Part 3, Chapter 12
The hot ex-copy editor and I are holding hands while walking back from having cider at the sort of coffeeshop they don’t have in the south, the kind that is big enough to be a house and so cozy inside that the windows are fogged constantly in the freezing winter. I put my arm around her and pull her close. She snuggles into my shoulder.
It’s a Thursday night in March of 2003. Despite all appearances, someone else is her boyfriend. Still.
It wasn’t my idea to escalate our relationship into cute semi-harmless physical contact, but getting hooked on heroin isn’t just something you just put on your day planner either. In our case, my relationship-boundary-observing world had been shattered months before when she suddenly pulled my arm around her when we were walking along. Since them, you couldn’t stop me from publicly or privately displaying non-kissing affection if you tried, and she didn’t. I never got on base, but I was certainly doing what baseball players refer to as “making contact.” Look, plenty of people cuddle with their platonic non-single best friends during movies. Right? That’s not weird.
Looking back, it isn’t really that surprising that our relationship, which had gotten real close real quick, developed the kind of physical closeness that is prohibited before marriage in some cultures. What’s surprising is that her fratboy boyfriend never deputized the Sigma Delta Slytherin pledges to come drop a Crucio on my ass.
It’s not that he never knew. Almost to her dorm, I notice a girl take one look at us, turn around, and start walking quickly towards another dorm nearby. Under my arm, Michigan Girl says “Eep!” and pulls away, dialing her cell as she yells over her shoulder. “That was a frat brother’s girlfriend! I need to get to the boyfriend first and do damage control! See you in class!”
Oblivious to the fact that my very ability to walk may hinge on her diplomatic skills, I strolled homeward happily.