Revenge of the Nerd Ch. 27byrpsuch©
I worked harder than ever for finals. I might as well. Jeff was completely immersed in studying.
Of course we were sleeping together so I did get in some nice cuddle time.
Sometimes we stayed awake together and that was pretty special too.
But what really stands out about the time is how hard we worked. And even though so much of our time was spent preparing, we were doing it together.
We had our individual books and papers and downloads but, somehow, we were a team. We prepared meals together; cleaned up together; rubbed each others' backs when they were getting tight; sat with his arms around me on the sofa when we took breaks together.
It was a revelation that we could build our togetherness while spending most of our time apart.
And then finals were upon us.
If I thought it was difficult for me, and I did, I can't even begin to imagine what it was like for Jeff.
Since he was lucky enough to have four courses in which the final was a paper he could write before finals week, he only had nineteen finals.
The school made special arrangements since some of his finals were as long as three hours and he needed time to eat and crisscross the campus.
I got to prepare some of my specialties that week for dinner - take out.
I was deliberately vague with my parents about when I finished and stayed at the apartment until Jeff finished his finals, and a few days beyond. Both of us needed the time to recuperate.
More important, I wanted to spend the time with him.
I don't know how he had found the time to do it, but he surprised me with tickets to a Broadway show. I protested his paying for them.
"You deserve it. You're the best girlfriend I've ever had," he said.
"I'm the only girlfriend you ever had."
"Quod erat demonstrandum. Sorry, it's Latin. It's typically used at the end of a mathematical proof. It means ‘as it was to be demonstrated or proved.' As my only girlfriend, you're clearly the best."
He took my hands in his.
"But just like a geometric postulate, it's clear to me I would come to the same conclusion no matter how many girlfriends I'd had, and no one could hope to do better than I have with you."
"Again, very romantic in the nerdiest way possible. How do you do it?"
"It's just how I feel. It comes -"
"I was joking. It's actually very endearing. Maybe I'm just learning to speak Nerd."
He took me to dinner before the show. He assured me he could afford it on what they were paying him for the summer.
We got back from New York pretty late and, young as we were, we were wiped. We started with a little bit of kissing but then we both fell asleep.
In the morning we were refreshed and he greeted me with that biological imperative we women have grown so fond of. God, I'm starting to sound like him.
We built it up nice and slow. There was still technique involved. But, mostly, it was wonderful because it was the two of us and how we felt about each other. Then he suggested I go cowgirl.
"It's a peculiar situation," he said. "Almost anything you do to a guy is great. It's really hard to mess it up. But girls are much more complicated.
"When we're in charge, we can make a pretty good guess at what will please you and usually do a pretty fair job. But we'll always make mistakes.
"However, when you're in charge, you can feel exactly what is working and make adjustments as they're needed. It's a lot like riding a horse in a race where the jockey has to make constant adjustments."
"How many horses have you ridden in races?" I asked.
"I read a book."
"Oh, you read a book. Who could possibly doubt your analogy? You did read that book on sex."
"Well, you know, there's -"
"Shut up! This is not a particularly arousing conversation. We can talk horse racing later."
Dr. Goldberg bowed to my superior logic. He let me take the reins. I rode him hard and put him away wet.
I wanted just a few more days before summer break. I couldn't exactly smuggle Jeff into my room and have him live at my house.
My parents didn't take much notice of me, but they probably did take that much.
My reverie came to an abrupt end with a phone call from my Father. He knew my semester was over and expected me home. Then he dropped the bombshell. Well, it shouldn't have been a bombshell. I had just forgotten.
"You need to get home so you can prepare for the trip."
"We're going this year?"
"We go every year. Where is your head?"
"I just, I'm almost twenty-one. I didn't think I'd have to go."
"Of course you have to go. It's our family vacation; we do it together and you have to meet people. You certainly can't do that from here."
"But what if I don't want to go this year?"
"Don't be silly. You have to go. You love it."
"Okay. I'll start packing up here today and try to get out of here tomorrow or Sunday."
"Why would it take you that long to pack?"
"I have to clean the place up. I haven't had the time to do that with all the studying.
"I have to do the piled-up dishes, all the wash, floors, clean up generally; I wouldn't want to come back to that kind of mess in the fall."
But mostly I wanted to spend two more days with Jeff.
"I can send someone to do that."
"Come on, Dad. This is stuff I do all year. I just got behind during finals. I'll have plenty of time to get ready when I get home."
"All right, I'll see you Sunday."
How was I going to break this to Jeff?
"So you go away on a family trip every summer?" he asked.
That was easy. The next part wouldn't be.
"For a month."
"Damn. Maybe I can get some time to come up and see you."
He was dejected. So was I; I just hid it better.
"I'll talk to my Father when I get home. Maybe I can talk him out of it."
"Well, I'll be pretty busy during the week anyway," Jeff said.
So they make him work nights too? If he can put up a brave front for me, I can put one up for him.
"This will be good. We'll get to find out how we feel about being apart."
That made no sense at all.
"Yeah. That will make it even better when you come back than if we were together the whole summer."
Weren't we pathetic? Or would it be more pathetic to moan and lament about how much we were going to miss each other?
"Well, we've got two days together here and more time at home before I go. Let's not waste it," I said.
The phone call had put a temporary damper on the hot and sweaty stuff so we got hot and sweaty by taking a long walk, his arm around my shoulder even though it was pretty warm out.
I pressed against him because I liked how it felt.
Campus was pretty deserted. It felt almost like a vacation on a tiny, isolated island.
We didn't talk much and at another time that would have been perfect. But my mind was going a mile a minute, filled with insecurities, with questions. How had I gone from a life I was so sure I wanted to a polar opposite?
Did I have enough of whatever it took to hold onto Jeff? What, exactly, did it take?
Would he get bored with me because I couldn't keep up with him? Was I the person he said I was, or was he seeing what he wanted to see?
This was so risky and scary and by far the most fulfilling thing I had ever done in my life. What would I do if I lost him? The very question filled me with such terror I trembled.
"Are you chilly?" He sounded incredulous.
"Don't be silly. It's too warm. I just had a muscle spasm."
Should I be sharing this with him? Would it make me less attractive to be recognized as so insecure? Would I be giving him more power over me? Would he always use it benevolently?
This went way beyond the calculations that had served me so well in other relationships. Find their weaknesses and use them to always stay in control.
I had no idea how to factor in anything with Jeff. Being seen as weak could be a strength; being strong, a weakness. Was being vulnerable a good thing or a bad thing? Maybe both.
I think he sensed that I was troubled. Maybe I'm just crediting him with superhuman powers.
When we go back, he put on one of his CDs, took me in his arms, and we danced on the wood floor in the dining room.
"Heaven. I'm in heaven, and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak. And I seem to find the happiness I seek when we're out together dancing cheek to cheek."
I don't know who was singing, but he had it right.