After that first night I never really drank like that again, I made sure. Sure I might have had a drink or two when Can-Can would drag me down to another one of those parties in the basement but never like I did that. “So you never told me what your major is?” I asked Can-Can two days after the party, the night before we were due to start classes. The first weekend without parents was now finally over as we hung out in our dorm room. “Oh I’m taking the culinary program that’s here for a degree in Culinary Arts. I come from a long line of cooks but I’m hoping to be the first chef among them.” Can-Can answered as she sat on the floor far as she could from the window which exposed the true height our dorm room was at.
“Really? That’s so neat, I burn water. I would love to be able to cook. My brother always writes about how he enjoys our mom sending him home cooked goodies, I wish I could send him something too.” I said enviously of my roommate’s ability. Throughout my whole life I had never made anything that wasn’t burnt or microwaved or well microwaved and burnt. My home ec classes I had failed miserably as I made a lot of inedible things that shouldn’t dared to be called food. “If you want I can send him some stuff while teaching you a thing or two about cooking?” Can-Can offered before asking with a leering grin as she wiggled her eyebrows suggestively “Do you have a photo of said brother?”
Weeks passed by as I started to notice the pink guy from my first day here when he fell off the concrete divider. Trying my best I would observe him in my peripheral view believing that like every other guy that I found attractive, I could never have a chance with him. But that didn’t stop me from wanting that chance and every day that I saw him I wanted it even more and more. I’d daydream in class or when supposed to be working on a project about the first time we would even talk, the witty banter we would have between each other that instant connection with another that I craved so much and then.... “Starry is everything alright?” Froot asked as he snapped me out of a day dream. Fudge my life.
“Yeah sure everything is fine. Why are we down here together and why are we talking? We never talk you usually just talk around me to Can-Can or you just piss off Melon.” I asked making sure that he understood why I didn’t understand his presence. “Piss off Melon? Starry you’ve got to work on your burns.” Froot said as he ignored my question as he continually sat next to me. I really didn’t know that much about him so his sitting next to me randomly talking to me as he basically ignored me since the beginning of school was starting to perturb me. “Oh nothing just had a free class since my teacher went home for the day.” He finally answered a few minutes later after talking about his twin brother who was traveling instead of going to school.
A few times I tried to psyche myself up to talk to him. I didn’t even mention him at all to Can-Can, who was trying her hardest to hook me up with Froot for some reason. It was almost her mission to find me my first boyfriend and she probably would have marched me right up to Mr. Pink one day forcing me to talk to him. As much as I hated it this cynical girl was entirely smitten with a guy that probably forgot about her the same day he saw her. And so I decided to wait until that magical day when he would talk me instead of putting myself out there taking a chance. So instead I listened to Can-Can try to sell me on Froot who I don’t even think he really liked me in the first place as we waited for our laundry to get done in the basement.
Though I didn’t have to wait long to find out as a shadow soon covered me one day and standing right next to me was him blocking the sun light better than the tree that towered over me. As I looked up at him I was pleasantly surprised and a little shocked to see him standing over me with his strange colored eyes staring down right into mine. For a moment neither one of us spoke we just stared at each other almost spellbound until it was broken when he spoke. But not soon enough for me to begin to feel like some clichéd character from a limited story in which the author lacked the writing skills it took to accurately describe what it feels like to get struck by that proverbial lightening bolt and feel what it feels like to experience love at first sight.
“107, 172, 233” He said to me “I umm uhh… what? I don’t understand” I ask in surprise since I was not at all expecting to be spoken to in numbers. Nor could his timing be any worse. This was far from the way that I had imagined it would go “Your hair” He said while pointing to my short blue locks of it. “Those are its hex numbers for its color.”
“Umm okay… thank you?” I replied not sure what else to say to him as he continued to stare fixatedly at me until I began to stare back at him the same way. “I’m… I’m sorry I’m not really all that good at this… I’ll leave you alone right now if you want.” He said after looking away while his hands nervously played with his sleeve’s cuffs as he twiddled the fabric in between his fingers before nervously scratching the back his head while I pushed back my hoodie sleeve and looked at my watch to see the time before replying.
