“Why do you read so much?”

I’ve been asked this question before, multiple times actually. To be honest, I’ve never really thought about it until the last few days. I read all the time. There’s hardly ever a time when I’m not in the middle of a book. I generally finish one and turn around and start another the next day, some times even the same day. I guess the answer I’ve come up with, is that reading is my escape. My escape from life; from pain, from stress, from anxiety. If I have a good book in my hand, I can find myself in a completely separate place. Wandering the halls of Hogwarts, hanging out with Sookie in Bon Temps, trying to choose between a sparkly vampire or a hot werewolf, fighting evil in the green forest, starting a new life after a virus wipes out most of the world, running from aliens, fighting daemons, falling in love with any number of fictional characters and living their drama for a while instead of my own. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life and the people in it, but everyone needs a break. I find mine on my kindle app or in the pages of a book. Never underestimate the psychological and emotional value in a good book.

I always knew, from the moment I laid eyes on you.

8:00 AM Developmental Psychology Class

taught by Dr. Jensen-Campbell

Thinking to myself, “Why?! Why have you done this to yourself yet again? Another 8:00 AM summer class. You know you cant wake up consistently this early during the summer. Why in the world did you think you could manage it now, working as much as you do?” My inner thoughts were interrupted by a man’s voice, making an intelligent remark, though I cant quite remember what it was. I found the source of this voice two rows to my right and a little in front of where I was sitting. I listened to him talk, and immediately something happened. A flutter in my chest. I took a look at the redbull on my desk and decided I had had enough of the arrhythmia inducing drink for the next few days, though a small part of me was laughing at myself because that certainly was not what was causing this feeling. I quickly dismissed it all and sat through the rest of class and tried to pay attention. At the end, I gathered my things and got on the elevator. I noticed quickly that he was standing on the other side. I was hoping no one would notice me stealing glances at him and call it to attention. Thankfully, no one did. I called my best friend and told her about this guy… I still didn’t even know his name, but I told her I had the urge to kiss him in the elevator like it was the most natural thing I could do. So we started calling him Elevator Guy. The next few classes went the same way. Every day she would ask if I had spoken to him yet, and I felt like a totally different person. She had seen me boldly walk up to males before and introduce myself. Hell, she had even seen me ask them to dance before. So this was unusual behavior for me. We college students are creatures of habit. We hardly ever move seats after the first day of class, so it was to my advantage that we sat where we did. I spent those next few classes listening when he spoke, occasionally admiring his profile. One morning I had arrived early. (I know, I still cant belive it either.) The door was locked so I sat in the floor of the hallway. A few minutes later, Elevator Guy walked up and sat across from me. We had our first conversation. I don’t think I had ever been so nervous about having a casual conversation about an exam with someone before. The TA arrived and unlocked the door and that was that. He offered his hand to help me up from my position on the floor, and I had the absolute most worst case of verbal diarrhea in my entire life. He smelled like summertime and mint and I looked straight into his eyes and told him that he smelled good. He looked at me a little startled and thanked me and we both went to our seats. I was absolutely mortified about that little tidbit slipping out of my mouth. Can you possibly imagine what Dr. Jensen-Campbell decided to lecture about that morning? Word for word. “There is strong evidence that shows we choose our partner by smell.” My face turned blood red and I looked at him and noticed that he was smiling from ear to ear and looking straight at me. At least he had a sense of humor. We spent the next week or two walking to and from class together and even spending a lot of time talking in the parking lot before I would finally leave. He would hug me and I would drive away. I started looking forward to my 8:00 AM class. I was often gifted with starbucks in the morning. He obviously picked up on my need for caffeine. We were developing a great friendship, until the day he touched my face. It was a simple gesture. I was in pain. He noticed and asked me what was wrong. I told him that my jaw was bothering me more than usual on that day and he reached up gently and ran his thumb from just in front of my ear down my jawline. I froze. I thought he was going to kiss me, and for some crazy reason, I pulled away. He noticed but didn’t comment on it. I was actively fighting my feelings at this point. I had never felt anything so strong before and it scared the hell out of me. I had however felt something weaker, and it ended not well. I figured stronger feelings meant an inevitable period of utter heartbreak, and I was planning to suppress my feelings until they no longer existed. One day, after what I like to call double-doubles (2 consecutive16 hour shifts) my clamp on my feelings broke.I called him on my way home. I spoke of things I swore I would never tell a soul. I poured my heart out to this man. One thing led to another and I eventually told him, “I could fall in love with you, maybe I already am.” And the next morning I realized what I had done, how this could only end in the most terrible way.And there I was again, pushing him away, but he was strong and steady. He never wavered in the face of my protests, but also never pushed too hard. Every time I asked him to back off, he did, and I always came back. He always knew I would come back even when I told him I wouldn’t. We started spending time together again and I was outwardly telling him that we were friends, while I was silently starting to let myself feel what I felt. It hasn’t been long at all, and now I share his last name. I thank God every day that I found a man so strong and patient, that knew I was worth the torment I put him through, and that eventually I would see the light and just be his. He likes to remind me that he knows best, after all, if he hadn’t been persistent, we wouldn’t be at all. I feel as if I was made for him, and him for me.

I will love him until the day my heart stops beating, and most likely even beyond that.

-K