Devin fell so easily.
It was the first night of his math class spring semester. Having dropped out of algebra the spring previous, taking and passing this class was essential. He was inside the door just after 6 o’clock, helping distribute the class syllabus and a homework outline to the students who were straggling in.
Trina came in the door. She was the cover of a magazine. She was from heaven. She was simply It. He handed her the last papers in his hand and smiled, “These are for you.” She thanked him, smiled and moved toward the last remaining seats at the front of the class. A girl he recognized from the restaurant followed Trina. They had worked together for several months a while back. Her name was Jackie, and he sighed with relief that he had never been an asshole to her, not that he could remember at least, and that he hadn’t put any of his lame moves on her. Whew.
The next week, he stepped onto the elevator, headphones streaming the dreamy mix, and his eyes met hers like gravity falling.
The elevator was crowded, rush hour before 6 o’clock classes.
He couldn’t even think straight, but he had to say something. Had to.
Jackie was with her again, roommates, probably best friends, taking this class together and traveling as a pair. He could talk to her, since he knew her, pulled his headphones down and said, “Hi Jackie.”
“Did you do her homework?” He could feel Trina’s eyes on him like the warmth of the sun.
“Yeah, “ Jackie answered.
Quiet for 10 seconds. The elevator stopped at the 3rd floor, the doors opened, a couple people got off.
“So, mm… do you think I could copy it real quick?” he asked.
Jackie laughed. Trina laughed. Music.
Mission accomplished. Life was good.
Free from desire, he abstained from leaping off that suicidal cliff by asking her out. Coming out of the blue, such a proposal was sure to be shot down quickly. So the plan was, again, to reveal in sparkling increments his personality and wit.
A week before the first exam, the instructor, a young, urban professional named Jay, asked the class for questions and concerns about what would be on the exam. Several students asked whether there would be any questions regarding scientific notation.
“I don’t know yet for sure,” Jay answered.
Someone in the back protested, “You said there wouldn’t be!”
Jay, genuinely a nice guy, replied, “Well, if I said that, then there won’t be. I don’t want to break any promises I made.”
Half a second passed.
Then, just loudly enough for her to hear, he said, “You said I’d get an ‘A’.”
Her sweet laugh got him off. He scored a few points and rode off into the sunset. Freedom from desire, freedom from desire, he repeated mindlessly, desperately, over and over as he walked to the ramp where his car was parked. The moon gleamed down the giant hallway between tall buildings. He breathed in the deceptive February breeze. He wanted her so bad he could taste her.