Keep your eyes open for the September issue of The Blue & White, coming soon to campus. Until then, Bwog will honor our heritage/amorous affair with our mother magazine by posting highlights of the upcoming issue online. Among the treats to look forward to: a litany of bizarre and outdated freshman hazing rituals, a conversation with a luminary on DIY education, and a half-optimistic view on the campus music scene. Here, senior editor Conor Skelding gives a (more or less) fictional account of romance in the dining hall.
Cassy’s eyes bore back into me from across the ketchup bottle, unfathomable. They’re blue: blue as her pastel-colored plate and mug. It seems like just yesterday that she first spoke up in Lit Hum, but that was a Tuesday, two weeks ago.
“But, maybe Achilles wasn’t a coward, maybe he had another reason not to fight.” Her blue eyes had flashed—at me? Had she perhaps been inviting me to be braver than Achilles, brave enough to win her?
After class I was back in John Jay mulling over Greek heroes of yore, and I looked her up. She’d kept only her profile pictures public. Alluring. Making a duckface in a CU sweater in front of Low, celebrating at her high school graduation with pointer and index spread in a “V for Victory” sign, screaming at a Beefeater in London. So yesterday, after a prolonged examination of the Iliad, I met her outside of Hamilton, aimed my Eros, and asked her to dinner.
And now here we were. She’s quiet, but our eyes are locked. I study her face. The fluorescent lights, rather than expose her flaws, highlight her perfect skin. I think she must have been an athlete in high school; her Columbia tee fits well. And her blue jeans, they say, “I am not wearing skinny jeans now, but I could.”
“Dijon mustard.” She picks the exotic blend for her grilled chicken panini rather than the “ballpark mustard” of the huddled masses. Just the way she says, “Dijon” in perfect French (and she only spent two weeks in Europe!) sends me reeling. This is the Ivy League; I marvel.
I’d pulled out all the stops: talked to Dining for a tablecloth, a corner table, and two chairs in working order. They came through spectacularly, although only with chagrin did I learn that one can’t hire the whole place out. I need to find a way to slip that in, to say that I wanted to go that far. How is her panini, sharp with Dijon?
“It’s fine.” Goddammit, she is cool. One minute we’re discussing the Masterpieces of Western Literature with a relevant philosophy professor on the top floor of Hamilton; the next we kindred souls are nestled comfortably, dining in the mahogany majesty of John Jay.
We’ve covered the tired pleasantries: she lives in Carman, she’s from some part of Jersey, she is considering creative writing. I could care less about that; she could be a prospective Political Science major, and I’d still pine for her. I want to know the her in her. Would she walk Riverside Park with me tonight?
“I’ve got a nine AM tomorrow.”
Ah, she is devoted to her craft. Is it a fiction workshop? A gathering of introverts poring over and tearing apart one another’s pieces, baring their innermost secrets, daring to criticize somebody else’s?
“UWriting.” There is something to be said for pragmatism: walking isn’t always strolling, after all. She’s finished her panini; would she humor me and have some Froyo? The Irish Mint is reputedly quite the palate-cleanser.
“Yes, only a bit though. I’m low-carb.”
How her body is her temple. And it shows, even through her modest jeans. Modesty! The gem of all virtues. Truly this girl is circumspect in all matters.
“I hope this is aspartame; I can’t deal with an insulin spike before I go to bed.” Why she ought to follow the premedical track. No freshman fifteen for her, no John Jay culinary carbohydrate loading. In any event, there are more ethereal pleasures to be had. God and man in harmony often create beauty. Videbimus lumen.
Would she like to see the sun set over Morningside from JJ 15?