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My Crockpot Valentine

I’ve never had a valentine on the Saint’s Day itself. But this year, on February 16th, a classmate turned friend turned crush became my valentine. If only she were in town two days before, my valentine-free Valentine’s Day curse would have been lifted!

I met Karyn a little over a year ago, in an English course. We were put together in a performance group for a project, a project that required our group to meet a few times a week for about a month.

The more we hung out with the group, the more I noticed Karyn in class. I noticed she was modest and how pretty she was – without trying- the way most girls do. I learned she had an awesomely dorky sense of humor and that she was able to make me laugh out loud, which not many people can do. I noticed how mean and snotty our teacher was to her, which is why the initial foundation of our friendship was me making jokes about our teacher’s creepy maniacal laughter and her horrid dental hygiene.

On some nights, after meeting with our groups, she was always willing to drive me the 0.75 miles home.

I forgot how we came to realize each other’s queerness, that is, until recently. My ex girlfriend Dawn’s new girlfriend (or new personality) Rachel was texting me on Dawn’s phone, insulting me and threatening to hurt me. I made the mistake of checking my phone during our group rehearsal. I mumble about how my ex girlfriend was driving me crazy. A few days later, while driving me home, Karyn had mentioned that she liked girls. I thought nothing of it really. It’s not like she was telling me to invite me to make a move. If anything, I thought she was looking for a gay friend.

Thanks to Karyn’s homemade cake she baked as a prop/bribe, we received eleven points on our ten point project. Call me an old fashioned romantic, but I find extra credit to be very sexy, especially when it helps my grade.

Even after we had finished our project, Karyn and I were class buddies. She and I would sit in the back of the class together and message one another. Then after class, I would walk Karyn to her car. If I saw her outside of class we always stopped to chat as long as we could. One time, one of our random encounters became a thirty minute conversation, then an hour long study session then she came over to my house, because she forgot to pack her work clothes and she needed to borrow a pair of black pants. (And yes, to readers who share my juvenile sense of humor, I am inviting you to make the very obvious joke here that this was the first time Karyn wanted to get in my pants). This was the night I realized I actually liked her, but could not bring myself to make a move.

Once the course ended, we didn’t see each other as much. I hung out with her a few times over coffee but, once again, I didn’t make a move. Sure I made her laugh, but most girls want more than a funny girl, so I figured she just wanted to be friends. I even tried to set her up with a friend of mine. It turns out she was hoping I was asking her out when I asked if she was single. I foolishly explained that I wanted to ask her out but I assumed she just wanted to be friends. I didn’t hear from her for a few days after that, but then I received a message explaining that she made a mistake not making her feelings known. She explained how she was seeing someone that quarter, but that she was actually “definitely into me.”

For several months we tried to make a date, but our schedules always conflicted. I decided to let it go, hoping to preserve our comfortable friendship based on random encounters of convenience.

I was blessed this quarter to see her in my Women’s Literature course. One night I asked her to come over so we could watch a movie. She accepted my invitation. We watched about an hour of a television show before I quasi-jokingly yawned my arm around her. She didn’t seem too annoyed by my corniness, nor was she bothered when I kissed her seconds later.

Flickr: Jeremy Vandel

She stayed over for a couple more hours, lying with me on my couch, talking, laughing, all while stroking each other’s arms. The greatest part of the evening occurred just before she left. Around 2 o’clock, I was chilled and tired and I started to fall asleep. Then, just before drifting out of consciousness, I felt her kiss me, a soft brush on the lips, lulling yet invigorating, and I suddenly felt warm. For weeks we didn’t see each other, other than in class. Sometimes after class we would hug and share a friendly kiss. I wasn’t sure where I stood with her.

During our class, I made her an impromptu valentine on valentines day, on a piece of lined notebook paper folded into an awkward shape. Inside this polygon of a heart, was my cartoon of a human heart with eyes arms and legs, standing on a dock, and little beat (to which I also nerdily gave a face) bouncing across. And the headline, which you probably already deduced, read: “You make my heart skip a beat!” Fortunately I couldn’t give it to her right then, as she was on a trip in Costa Rica. Unfortunately, I still though it would be a good idea to give it to her. So I kept the crumbling thing in my coat pocket for two days, smoothing it out and folding the edges in dull moments to make it resemble a heart.

Thursday came, so I sat next to her. Placed the valentine between us without looking at her. I heard the paper heart crinkle as she opened it, and I tensed up. Seconds later, I felt all my muscles relax as I heard an unrestrained giggle. I looked over and she was smothering her mouth with both hands, failing to hold in her laughter. “Oh, come on,” I whispered. “It’s definitely not that funny.”

“You’re adorable,” she said quietly, still chuckling. And there it was again, that warm feeling she gave me weeks before.

After class we walked out together, as we usually do. And just as I was about to hug her goodbye, she took my hand, pulled me to into her arms and kissed me…as more than a friend…in front of people. It was the nicest kiss I have received in a long time, not only because her soft lips made my heart melt, not because it made up for a year without kissing, but because she kissed me genuinely and proudly.

A friend of mine saw and said, “So you two are all lovey dovey now?” I shrugged bashfully “I wouldn’t say love yet,” I said, trying not to seem too lesbian. Ironically, my answer was “We’re more…likey dykey.”

We had our first date that weekend.

I’m probably jinxing it, but I had to get my thoughts written out. I’ve been trying to concisely determine what makes this relationship with Karyn so new and wonderful. For one, she’s calm and low maintenance, which is new for me. She’s my age, which I don’t have much experience with. It’s not just a physical thing, which is hard to find anymore. I think overall, what makes it special is this sense of slow and steady. We’ve known each other for a year. We didn’t push each other too hard. And still, neither of us is making any plans. For the first time in three years, I’m not over thinking. She allows me to feel the inner peace of letting be what will be. Plus, I know that when I screw this up and she finds someone else, I will still have a friend in her.

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About Casey

Casey is a creative writing student at DePaul university. She enjoys reading, writing, and taking long walks around the city of Chicago.

Discussion

2 Responses to “My Crockpot Valentine”

  1. What a sweet story, Casey! I like your comment “trying not to seem too lesbian” — made me smile and think, U-Haul has really missed out on a grand marketing opportunity. 🙂

    Posted by Karen | February 28, 2012, 11:37 am
  2. I love the way you write — “likey dykey” hahaha

    Posted by K Guzman | February 28, 2012, 3:31 pm

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