I was left with a feeling of anticipation after my chance to talk to Raj over lunch was cut short. What was going to happen next? I spent the remainder of the day on Wednesday and all day Thursday hoping - expecting, really - to run into him again. But to my supreme disappointment, our paths never crossed. I tried to think of a reason I could email him, but nothing sprung to mind. What could I possibly say?
Feel free to ask me on another group lunch date! Or a real date, while you are at it. Internet porn is funny!
Yours most cordially, LauraYeah, that wasn't going to work. Every potential topic that I thought of seemed like too much of a stretch and smacked of desperation. Bah. I was going to have to wait until the following Tuesday, at the very earliest, to see him again since I was spending the long weekend in Fargo. I almost wished that we didn't get Columbus Day off on Monday, because four days seemed like an interminable length of time to go without the excitement that surrounded all things Raj. It been so much easier to have crushes in high school. You were guaranteed a sighting at least five days a week.
The pile of flashcards on my coffee table that Thursday evening brought me back to reality - four long days could be a good thing when you had a lot of studying to do. The exam that would make me a full-fledged dietitian was scheduled for Tuesday morning.
I gathered the flashcards up along with my other dietetic study materials and packed them into a messenger bag to take home - I would give myself the night off from studying. I finished packing up the rest of my weekend bag and then flopped on the couch. I was feeling so restless. Between the stress of the upcoming exam and disappointment over things coming to a standstill with Raj, I felt out of sorts and unable to relax. Maybe I should spend the evening studying after all.
I turned on the TV and idly flipped through the channels, but after attempting to watch that new Joey show for a few minutes, I shut the TV off. I had always been more of a Chandler girl, anyway. Maybe I would watch ER later. Maybe not.
I went into my bedroom with the slightly obnoxious lavender walls - I wondered if my landlord would ever let another tenant choose their paint colors again? - and sprawled on the bed with Team Gray. I stared at the ceiling for a few minutes and debated just going to bed, even though it was only 8 pm. I turned to my side and caught sight of the copy of "He's Just Not That Into You" that was on the floor. I had thrown it off the bed in disgust a few weeks before. Purchased at Barnes and Noble in something of a desperate move, I'd hoped that it would give me some insight into my previous relationship and possibly answer that persistent question of "Why?"
I had tried to keep an open mind as I skimmed through it that day, but when I had got to the chapter "He's Just Not That Into You...If He Cheats on You," I had had enough. The pithy, overly smug book had triggered more feelings of inadequacy on my part and not the empowerment they were intending. The message that if he's into you, he'll stick around was hardly a comforting thought when you are trying understand just why someone was not into you enough to stick around. Ergo the book went flying through the air and landed on the floor, never to be touched again...at least for three weeks.
I got out of bed, picked up the book and brought it to the living room where I stuck it on the bookshelf. I didn't want to keep seeing it on my bedroom floor and I didn't want to think about what it represented. Shelve the book and shelve the issue.
If only it were that simple.
The restlessness remained, perhaps more so now than before since I was actively trying not to think about my ex. I slowly looked around, trying to figure out what to do - stay in? go out? - when my eyes landed on my computer. My email. I would check my email. It was always exquisite torture to see if maybe, just maybe, Raj had written me an email. I knew the chances were around zero, but why not check? I didn't have anything else to do. I turned my laptop on, helped myself to my neighbor's internet connection per usual and...
I couldn't believe it. Raj had emailed me.
To: Laura Guiseppe
From: Raj Rijwani
Subject: Good luck!
Date: Thu, 07 Oct 2004 7:58 PM
Hey, I wanted to say good luck on your test. I know you're studying for it this weekend but I can't remember when you're taking it. Tuesday?
Anyway, I also wanted to ask if you are familiar with Bob Fosse? He directed a film with Liza Minelli called Cabaret and choreographed a lot of Broadway hits like Chicago, etc.? Have you seen any of his work?
