I got it, I got it I got your number on the wall I got it, I got it For a good time, for a good time CALL!
They say Spring is a time when hope blooms eternal. A time for old friends to reacquaint. A time for new beginnings. And a time for love
Well, 3 outta 4 ain't bad
This past Spring I began my journey into graduate studies. It was a hell of a semester... January to May saw some crazy happenings. But how the semester ended... was one for the record books...
KAT AND STEPH
On May 14, 2007 -- the last day of the semester -- I had a powerpoint presentation due. Problem was.... I'd never done powerpoint before. Hell, my computer's without the damn thing. But my colleague buddy Kat had just worked with it, and had the program on her computer as well. She invited me over to her apartment. But she only knew the basics. My other colleague, Stephanie, knows powerpoint like a junkie knows crack
Did I mention, by the way, that I once had HUGE crushes on both Kat and Steph? Unfortunately for me, I'd discover later on that each one was already taken
But before I get ahead of myself, lemme share the back story with these two ladies
I met Kat in 2003 while we were doing our undergrad studies. I liked her right away. Funny, fun, smart and very cute. We passed notes to each other in class a lot. You know how boring those lectures can be, after all
I really liked her, but of course, later that Fall of '03 I found out she was seeing someone
We had some other classes together in 2004 and 2005. But in 2006 we fell out of touch a bit. She invited me to her graduation December '06 but it landed on the same day as my niece's Birthday. This past Spring '07, we shared a 3 hour Monday evening class and ended up doing a lot of field work outside school as partners. That boyfriend she met in Fall of '03... they are still going strong
Steph and I met January 2007. It is a story eerily similar to Kat's. Funny, fun, smart and not just cute -- but gorgeous, too. First day of the Spring semester I came to class a smidgen late and took the empty seat next to her. In the hopes of establishing a classroom community right away, our professor began by asking us to find a partner and discover a thing or two about one another
At this point I had yet to really see Steph, but just by walking in and seeing her profile my "Hot Chick" radar went off. And when she turned to face me... she did not disappoint. The strange thing is, in that brief moment of silence where we exchanged glances I somehow had the funny feeling we'd known each other from long ago
Our rapport was incredibly natural. We became buddies that day. She was SO enthusiastic whenever we talked. They say the pupil dilates when we see someone we're attracted to. I have no doubt mine did that day, and for the record, hers did too. I thought maybe I was onto something here, but alas...
During break one time Steph took out this HUGE banana. She brought the thing up to her mouth and before taking a bite, she looked at me and said with a chuckle, "Steve, you think this is big enough?"
"Steph, I don't think you can handle it," I said jokingly
She smiled, said nothing and took a bite
The very next moment we'd talk about our course work. That was the kind of relationship we had.... we could jump freely from topic to topic... like two life-long best friends. And I was cool with the idea of being just good friends. But as time passed I could not deny that I was falling for this girl, and falling for her FAST (We sat next to each other for six hours a week!). It was like a snowball rolling downhill. It was too late to stop what had already started...
LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION?
5 weeks later, in early March my thespian pals Jen and Dan invited me to come watch them tear the house down in their upcoming school play (yup, same two from Playback). I picked the Tuesday night showing at 7 intentionally, since me, Jeannette (same from Resurrection) and Steph had a class together that ended at 6:45 on Tuesday nights. Clever, huh? I'd sent them email invitations. Unfortunately (or maybe not...) Jeannette said she'd be busy that night. That leaves Steph....
Tuesday night then, March 6, 2007. When our evening class let out, the three of us walked over to the University library. Steph and Jeannette needed to grab some research books. Jeannette had to rush home afterwards. But Steph was still unsure of the play tonight. On one hand, she wanted to because it was based on one of her favorite novels. On the other hand, she was clearly hesitant, and I really didn't know the reason why
I told her in advance that although Jeannette couldn't make it, my friend Scott would. After all, Scott, Dan, Jen and I were tight. Scott being there effectively doubled as a non-date situation. Besides, at this point I still didn't know if she was even single or not... a girl THAT good-looking and chill? Surely not...