“You don’t have to leave but I do. I have to meet my parents that are coming to visit me this weekend. And you’re not the only one that isn’t good at this sort of thing.” I said awkwardly feeling bad for the guy as I stood up before leaving. I wanted to completely blow off my parents after all it’s not like they didn’t see me every day for eighteen years. But I couldn’t since I kind of needed the money since Can-Can and I pooled the last of our money together last weekend for pizza and other forms of takeout since the cafeteria was closed Saturday and Sunday. Wow that sounds kind of bad I mused while I walked away.
As much as my father hated this city he always assured me that he enjoyed visiting me as he did the normal fatherly things like making sure everything was going fine in school or asking me if I needed any more money. We would usually eat dinner at one of the nicer restaurants and then catch a Milky-Way show downtown. As always over dinner the both of them would pepper me with questions ‘like how was school going? Did I meet anyone new? What was I planning on doing after school was over? Was I going to be staying in Briocheporte or moving somewhere else? Did I know that my great grandfather was a famous painter that was often hired and traveled around the world painting murals?
Most of the questions were usually answered with an “I don’t know yet.” Because well I didn’t know yet, I was still in my first year at school and still had 3 more to go. For all I knew what I planned to do now would be something totally different than what I might be planning to do by the time I graduate. By the time we were done eating and heading to the show I was more than welcoming a few hours of quiet between us. I loved my parents more than anything but with every visit it always seemed like they forgot what it was like to be my age and have the whole world and everything in front of you.
On the way back my mother wanted to look in a store close by to my dorm’s for something that Wisteria had requested that she get when they came to visit me. So my father and I waited in the courtyard of the dormitory as neither of the two of us were fond of department stores. The usuals were outside that night including a girl that I had often spied alongside Mr. Pink and Mr. Hat. Their trio seemed almost impenetrable and here I probably blew my chances with Mr. Pink earlier. But she was alone on the phone and oddly my father noticed her. “Who is that?” He asked with a nod over to her. “I have no clue why?” I asked him back while he watched her feeling only slightly creeped out. “I don’t know I just have the feeling that I’ve met her before.” My dad answered as an unpleasant though entered my head.
“Umm no you haven’t she is like Porfirio and Wisteria’s age so no you haven’t. Oh my Berry you didn’t did you?” Now the thought was there and I couldn’t refrain from saying it out loud “Did what?” He asked me back in confusion “I can’t believe you did that to mom twice. Is she my sister? I have another sister.”
“No. I haven’t don’t be ridiculous. Now look here comes your mother please be serious and knock it off.” My dad said almost angrily as the conversation immediately ended and a nice evening ended quite awkwardly.
Eventually cafeteria food lost its appeal quite quickly and I was having lunch on and off with my cousin Shadow Sea, who always seemed to know where a cool restaurant just opened somewhere. Half the time I tried to arrange it so we’d be eating close to the school to maybe run into Mr. Pink who hadn’t talked to me since that Friday a few weeks back when my parents came to visit.
“You like someone don’t you?” Shadow Sea asked while we grabbed lunch from a food truck. Their burritos were to die for at this rate I was going to pack on those freshmen 15 really quickly. “I do not!” I protested which only made Shadow Sea smirk “Ok maybe I do but I doubt that he even knows I’m alive.”
“What’s his name?” He asked me as we sat down at a table and began to eat. “I don’t really know. I haven’t really told anyone that I like him.” I admitted before taking a bite of greasy goodness. Berry I loved these things. The rest of the students from my school milled around during the class break, some of them getting lunch others only having enough time to make a quick run to their lockers.