My heart was thumping in my chest. He had emailed me, which meant he had been thinking about me. Raj was thinking about me. Thinking about me enough to email me at - I checked the time stamp - 8 pm. He had emailed me from home. I felt giddy. What if he was thinking about me as much as I was thinking about him? Was it possible? That he could be daydreaming about me at odd times of the day and hoping to catch sight of me in the halls? The thought left me reeling.
I read the email quickly again. The Bob Fosse thing was totally out of left field. Was Raj a dancer or something? Hm. That was...random. But interesting. And kind of funny. I knew he played kickball after hearing him mention it in the break room, so I had thought of him as more the athletic type. But maybe he was actually more of a dancer guy? Or a theater guy? Or just a fan? Assuming he wasn't simply harboring a fetish for Fosse, this was seemed to be a pre-date line of questioning. Maybe. Possibly. Was there a Fosse show going on in the Twin Cities? That might explain things.
I pulled up Google in a new window to see. YES! There was a three-show Fosse review going on at the Ordway Theater. He was going to ask me out! Possibly. Hopefully. Maybe?
Or maybe this was just a friendly overture? But...it had to be more than that, right? This seemed a little too random for it to be a casual question between friends. Which meant...
Holy shit. I could end up going on an actual date with the guy I had a crush on. Like an alone-and-just-the-two-of-us kind of date that would make me want to vomit with nerves.
But that was assuming that he was going to ask me out. Maybe he was. It seemed like it. Or...?
My heart thumped even more.
Instead of playing a game and waiting to email him back tomorrow or the next day, I decided to write him right then. I bit my lip and stared without really seeing into the distance, thinking about what to say. He had left it so open and vague - what would be the best response? Then my focus cleared and landed on the book I had just been reading. Screw it. I didn't need to write the perfect thing. I was going to be myself and if he was into me ,then he would be into me. The book was ridiculous, but it did have a point: Be yourself and if he's into you, he'll make sure you know it. For me, being myself meant being a weirdo. He could take it or leave it. And besides, if he did have a Fosse fetish after all, then I had free reign to be as weird as I wanted to be.
To: Raj Rijwani
From: Laura Guiseppe
Date: Thu, 07 Oct 2004 21:05 PM
Are you asking about Bob Fosse because you'd like to do a dance for me?
Ha ha, just kidding. Yes, I am pretty familiar with him. I did ballet in Junior High and High School and took tap and jazz classes in college. I'm actually taking a community ed tap class right now - the mix of people in it is hilarious. Picture me and an old women, a young boy, and a few others tapping to some country song. I kept wanting to laugh at the situation. It's only a six week course so it should be fun - and a good source of stories.
Have you seen the Little Prince movie where he does a creepy snake dance? That is the dance I would like you to do for me, please.
I don't want to study for my test. Maybe I should become a marine biologist instead of a dietitian. Or maybe I should be a back-up dancer for Prince. Really, the options are endless.
Alright, ER is on. I'll talk to you later!
I read it over quickly and decided to go for it. I took a breath and clicked to send it. I hoped it would prompt him to reply immediately and ask me specifically-and-without-a-doubt on a date. And hopefully that would happen in the next, oh, five minutes. I couldn't imagine waiting longer than that.
I turned on ER and tried to watch, but the obsessive checking of my email kept me from following the plot. I stayed up until 11 pm, through the news and the start of Dave Letterman, but there was no new email. I needed to get to bed since I was going to be up early the next day to make the four hour trek home.
I grudgingly got myself ready for bed, checking one last time before giving up for the night. As impatient as I was for his next email, I had to admit there was something fun about the delayed gratification.
I climbed into bed and got comfortable and Team Gray formed their usual lumps on the bed beside me. I knew I needed to get some rest, but all I could think was about Raj - had he seen my email yet? - and the possibilities for what might happen next.
A date! Maybe... Probably... Possibly...
To be continued...
Next: Chapter 7