with such passion about her time there – not just all the places she visited but people she met. I drummed up the courage to ask her about the guy in the photos. She sighed and explained how they’d been dating steadily for the past two years, but the relationship had stagnated. I tried to act sympathetic but inside I was jumping with joy. The lounge got chilly, so Donna got a blanket from her room. It was nearly three in the morning, but I had more energy than I’d ever known. We saw red lights reflecting on the wall and followed them to the end lounge. From our sixth story window we saw a fire truck parked down the street near a neighboring dorm. There was no smoke, just a bunch of kids standing around in front – another false alarm. Our end lounge was dark, but warm. Donna stood close to me, the blanket bringing us closer. We stood in silence for a long time, watching the revolving red lights reflecting off the shiny street below. She suggested we get some sleep. On my way back to my room, I took another look at the couch where we sat all night. I missed her already. The lounge seemed different now. I quietly opened the door of my room and heard the quiet snoring of my room mate. My world was now a different place.
NEXT: Cruising with the Swedes