Today is President's Day and we didn't have school. The public schools didn't have school either but the college downtown did.
Tessa, who is currently already examining various schools across the nation and trying to decide where to go, wanted to see the college in action. To help her get a realistic feel of what the school's atmosphere is like, we spent the day downtown - and in classes. Tessa spoke to a friend of hers and found out which classes have a lot of people in them (so that we would blend in) and what times those classes occur and we snuck into them. It was actually a very interesting day. We sat in on an english class and a biology class without being noticed. We tried to sit in on a few humanities classes but there weren't any empty seats from us to squeeze into the classes.
After classes, we just roamed around the campus and into some of the community areas like the library and dining halls. Occasionally, we would meet some new people and speak with them. At one point we ended up on Fraternity Row and quickly left after we found ourselves admist a group of flirting guys.
I'm not sure what Tessa's impression of the college ended up being (I'll have to remember to ask her tomorrow), but she seemed to be enjoying herself and I liked the atmosphere.
It might seem kind of weird that we chose to spend our day off from school on campus and attending classes, but it was an enjoyable experience and I wouldn't mind doing it again. Though, this time, we might do it officially so that we can sit in our specific classes without needing to investigate class sizes in advance.
What is it? I don't even know. Michael seems determined that he has it pinned down and knows exactly what it's like and whether or not he's in it and all of that jazz, but I'm still clueless about what it means and how you recognize it.
I spent the morning discussing it with Nana. She's the most important person in my life right now. Whenever I want to talk about something or I have a problem or..anything really, it's Nana that I go to ad she's always there, ready to listen and offer her wisdom. I would be lost without her.
Today, obviously, we discussed Valentine's Day and the concept of love. Nana's known love. You can hear it in the way she talks about him and the way her whole face changes. Everytime I've gotten Nana talking about that mysterious man she knew "once in a blue moon" (as she loves to say), I swear she looks about ten or twenty years younger. I wish she still had that. I wish that she would have been able to find that again with my grandfather. I would never wish that she hadn't gotten with him - that would present a major problem for my existence - but I do think it would be amazing if they had that connection that Nana's seen and I hope to have some day.
My parents don't have it - I don't think they ever did. Nana's story is from years ago and she still refuses to tell me all of the details.
"Fiction dear. A pure fantasy, fictin novel." She always tells me. "That's all you'd think it was."
I always insist that I'll believe her, but she's persistent in her argument and telling her that she could write a novel if that's the case doesn't work so well. Whoever he was, she met him when she was fifteen and they were part of two completely different worlds - that much I know. Nana says that it wasn't that they were from different worlds such as social class or financial standing, but it was impossible for their parents to see eye to eye and that made it seem like two different worlds.
One day, in my future, I want what Nana had. I'll even take the red tape of parental issues and disagreements. I want to be able to tell my granddaughter what love is and how strong it can be when it flows their your veins and consumes your heart - even if I don't get to keep it. I want someone to listen to me talk about the man that melted my heart and bound it to his eternally and know, that I had seen love. Like my Nana, I want to be able to share wisdom of love.
Living on the beachfront, I never expected to see snow here. Not in Charleston, SC. Even my friends, who have lived here for years on end, keep repeating how incredibly bizarre it is that there is snow falling outside right now. Sure, a couple years ago we had some flurries that you could watch hit the ground and then melt, but this is actual snow.
Jonathan and Michael and the rest of the guys are outside, making snowballs and hiding them in various "arsenals" (Michael's term, not mine) up and down the beach. A massive team snowball fight is about to ensue on Sullivan's. Obviously, we aren't getting as much as the inland areas, but it's still sticking to the sand.
Right now, Tessa and I are inside heating water for hot chocolate and hoping that we don't lose power. The utility lines around here are not built to hold the weight of snow and ice. I'm wondering if Michael is going to have to change any of our Valentine's plans because of the snow. He hasn't told me yet what we're doing which kind of worries me, but I'm excited to find out tomorrow.
We've already taken countless pictures of the snow as though we are all afraid that we are dreaming and when we wake up, we'll realize what a silly dream we've had. Snow angels were made as best as they could be - the snow isn't quite thick enough for them to really stand out. The next thing is the snowball fight and then who knows?
Midnight hates the snow. I opened the door earlier and he ventured out to see what the peculiar white stuff was on the deck. He slowly tip-toed through the door and place a paw out. It wasn't the temperature of the snow that bothered him because he jotted outside. Bounding up onto the chaise, he stalked up and down the lounge until he found the perfect spot. That's when he laid down and I suppose that's when he realized that the cold white element was also capable of producing water and making him wet. Midnight lept up and shot back into the house. It was amusing to watch his animalistic interpretation of the event.
Today was the first day off of the new semester. Michael and I decided to take advantage of it and spent the day together. Cheerleading has been keeping me pretty busy and we haven't really gotten a chance to talk since New Year's. I just kept hoping he wouldn't bring up the "I love you" conversation. I knew it had to happen at some point but that doesn't mean I wasn't diligently avoiding it.