In the library that evening I invited Steph one more time to join me and my friend Scott. Tickets at the door were still available. She wanted to attend the weekend show with the exclusive author post show Q&A discussion, however. I warned her though that showing might have sold out, knowing what a hot ticket it was
For the first time she seemed a bit awkward around me, not sure of herself what to say or what to do... as if she was hiding some kind of secret (And boy, did she ever...!). Not wanting to be a jerk or anything, I told her I'd go ahead and grab my seat. That I hope to see her join me and Scott, but if not, it's all good
Then... we parted ways
I never saw her again that evening
FOR A GOOD TIME, FOR A GOOD TIME CALL!
I ran to the theatre and met up with my ole boy Scott. It was nice being in that theatre again, even if I was only a spectator that evening. From above where I was sitting I heard a girl screaming my name. Standard procedure, y'see [UH HUH.. -Ed.]
It was good ole Shanice... up in the lighting/sound booth way above the audience. Shanice was one of my co-actors from the school play I was in during the Fall of 2005 (For more on her and Darius, two very interesting cats, see Playback II)
Seeing and talking with Shanice again was just like ole times. Good times
But my thoughts shifted quickly back to Steph. The place was so crowded, had I miss her walking in? Did she slip through the cracks while Shanice and I were catching up?
I decided to call her
A guy picked up and rudely asked who I was, what I wanted with her, the whole nine. An overprotective father, or maybe her brother, p'haps? Finally he turned the phone over to her
"Hey Steph, where you at?"
"I'm home right now. Sorry I couldn't make it"
I told her it was cool, some small talk ensued and that was that
As the house lights faded to darkness I suddenly remembered something Steph had told me when she gave me her number and email....
"Email works best"
Email works best. Better than a phone call. That night I sure found out why
LOOK, DON'T TOUCH
The next time we saw each other I asked her who the guy was. When she said "Oh Steve that was my boyfriend" I ain't gonna lie -- my heart sank a little... or maybe a lot, but I did my best to not let it show. Remember, I am an actor! ;) Well, at least a part-time wannabe, but that's better than nothing in situations like!
"Yeah, I'm sorry you had to go through that. My boyfriend can be weird at times"
"Don't even worry about it. It's all good"
"Sorry Steve. I should have gave you my personal cell. It's 867-5309"
[Very funny -Ed.]
Ah, it all made sense now. The night of the play and everything... I knew it, she was taken. Just my luck. But aneven bigger bombshell waited just over the horizon...
One day in April after our Tuesday evening class, Jeannette, Steph and I were walking to our cars as usual. We parked in different garages that night, so Steph went her way, and me and Jeannette went the other way
"Steve guess what?"
"Uhhhhh.... you won the lottery and you're sharing half the loot with me"
"HAHA SHADDUP! Steph has a son"
"Say wha? OUR STEPH?!?"
"Yeah, I was working at the park this weekend when I saw her with this cute little boy. I asked her if that was her little brother... she said no, he's my five-year-old son"
I was stunned. Why didn't Steph tell me this earlier? (She's 23). I went ahead and sent her a quick email that night. Explained to her that Jeannette told me, and teased her why hadn't she told me this since "I thought we were friends!" But mainly, I told her it was pretty damn amazing she was balancing school, a boyfriend, work, a son AND dealing with a knucklehead like me six hours a week
Before I retired for the evening I found a ginormous 1MB reply in my mailbox...
Hi Steve, Yeah my boyfriend (the guy you spoke to) and I decided to take the untraditional route but it's working out fine. It's definitely hard being a parent, working, and going to school but I'm managing fine. My son keeps me focused.
Of course I was going to tell you but usually I could straight out say it like "My son and I went out over the weekend and we..." But sometimes I don't get the chance to mention him and people just assume I'm a regular college student. However, then I mention I have a son and people are usually shocked and they try to play it off like it's nothing.
Anywhooo, I actually had a strange experience one time with a girl when I told her I have a son and I know I shouldn't let it affect me but it sometimes does. Basically we were classmates and she wanted to hang out some time after school. But I told her "I'm going to be busy with my son." The girl had this look on her face like "Oh My Gosh" and from then on she always acted strange/awkward around me. Thus, I always have this anxiety of telling people I have a son for fear of exclusion. I think it's one of those things that carried over from high school but believe me, I love talking about my son and with people outside of school I could go on and on. I don't know, it's simply a phenomenon! Therefore I sometimes just like keeping my personal life personal. It's less complicated.
