My roommate Andrea's smirk told me something was up. Our room phone rang, she answered, and now stood there smirking and said, "It's for you." A myriad of possible scenarios sped through my mind in the three steps it took to cross our dorm room, but I didn't dare hope to hear his voice on the other end of the phone.
"Hello?" I said.
"Hi, Anne? This is Nate. I was wondering, since our seasons are over, if you'd want to go golfing with a group of us this week."
"Um...sure. That'd be great. What day are you thinking?"
"Does Wednesday sound ok?"
"Uh...that works for me! Should I just meet you at the course?"
"Yeah. I'll see you there!"
Andrea was still smirking when I hung up the phone. I promptly told her it was just a group thing, but she didn't look convinced. Apparently I should have paid more attention to her because Nate's "golfing with a group of us" really meant golfing with him and another couple. He splurged on carts for the four of us, and thankfully Kara, one of my golf teammates, made sure she and I were together.
We all stood on the first tee, Nate taking confident practice swings, seemingly relaxed and ready to go, me faking confident practice swings, praying I didn't make a fool out of myself. I went to take out a tee and realized I forgot to restock my bag. Nate saw me scrounging around my disheveled pockets and offered me a handful of tees. He took out a generous amount, showing me just how together he was, and promptly dropped them all over the ground while trying to hand them to me. "Perfect...I'm not the only nervous one," I thought.
He hit his drive straight and long down the first fairway. I pulled mine into the weeds. Every shot after that I tried proving to him that I knew what I was doing. (Apparently he was doing the same thing because neither of us remember much of how the other played.)
After a good amount of flirting, we ran out of course to play and headed to our separate cars. I was driving back to campus replaying the afternoon in my mind and wondering who I could find to eat dinner with once I returned. I was 3 blocks from my parking lot when I got a call from Kara: "Anne, turn around! There's a free meal at the fire station, and we're going!"
My heart rate increased while I thought about how much this felt like a date. Golf and a meal? With another couple? I couldn't push the thought out of my mind while I stood next to him eating a hamburger on a table made out of two 1x6s held up between barrels.
Heart Flutters by the Mailboxes
Midterm break had finally arrived! I was looking forward to driving down to Kansas City to visit my brother and sister-in-law. I was hoping my hours on the road would help me sort out the every-growing amount of thoughts about Nate. My friend Lindsey and I decided to check our mail one last time before leaving town. We were chatting, caught up in the excitement of leaving town, when I stopped suddenly.
"Oh no..." I said, seeing a crisply folded loose leaf paper in my mailbox.
"What's wrong? Who's that from?"
"I don't know, but we need to leave. We just...we just need to leave..."
Lindsey smiled and wrinkled her forehead at my irrational reaction, but she hurried to follow my long strides out of the building and into her Toyota 4Runner. I looked at the folded paper, taped shut with my name neatly printed in capital letters on the front.
The protection of the car combined with Lindsey's urging finally gave me the courage to open the letter. Would it be from the person I wanted? Or would it be another note I'd have to somehow politely decline? I carefully tore the tape and held my breath...
I freaked out while Lindsey laughed. We deciphered what each phrase could mean before we finally both got in our cars and went on our separate ways. Northwest Iowa can be a brisk, dreary place in mid-October, but thanks to a simple piece of paper, I stayed plenty warm, smiley, and mildly distracted for my entire five-hour drive.