The point is: the conversation had to happen and it did: today.
The day started beautifully. Around 8 this morning, I met him at his house and we had breakfast with his mother before heading out. For the majority of the day, we strolled around Downtown Charleston. Essentially - for the day - we pretende that we were tourists in our hometown. I think it's something that everyone does at some point in their lives for one reason or another. Perhaps they just need to rediscover the place they grew up in (or have been living in for years) so they go to all of the attractions that their city has to offer. Anyone who hasn't spent a day wondering their own town really ought to; if for no other reason, just to be able to inform tourists who stop them on the street with questions.
The college downtown didn't have classes today either because of the holiday so a lot of the students went home in order to see their families. The campus looked barren. Michael and I wondered around the campus, discussing our college plans in turn and awkwardly realizing that we probably wouldn't be attending schools anywhere near each other. As quickly as possible, I changed the conversation. College is still over two years away and I'd rather not think about it just yet. I'm not sure where I want to go but I do want to stay on the east coast and Michael's looking at USC (the one is California, not Columbia).
Moving from that conversation to summer plans and plans for spring break, the awkwardness quickly faded and we resumed our explorations, taking extremely silly pictures along the way. As the sunlight begin to dwindle and the sky turned to shades of red and orange, we made our way over to John Street to eat at Rue de Jean. That was where the conversation reared its head.
After our waiter took our order and brought out drinks, Michael commented that he was really enjoying the day. Innocently enough (or so I thought), I eagerly agreed and mentioned that I wished we could repeat it tomorrow rather than going to school. Taking my hand in his, Michael told me that he'd be fine with doing repeating this day forever and informed me, again, that he loves me. Slowly, I pulled me hand away and his face fell. No matter what happens in my life, I will not forget the look that came across his face. It was a mixture of confusion, embarassment, and frustration.
Then he brought up New Year's and inquired whether or not I'd been agreeing that I was in love with him then. I apologized and told him no as our waiter brought over the order. He just looked at me, waiting for me to speak and I tried to choose my words carefully. It took so much effort to not be corny and say that I loved him but I wasn't in love with him. In several run-on sentences and what felt like a million words, I explained that I am not in love with him - not yet. He asked me if that meant that I felt like I might be one day. I didn't lie to him, I told him that it was definitely possible - I do think that one day I could be in love with him - but that I didn't feel like I'd knew him well enough to be in love with him currently.
Michael is the kind of guy that I see myself falling in love with, but something is missing. I don't even think it's something big that's missing - just some quality or some characteristic that isn't there. Or maybe it's there and I just haven't seen it yet. In no way am I giving up on him; I still think I can find it there - I just have to keep looking and maybe delve a little deeper.
Michael's parents had their annual New Years' Eve bash and I was in attendance. We stayed until 10:30pm, greeting and mingling with his father's business associates and mother's friends. My parents also came, despite my father's protests and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the evening. When we left, we made our way down the road to Jonathan's house where some of our friends were gathering to count down to the new year. A good portion of the sophomore class was there, which meant for over an hour of just saying, "Hi" to people that we hadn't seen since winter break started. By the time we grabbed drinks, the countdown had started and people were coupling off. A few of my friends just looked around awkwardly and I felt bad for them, but Michael turned me toward him and they vanished from my sight. The countdown concluded and, on the TV, the cheering started. He leaned toward me and lifted my chin with the palm of his hand.
And that's when he said it. The big IT. The IT that I thought he was going to say at Halloween. The it that he even started to say after Thanksgiving dinner. The it that he told my mother that he felt after Christmas dinner. Yeah, that IT.
I stood there while he starred at me, smiling and waiting. I didn't say anything. What was I supposed to say? Oh, Michael that's great and I love you too, but I'd be lying if I said that I'm in love with you. That's a little too cliche for my tastes. And I'm not ruling out that I'll never be in love with Michael; I'm just not right now. Nana's always told me that when you're in love - even if it's not the love of your life - you know. I didn't know, so I just smiled and kissed him. I'm pretty sure that he took it as a confirmation or an agreement that I felt the same way.
So here it is, middle of the night and I'm wondering what I should do tomorrow when I see him. We didn't really get to talk much after the kiss because of the celebrating and the fact that I rode back home with Tessa because she was spending the night. Do I explain what the kiss actually was tomorrow? A frightened cover for being to chicken to explain my feelings? Maybe I'm just supposed to let it go and not say anything - he might even know what it was, right? One thing's for certain: Last night Michael told me that he loves me and I froze, kissed him, and offered no explanation. And now? Now, I have to figure out what to do. If I explain things is it going to hurt him so much that he breaks up with me? I don't want to lose him just because I'm not in love with him right now.
People and feelings grow with time. Maybe I'll just take the time and wait for them to grow without explaining it to him right now.