Well there's my story but don't fret, I would have mentioned my son to you sooner or later. But thanks Steve for being understanding!
Take Care, Steph
And she attached a picture of her little man. Cute kid... not surprised... good genes!
I really know how to pick 'em eh? I joked with her "Don't worry, I'm already weird to begin with!" After these events, our friendship became stronger and my crush on her faded, although I was always attracted to her... just no longer in that sort of way. Hey, you can always admire beauty for beauty itself, ya kno?
And I finally realized the reason why she was so hesitant the night I'd invited her to join me and Scott. Home and family was calling. And no wonder her boyfriend was so anal toward me... if I had a girlfriend of 7+ years and a 5-year-old son, I too would be pretty curious to any guy calling my girl, let alone calling at the dinner hour
BACK TO THE FUTURE (MAY 2007)
That day, as Kat and I fiddled on her computer, I told her I wish Steph was here to help us out with the finer details on powerpoint. She asked me Steph who? And remarkably, it turns out they know each other from a class they had in 2005. They even did a group project here at Kat's place! Shoot, I've heard about this being a small world, but this is ridiculous!
Before I knew it, we called Steph. She happened to be in the area, and swung by to lend a helping hand....
SO BASICALLY, the two girls I once really really REALLY liked -- were helping me on my powerpoint FINAL in Kat's bedroom. Her boyfriend Mike was at work so it was just the 3 of us working, talking and laughing. Just imagine -- if you will -- being in your crush's bedroom, and the two girls you like the most are there by your side, almost literally knee-to-knee. You're sitting at the computer sandwiched between these two beauties, one honey sitting to your left, the other to your right. They team up against you like girls often do. You tease 'em back. Fun is had by all. But alas, they're both WAY, WAY, WAAAY off limits......
Damn is right, Ron
It was bittersweet, but ultimately, sweet. I took the good with the bad, no doubt
We were toying around on my powerpoint for half an hour. Steph showed me all the cool tricks. Then it was time for us to get to class. Kat lives a block away from University. We walked to campus together, talking excitedly about the end of the semester, the future, and all that good stuff. You know how May is for college students. Always a stressful yet exciting time
A couple nights later, I went back to Kat's place to work on my powerpoint. Her boyfriend was there so I finally met the dude; nice guy, lucky guy. While they did their thing (watching a movie, smoking from their hookah) in the living room, I slaved away on my powerpoint in Kat's bedroom. I was determined to make the best powerpoint I could, and was at it from 7:30 to 11:30!!! Four straight non-stop hardcore hours of rearranging, countless tinkering to make each slide JUST RIGHT, etc. I was almost finished when Kat came in
"I'm sorry Steve but I'm kicking you out. Me and Mike we're pooped"
I looked at my phone. Almost midnight! Unbelievable -- where did the time go? I was having so much fun putting my life together on this stupid powerpoint presentation that I lost all track of time. Now all that remained was putting in the music to REALLY spruce 'er up!
THE KAT'S PAJAMAS
Kat and I arranged for me to come back the next morning to finish business. Mike was at work this time. One thing led to the next and -- OH OF COURSE NOT! I ain't no home wrecker. Kat was working on an assignment while I polished off my powerpoint. [Is that what they callin' it these days? -Ed.] So we talked, and worked. Halfway through she made me watch a video of an oral presentation she'd given. Knowing the theatre/public speaking background I had, she asked for my feedback. I gave her some tips..... vocal variety, timing, etc.
I also teased her which resulted in my shoulder being punched lightly a couple times with her saying playfully, "STEEEEVE!!" Now you know when a girl does that -- she digs you. Not necessarily always physical, but usually. If not wholly, then possibly even partially. And if not in general, then at least in THAT PARTICULAR moment [.. what.. the.. hell.. are you talkin' bout? -Ed.]