But one particular head a mix of a shade of bright and pastel pink caught my eye next to a purple and blue one. Alright so there was a reason why I suggested Shadow Sea to meet me around my school for lunch. From my peripheral vision I saw Shadow Sea turn around and look towards where my gaze had settled on moments ago. “Please tell me you are not looking at him.”
“Oh umm no I am totally not looking at that pink guy over there. No I am looking at the uhh umm the rainbow colored guy.” I lied through my teeth hoping that Shadow Sea would believe that I was checking out Froot, but he didn’t “Starry that guy is so not your type or mine for that matter. Pinkie over there went to St. Honoré Prep with me for not even a month before his Aunt pulled him out of school. Even though he’s a year above me by the end of his first day everyone knew who he was. For the first few days he wore literally his pajamas every day. From a robe to slippers, bunny ones if memory serves me right. And then when they finally got him to wear the uniform you know what he did? He wore it but it had been taken apart and stapled back together. Apparently he did something besides that and got kicked out or something like that I don’t know. But it was really bad apparently because they wouldn’t even let him retrieve his belonging from his locker.”
“Oh really? Aren’t you the little gossip Shadow Sea? I would have never guessed.” I teased as he stuck his tongue out at me while I laughed at him.
“Don’t tell me you’re stalking him. I should have known there was a reason why you wanted to eat here instead of at that nifty indoor retro drivethru place I suggested.” Shadow sighed as he picked at his food a bowl of clam chowder of all things to get from a food truck. “It’s not considered stalking if you live in the same building and go to the same school it’s called coincidence.” I argued using my hopefully sound logic and wit before turning the conversation “So what about you? How’s your love life treating you?”
“Oh you know same old, same old.” Shadow Sea replied rather quickly as he looked away almost mirroring the way that I had acted not even ten minutes ago. “Are you still undecided?” I questioned in curiosity. “No, yes, well no. It’s just that… I know what I want but I don’t know if I have the guts to go for it especially when half the time I don’t know who I am.” He answered as I watched Sanguinello friends meet up with him after Froot walked away. “Shadow you should know what you want by now.” I replied incredulously after all we were 18 years old now and the guy still was undecided about practically everything in his life expect for filming. Seriously if you were to put two different bowls of cereal and tell him to pick one, he’d be there all day.
“It’s difficult to explain but in the simplest terms you know that feeling you get when you see a person you’re attracted to?” He asked before continuing on without waiting for an answer “Well I’ve never had that with either girls or guys, Berry knows I’ve tried to date few of each but I never get beyond that first date or first show of affection before I’ve already made up in my mind that this one really, really isn’t for me. I mean what if I make a decision and it affects the rest of my life and for the rest of that life I am unhappy?”
“I think you are really making this out harder than it has to be Shadow Sea.” I started to say before he quickly interrupted me “That’s because you already know what you want and who you want. I on the other hand don’t really know what I want to wake up to every day for the rest of my life and it perplexes me because like you said I’m 18 and I have yet to meet an individual that sways me to a certain side or be in a relationship that lasts longer than one date.”
“Why do you even need to be swayed to any side? Couldn't you just pick both? Things don't have to be one way or the other. And the reason why you haven't been in a relationship longer than a date is before you're too picky. Remember your last one? You ended it not even half way through because they ate some food off of your plate.” I retorted feeling like the conversation was just beginning to go into circles. “Because it’s like the popsicle incident.” He began to mention which brought me back to the day we spent almost two hours in a grocery store’s frozen food section while he debated over two boxes of popsicles, refusing to even buy both of them. And buy the time he decided they were both melted on the inside. “Both have things I like but I can only choose one to spend the rest of my life with eventually. If I pick the crayon scribblers and spend the rest of my days looking for the best flavored crayon scribbler popsicle when I should have picked rocket pops all along then it’s just one big waste of life.”
Even though his reasoning may have not made sense to me or probably the rest of the world when something the answer to it was a clear as day, I had to appreciate the amount that he did care about this. In his black and white world where everything always had its place and time, he had slowly made everything gray with his constant decision obsessing.