The Road Taken: Where it Begins

Chapter 7:  After the chocolate peanut butter pie incident, I’m sure you’re thinking, what kind of a guy is G? Why didn’t he ever stand up for me against the housemates? Well, he did in his own way, believe it or not. But before we go any further, it’s only right to take a step back and explain how it all began.  The first time I met G and the first kiss, as disastrous as it was. It’s a story that begins with fingernails. Or the lack of them.

It starts, not with a bang but with a whimper. Ours is not a story of love at first sight, or even second.  It is a story about fingernails that weren’t there. Long fingers with flat, stubby tips and nails chewed to the quick, leaving unsightly exposed nail beds. I’m not talking about my fingers. These were G’s, and I was horrified at the sight.

My college dorm. G's was across the way.

I met G in May, on the very last weekend of my college sophomore year. He was a freshman. I had a number of guy friends on campus, some of whom I’d dated, but G wasn’t among them. There was an heir to a couple of well-known amusement parks. Bryan, an African American who would stand outside my dorm window, shouting “Stella!” as if he was Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire. There was Juan, a Puerto Rican returning student, older than the rest of us, who sold pot and cut hair on the side.  And, there was Doug, a stunning boy with long lashes and soulful eyes, who loved Joni Mitchell’s music as much as I did.  We fell head over heels for each other during an all-night make out session, while listening to the Court and Spark album.

I didn’t know G, but I knew his roommate, Jon, on whom I had a deep crush. The two lived in a dorm in the same quad as mine, on the other side of a pond.  I’d often hang with Jon and his cronies, joining them at meals in the dining hall, and if G was there, too, I couldn’t say I’d noticed.

On the Friday before summer break, Jon and I were having dinner together in the dining hall, chatting about our summer plans. Mine were still up in the air and I hinted that I was considering returning to school early.  I kept gazing flirtatiously into Jon’s brown eyes, taking in his swarthy good looks while hoping he’d get the message that I was hot for him. Which is when, G plunked his tray down on the table.

“Anyone sitting here?” he asked with an exuberant grin on his face.

I looked up at this interloper, who was towering over our table, wracking my brain for a polite way to say, buzz off. He had thick, wire-rimmed glasses, long stringy hair and a full-fledged shnoz. At 6’4”, he was tall, thin and gangly.   As Jon introduced us, my line of vision went directly to his fingers. A feeling of instant repulsion came over me.  I wanted to ask, “What in blazes happened to your fingernails?” But instead, I looked away, feeling annoyed and disappointed that my alone time with Jon had vanished.

Pretty soon others joined our table, including Candace, a freshman from my modern dance class, who was lithe with long auburn hair that looked like something out of a Breck Shampoo ad. It seemed to me, Candace clearly had her eye on Jon.  After dinner, I tried to get Jon’s attention, but that was next to impossible, thanks to Candace.  We left the dining hall and walked to a nearby wooded area, where a couple of joints were passed around.  Soon our foursome paired off, when Candace grabbed Jon’s elbow, leading him deeper into the woods.

I felt as if we were reenacting A Midsummer’s Night Dream. You know, where Lysander thinks he’s in love with Helena and Helena is in love with Demetrius who is in love with—well, you get the picture. It’s all very confusing. Let’s just say that I ended up walking with G, who somehow didn’t mind this turn of events.

One thing I quickly noticed was that G was incredibly smart and witty. As we walked, he was quite effervescent and friendly, finding the humor in just about anything.  As we wandered through the woods I found myself laughing, even bursting into uncontrollable giggles, and getting all teary from our banter. We ended up in the chapel fields, an expansive section of campus where there were three non-denominational places of worship. There, we lay on the grass, looking up at the stars. The solitude felt peaceful. In the silence of the night it occurred to me, that if it wasn’t for my wanton feelings for Jon–and G’s seemingly lack of fingernails–I could easily find myself liking him.

We lingered contentedly in the still of the grass, when, out of nowhere, G’s nail-less fingers swooped down on me, like alien creatures landing from Mars. Pressing me into the ground, G leaned down to kiss me. Aack! I wasn’t ready for this.

I pushed him off and bolted upright.  “Gotta go!” I blurted, as if I had just been contaminated with the killer virus and needed to find the antidote.  “Have a good summer!”

I ran to my dorm room and slammed the door shut.  Relief washed over me. It was almost dawn. In a few hours, my parents would be arriving to take me home for the summer, and I wouldn’t run into G again until September.

And by October, we’d be declaring our undying love for each other.

Missed a chapter? You can read the entire series, by visiting the page, titled, The Road Taken.

28 thoughts on “The Road Taken: Where it Begins

  1. Well, I can honestly say I’ve never had a first meet – or a first kiss – like that. It’s always struck me that nail-biters tend to be quite compulsive. Maybe all of the psychology is getting to me. Either way, I’ll be reading more of your story as soon as I get the time. 🙂

    Oh, and my best friend happens to be a knuckle-cracker. Her habit annoys me to bits, and she seems to know this far too well.


    • I’m so glad you’ve been discovering my story! That’s an interesting take on nail-biters, and perhaps I have to agree. Once you start cracking your knuckles it’s very hard (read, impossible) to stop. Yikes.

  2. Monica, something tells me G won’t turn out to be the “lovah” he appears to be in the post but in the meantime, I like the tender image you’ve painted of him here. He seems like a sweetheart, with or without fingernails! Eek! Nail biters–no self control. And I’m one of them! Yikes! 🙂 I’m ready for the next installment, by the way!

  3. I’m really enjoying this series, Monica…I’m sure it helps to write about how it was with your ex, even if he turned out to be the wrong guy for you!


    • Thank, Wendy, it’s been quite revealing for me to write about this era. I had long buried it, but it’s coming out and I’m even surprising myself with just how much I remember!

  4. Great way to finish! Can’t wait to read the next installment. I started an installment story inspired by yours…based on true experiences…THanks for the inspiration.

    • Thank you! I’m loving the feedback I’ve been getting and all your support encourages me to continue writing my story. Glad that it has inspired you to write your own, too! 🙂

  5. I loved this story. It’s true, nothing is black and white. I’m enjoying getting to know you through your writing. Eventhough we’re family, I don’t think we got to spend too much time together. It’s nice to discover this great cousin I have. 🙂

  6. That is a terrific scene! I love how it builds from revulsion to the idea that G. might at least have some redeeming qualities…until finally the future full of promise and undying love. Great work!

    • Thank you so much, Annie. I’m pleased that you can see what I was trying to get at, to show another side of G and to hopefully explain why I fell for him, fingernails and all.

  7. I’m cracking up! I love this post. Again your descriptions are spot on and take us all to the place and time when this all took place. Even found myself getting a bit ‘grossed out’ by the fingernails. Love it!!!!!!!

    • Thanks, Trisha. Coming from you, that means a lot to me. It’s been hard for me to see past my feelings for my ex today. So it’s really been cathartic to go back to a time when it was good.

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