Being a gentleman, especially with her being taken y'see, I sat as close on the edge of her brand-new, double-soft, queen-sized bed as possible. She plopped down and sprawled herself closer to me than she had to (see the visual representation). But I'm no home-wrecker you understand. We went back to our regular positions [Bad choice of words there my friend -Ed.] after the video and 'tip session' concluded
I finished my powerpoint finally! After a total of seven hours, give or take. I told her I'd show her mine if she showed me hers. We did and she said mine was awesome [Again, a horrible choice of words, son -Ed.] THE POWERPOINT I MEAN. Flippin' heck! (We had the same class and professor, but different days)
SHOW TIME... WITH STEPH
On May 14, the last day of the Spring '07 semester, I presented my powerpoint and got lots of laughs (intentional) and cheers. Steph told me, "Alright, yours was better than mine!" We had a competition to see whose powerpoint would be superior... I teased her about what a lousy competitor she was, giving the enemy all the tricks of the (powerpoint) trade and whatnot!
Later that very same day, in my evening class which I shared with Kat, it was poetry night. We all had to write a poem about where we came from, who we are, and where we're going. It was not required to share your poem with the class, but if you'd like to, by all means..
5 seconds passed that felt like 5 minutes. I had it in my mind to share my poem, but I didn't want to lead off. Finally, Gloria, my oldest colleague, stood up and marched to the front of the class. She shared a BEAUTIFUL, just beautiful, poem with us all
When Gloria sat down after a nice ovation, I immediately went next. Did my thing. My poem, filled with humor, elicited laughter from my colleagues. Throughout my reading, Kat kept smiling at me like Nancy Reagan. After I sat down, she went next. It seems whenever I go, I give her the courage to step up. On opening night when we did introductions, after I went guess who went after me? Hey, what are friends for but giving each other the strength to lead a more positive existence? [That's some deep shit right there -Ed.]
SARA'ED TO DEATH
Something else I won't forget that poetry night: witnessing the personal growth of a colleague named Sara. You see, earlier in the semester we had solo presentations. Sara was going 1st, followed by me. I noticed in the beginning of her presentation her knees began shaking. It was a sad sight. I felt really bad for her. She started WHEEZING halfway through. She muttered "sorry" to the class and ran outside
The rest of us sat there in thunderous silence. A moment or two later, my professor headed out to console Sara. When my professor came back, sans Sara, she looked at me and nodded. I got the message loud and clear -- if we waited on her we'd be here til New Years. Halfway through my presentation Sara snuck back into the room. I saw her grab her book bag and whoosh -- she was off again, like the runaway bride
In most studies people list public speaking as their #1 fear, with death being #2. As Jerry Seinfield once said, that means at a funeral they'd rather be in the casket than give the eulogy. I know which one I rather be!
After about 12 poem readings, the pickings got very slim. I looked around and many had been crying from listening to the highly emotional poems. You could hear a pin drop. This went on for a solid minute, MINIMUM. I looked at Kat. Her eyes were red and puffy. She glanced back and through teary eyes gave me a half-smile
And then.... it happened
The moment I saw her stood up I literally got chills. Sara sauntered up to the head of the class, turned to face us all, and read her poem. She was a hair nervous, but gone was the wheezing, as well as the knee-shaking. When she concluded, we gave her a rousing ovation. She stood there proudly clutching the poem by her side, and as she walked back to her seat a faint smile crossed her face
I'll never forget that proud look she had walking back to her seat. It was the perfect way to end an unforgettable semester
On the powerpoint FINAL I got a 50 out of 50. My professor told me it was one of the most creative powerpoints he'd ever seen, and that the song choice was incredibly uplifting. Finished the semester with three A's and an A-
The song I used in my powerpoint was "HOPE" from the COACH CARTER soundtrack. One of my all-time favorite songs, and one of my all-time favorite movies
"I've had it with these snakes on a basketball court!"
As for Kat and Steph, we still keep in touch of course. Kat called me just the other day and we talked for 20 minutes. Steph and I email each other often ("Email works best" after all) just talking about life. It's funny how life works out sometimes. Steph's getting married next year and Kat isn't too far behind. And I already have my speeches prepared
To honor them, you ask?
Rather for when the guy says:
"If there's any reason why these two shouldn't be joined in holy matrimony, speak NOW, or forever hold your PEACE"
Hey, I get two shots... double the odds
HOPE by Twista featuring Faith Evans undefined (4:26)