There it is, above her bed, a glossy four by six print of her and her hometown honey, smiling for her mom behind the camera. She has a corsage around her wrist and he is looking you dead in the eyes. They do look happy in each other’s company, you reflect briefly, like John King and his magic board. You can’t shake this image from your head as you proceed to copulate with this female counterpart of yours. You begin to piece together why she hasn’t hastened to define the relationship. Despite having never met the mystery man in the photograph, he becomes your worst enemy. It is inherently difficult to compete with someone you’ve never met. You only hear good things about him. “We’ve dated since sophomore year.” “He’s basically family.” Pay particular attention to the verb tenses. The terms and conditions of long distance relationships are notoriously complex. Will he be finding out about you? Will he be seething?
One approach is to attack the idea of being in a long distance relationship in college at all. You’ve heard the age old advice before: resist the shackles of your high school sweetheart when you go away to school. Relay this way message in a gentle manner, however, as your bias will undoubtedly show through. Also currently, in the days directly preceding a long winter break, this convention is not applicable. In fact, the level of longing that your love currently feels for her non-Catamount honey is probably peaking.
You do have the advantage of the fourth dimension, time, over him. Most people don’t meet their college sweetheart until the very end of college (think Good Will Hunting), so you are already ahead of schedule, just bide your time. You can outlast this jerk. Chisel at their relationship slowly, chip it away as you see the cracks form. Remember that it took fourteen years to construct Mount Rushmore. Just don’t be in any rush to mount more. No relationship is indestructible, except maybe John King and the magic wall. Consider what you already have over him, for one, your knowledge of the University of Vermont. He doesn’t know about the Grundle, but you do and that’s pretty cool. Sure he may know about her parents’ messy divorce when she was fifteen, but what about how the marinara sauce sort of tastes like blood. He might know her order, “Chunky Monkey pancakes with the side of hash browns,” at the town diner where they had their first date. (He spilled orange juiceon her white pants and joked that, since it was just after Labor day, it was cursed to wear them. She laughed. She had the same thought in front of her dresser just hours before. She remembers how red his face got and the speed at which he acquired napkins. I’m such a klutz, he remarked, between profuse and sincere apologies. And he was so courteous to the waitress who came over with a mop. He paid the bill and left a substantial tip for her troubles), but have told her your joke about the marinara sauce at the Grundle that sort of tastes like blood? Make sure to tell her your joke about the blood sauce at the Grundle. She’ll get it.
Upon registering the existence of this man, you will predictably scour the internet for clues. Learn his Instagram inside and out in an attempt to put together what is so attractive about him anyway. There is a picture of him shredding on the slopes, probably the bunny slope. There is a picture of him with a really handsome Labrador Retriever, which he probably kicks. Here’s one of all his buddies at a rock concert, probably Smashmouth. Refrain, at this moment, from emulating his mannerisms or style. It may seem funny or cool to dress exactly as he is dressed in photos of him or to dye your hair to match his, but it’s not.
The best solution however, is no solution at all. Forbidden love is the most exciting. Just imagine if Romeo and Juliet had both been Montagues, they probably wouldn’t have thought twice about each other. Enjoy the space you currently occupy in the life of this person you’ve found. If you do end up in each other’s arms in the end, you’ll look back at this time with fondness. In times of worry, just remember the earnest suggestion of John King, standing beside his trusty magic board: patience.
Categories: around town, grant woods, November 17, 2020