There's nothing like being dragged kicking and screaming into a time warp at 5:30 on a Friday morning.
As I was scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning, I saw my ex-fiance Jody had friended some new people. One name looked kind of familiar, so I clicked on it and was suddenly transported back to 1989, and a seedy bar in Blacksburg, Virginia.
It was Dave. I had met Dave at a local bar called The Phoenix Club which was one of the few places underage students could go dance and get served at the bar with minimal hassle. Well, I never had an issue, which probably accounts for why I missed most of my classes in my second semester there. Ahem.
Dave was tall, with devastating dimples and blue eyes. The attraction between us was instantaneous. He was a second-year, I was a first-year, and we had absolutely nothing in common other than wanting to tear each others' clothes off. Which we did. A lot.
We did hang out a little bit outside of the dorm, but most of our quality time was spent rocking the loft in his room. It was silly and fun and honestly, I knew I would probably never see him again after the semester was over as he went to his home and I went...well, I didn't know where I was going to end up at that time. That's a long story for another time.
The last day before everyone packed up for the summer, I went over to his dorm room to say goodbye. He introduced me to two guys from my hometown, and as it would turn out within six months I'd be engaged to one of them.
Dave did send me a few letters that summer, written on lined notebook paper with a peculiar backhanded script. He was very funny and articulate and I started having thoughts that maybe, just maybe - he cared about me more than just a girl he spend few sweaty months with in his room in West A-J.
I didn't write back. By that time, I was on the downward spiral that would last the next two years of my life until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. Plus, I decided in a brilliant moment to drop out of college. I knew I'd never see Dave again.
Well, not until 2011, at least.
He has an open profile so I took a few minutes to scroll through his pictures until I saw a few from college. The memories came flooding back - not only of him, but of the chaos that had enveloped my life there. Second semester was one of the most hellish experiences of my life, thanks to my psychotic roommate that would write threatening letters to me and made me scared to sleep in my own room. My nerves were such a wreck that I stopped eating and was 30 pounds lighter than I was when I left for school (which was already too thin). My grades tanked and I knew there was a good chance I was going to get kicked out of school.
As I see it now, Dave provided a safe haven away from all my problems back in Slusher Tower. He didn't care about all the roommate drama - not that he wasn't supportive, but really all he cared about was having fun and spending time with me. That's exactly what I needed at the time. Well, that and a safe place to sleep where I wasn't worried about my roommate smothering me in my sleep.
Years later, my fiance would tell me that Dave bragged about me to all his friends. "He said you were the best lay he'd ever had," he seethed, gritting his teeth. And you know, I'm not sure if I should take that as a compliment considering most college guys think any sexual experience not involving a six-pack, a box of tissues and a bottle of lotion is the best.
That semester isn't something I've ever talked about much. It was painful, it was scary, and it was almost surreal. It was the end of my innocence and feeling like I could do anything. I was left an insecure, exhausted bag of bones. I still have nightmares from that time.
Today, for just a moment, I remembered the small glint of happiness that I had at that time. So if I ever see Dave - which could happen since he actually lives in our city - I'm going to have to find out a way to thank him for that. Hopefully that won't involve his wife punching me.