Thursday, September 9, 2010

ready to the take on the challenge


I had no intentions of falling in love my first year of college. In fact, nothing was further from my mind. The idea of love was incredibly foreign to me, all throughout high school I was always the girl that stayed single, dated around, played the field, and often teased my smitten girlfriends for being mushy and pathetic over their high school sweethearts. Upon entering my freshman year at DePaul University, I expected to maintain the same attitude, that boys were an incredible waste of time, and being a young girl that enjoyed a good time I would live the single life. Some said I was simply too stubborn, afraid of getting hurt, and unwilling to commit. These allegations were never ones I denied, for I did fear a serious relationship, and this was a matter that at the age of 18 I had already accepted. But in one life altering, whirlwind romance, of such an unpredictable and unexpected nature I found myself in love with a boy, changing my personality and person completely.

The Oakdale apartment was hosting yet another infamous party. This apartment was the residence of three very crazy boys who enjoyed whiskey, music, and creating a ruckus more than the average college student. The interior of the apartment reflected the reckless nature of my friends, with dirty dishes in the sink, overflowing trashcans; empty beer bottles and cigarette filled ashtrays were strewn in every corner of the apartment. The look was completed with a random array of furniture, crude posters, and a guest or two sleeping on the couch. This particular party happened to be in honor of Nick, in celebration of his 20th birthday. Nick was perhaps the wildest of the three roommates with more than questionable morals and a rowdy group of friends.

We left the dorms that Friday night with a slight buzz from the beers we had chugged in the bathrooms- in attempts to hide from the RAs making their nightly rounds. The alcohol mixed with the combination of anticipation for the night ahead made for a very excited group of freshman. The October night was perfect, the air was cool and crisp but we all knew on the walk to the apartment that winter was slowly approaching. I could hear a Black Lips song, blasting out of the windows from a block away, Sally rang the buzzer and we climbed up the smoky stairs, hearing the music and laughter on the floor above us. We were welcomed by a large of group of friends and acquaintances, and it was clear the drinking had started much earlier in the night as Nick the birthday boy was covered in toilet paper, and others donned odd hats fastened with duct tape. I immediately made eye contact with a stranger, a tall, thin boy with dark shaggy hair, and a scruffy face. He was smoking a cigarette and met my eyes with an intense gaze, I immediately found him attractive but was also uncomfortable with the attention. I walked into the kitchen to grab a drink only to learn that the stranger’s name was Patrick; the name sounded incredibly familiar and I soon realized this was the Pat that my girlfriends constantly gushed over. He was a friend of Nick’s with good looks and an equally wild reputation.

February in my opinion is the most unbearable month of the year. The dirty snow, grey skies, and fierce winds make living in Chicago a complete nightmare. Any joy I had in December for a white Christmas and a desire to ice-skate at Millennium Park had completely vanished. Pat and I had been seeing each other since that night in October, though neither one of us would admit the seriousness of our relationship. I still after four months refused to refer to him as my boyfriend though we spent most everyday and night together. I tried to convince myself that I was still a fun, and single college girl, but the smallest voice inside of me constantly nagged, as I knew I was developing true feelings for Pat. And though our pairing was completely unexpected, I was happy, comfortable, and most importantly I was learning to care for another person. The rough exterior of my independent nature was being chipped away and I felt raw, naked, and exposed But I couldn’t help questioning the whole situation, we were both so young, immature, and unprepared. It was silly to think that I could find true companionship from a crazy boy I met at a party. I was still scared of being vulnerable and dependant on other person, I was still unable to trust. All of these emotions aside, February was growing to be an extremely dull and restless month. The fun had dwindled drastically with the cold, especially post holiday season. After a long week of tests, exams, and digging Pat’s Toyota out of the snow, we were both looking forward to a small party with out friends at the Oakdale apartment.

As unkempt and filthy as the Oakdale apartment was, I always found it a comforting and familiar environment my first year of college. Though wild and crazy, the boys were genuine people and good friends. The apartment despite the piles of dirty clothes on the couch, and odd smells coming from the kitchen was always welcoming to friends. We could have fun just a handful of people, listening to music, and carrying on good conversation. This was how the night began, a few friends, quite a few beers, and some good music. As more guests arrived the dancing began; Pat started the fiasco by pouring his drink on himself while dancing on the coffee table. He looked at me on the floor below and met my eyes with that same intense gaze from the first night we had met. All of a sudden I was spinning, more likely this came from one to many beers, but it was at that exact moment I knew all my inhibitions aside, I was in love with Patrick. The girl who would never love had done so, and my body filled with that warm feeling best described from Hallmark greeting cards.

I pulled Pat down from the table and on to the dance floor, I gazed into his eyes, giggled, and whispered with adoration into his ear, “I love you, I love you, I love you!” Pat laughed in response, assuming that this was the PBR talking. We continued to enjoy the night with our friends, and I could not help thinking how this boy had managed to change my life so much, and for the better. Learning to love allowed me to become a less selfish person, more generous and considerate to those around me. Yes, the idea of loving another was terrifying, but I was ready to the take on the challenge knowing the potential reward was sharing my life experiences with another who loved me back.
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