This is the sky as I saw it when I woke up this morning. Actually, that's not exactly true. It was much darker when I woke up this morning. I had to wait until after I got to work for the sky to be light enough to take a picture, so this is the sky as I see it from my desk. But, as you can see, it's all cloudy and rainy and sad looking.
I love this weather. I mean, I despise being cold, but I love what this weather brings with it. And it also means I can wear my fabulous collection of scarves and hats without being looked at like I'm totally nuts. Also, I can wear my totally awesome coat because the wind chill when it's rainy in November makes it unbearably cold for my small, anemic self.
In honor of the weather though, I've decided to write about a moment that ruined forever a dream that I had in my girlish, naive little heart. I promise it's not nearly as depressing as it sounds. I'm just not sure where to begin.
In college...no, that's all wrong. I'll have to go further back than that or you'll never understand the significance. Forgive my lack of organization in the re-telling of this story. The complete and utter destruction of this particular fancy leaves me a little disoriented when I think of it. Also, it makes me laugh.
Alright, so...when I was a little girl I was watching some silly movie on TV with my parents. I don't remember the name of the movie. I don't remember the actors in the movie. I don't even recall what the movie was about. The only thing that ever stuck with me from this movie was a scene that struck me then as utterly perfect.
Two teenagers, a boy and girl, were walking hand and hand through a park. I'm assuming it was Central Park. I'm actually pretty sure that it took place in New York City. Anyway, the trees and leaves were all beautiful, wonderful colors: reds and oranges and yellows and golds that burst in brightness and beauty and the picture dazzled my mind. They were laughing and seemed completely happy. And watching them as they walked through all of those leaves and kicked them up as they walked and then they stopped and kissed, I knew that I wanted that moment for myself. I knew that I wanted it to happen to me.
Imagine my disappointment when I realized that living in Jacksonville, Florida was never going to help me have my moment. Florida has palm trees and trees that never turn pretty colors. For all intents and purposes, Florida doesn't have an Autumn at all. It doesn't even really have a Winter. And when we back to Texas, I found after a year that this state, too, would leave me disappointed in my dreams.
I used to write about it in my diaries, and I blogged about it in my first blog that I wrote when I was sixteen. I was obsessed with this moment for years. Even High School Boyfriend knew about it, and he laughed and thought it was funny because I was wishing for the impossible as far as Texas weather was concerned. But I was determined that one day I would find it.
Then I went off to college and High School Boyfriend and I broke up and went our separate ways. I wound up at the same university as a boy I had liked when I was sixteen whom I competed against in Poetry and Prose Interpretation for U.I.L. and also in O.A.P. Though I'd always thought he was an arrogant boy, I couldn't help liking him because he was attractive and intelligent and talented, which made his arrogance more tolerable. We'd talked a lot, but nothing ever came of it because we lived in different towns and nobody can support a relationship on seeing each other for a few hours on Saturdays a couple of days a month. Especially when you are competing with one another for the same trophy. But at Texas State University, we were no longer competing and we lived within a five minute walk from one another. It was only natural that we started hanging out frequently.
His best friend and my older sister had been dating for a couple of years at that point, and since he frequently visited his friend, he saw a lot of my sister. I suppose she talked to him and told him all about me, because I can't imagine he would have taken me to the area that he did if he hadn't had prior information.
One evening in early October he met me after my one and only night class which dismissed at nine, and he walked me to my dorm so I could put up my things, and said he had something to show me. I'll admit, I'm not very trusting when it comes to boys, and so I tucked my pepper spray in my pocket, just in case. And I felt completely justified in my precaution when he took me to Sewell Park on campus. It was abandoned that time of night. The San Marcos River cut through the park, but it was too cold this time of year to swim, especially at night, and this night was a little chilly for October. I had worn a black corduroy blazer and a scarf and hat to help block the chill.
I felt a little nervous when we cut off the path to the left and went on a little hiking trail through some trees. This definitely did not seem like a very safe idea, and just as I was about to make an excuse to turn tail and run, we turned a corner and I gasped in delight.
I was standing in the middle of Autumn. Real, true, brightly colored and beautiful Autumn, and in the middle of Texas when I'd been sure for years that there was no such thing as pretty leaves inside our borders. I picked up a handful of the ones that had fallen and smelled them. I found that what I'd heard was true: when you smell fallen leaves that haven't turned brown yet, they smell like spices. Yummy.
Now, I wasn't interested in this boy to such a degree that I wanted to kiss him. I'd only ever kissed one boy by that time, and he had been my boyfriend, and so I wasn't even thinking about this being that moment that I saw in that movie that started this whole obsession with Autumn. I was just thinking that if I found it in Texas, then it had to exist in other places outside of TSU, and that one day I could definitely have my kiss. So when he started chasing me through the leaves and throwing handfuls of them at me, I wasn't particularly concerned.
We played for an hour, and then I stretched out in the middle of a particularly covered patch and looked up at the sky. There weren't any clouds, and though we were in the city, I could see the stars. When he took a spot next to me, I didn't mind because I vaguely liked him, and he was my friend as well, and it was a good feeling to have fun when you hadn't been expecting it.
But I was incredibly surprised when he suddenly leaned over me and kissed me. Up until that very moment, I was ideally convinced that there was no such thing as a good or bad kisser. The pleasure someone found in a kiss was all dependent on how much you liked that person, so if you kissed a stranger you wouldn't enjoy nearly as much as if you kissed someone you loved.
I discovered I was dead wrong. His lips were small and thin and I felt like I was kissing a skull. If that wasn't bad enough, he jammed his tongue into my mouth, without warning and before I even had time to get over my shock, and ran it over my teeth before gagging me by sticking it down my throat. I've never been more thankful in my life that my cell phone rang with my father's ringtone, and I apologized, trying not to laugh, as I answered.
Needless to say, that put an end to the evening and I said I had an early class and had to head back. He offered to walk me, and I immediately feared he'd try to give me another kiss at the dorm, and so I declined and said it was out of his way.
When I was safely outside of Butler Hall I burst into a fit of laughter and sat on the steps for ten minutes, mourning the complete and utter ruins my little romantic dream had been turned into, but still laughing because...well, honestly, how had he gotten such a reputation at UIL for being such a great kisser and he always had girls around him vying for his affections when he kissed like that? It just made absolutely no sense, and I could not for the life of me understand who had ever said he was a good kisser.
When I made it back up to my room I was still laughing over the whole thing and my roommate, who had been a surprisingly easy person to get along with though I really didn't like hanging out with other girls, laughed with me when I relayed the whole story.
"So he just kissed you? He didn't even try to hold your hand first?"
"Yeah, he just went in for the kill and just...failed. Epically."
"Well, I've learned to stop romanticizing. He's killed my romantic notions with one deadly kiss."
We giggled some more and then headed over to the boys side of our dorm, which was stylishly co-ed unlike the dorm across the street that was all girls, and relayed the story to our friends. They felt obliged to apologize for his massacre of my dreams and offered to take me back out there and make it up to me.
"Thank you, boys, but I think I've had more than enough wooing for one night. I think I'm going to just have a pop-tart and go to bed."
And that, my friends, is exactly how my ideals of Autumn have become restricted to enjoying the scenery, but I still feel like, if I ever get married, I should like to be married in the middle of Upstate New York surrounded by pretty colors.
Oh, and though he was a bad kisser, I still liked him a little and thought that if we wound up dating I could teach him to kiss properly. Unfortunately, we had plans that Halloween but he canceled at the last minute to hang out with some of his guy friends, and I was too pissed to ever talk to him again. But that Halloween also wound up being very fun, and I'll share that another time.