I often wandered to the gravel parking lot and popped the hood of my loyal Omni to gave it a once over. I hadn’t quite developed the automotive expertise I would obtain later in life through experience of owning a steady line of buckets, but I knew enough to make sure the thing turned over.
By now, Spring of 1993 was upon the college and that meant the car would be spared the punishing winter assault of -30 degrees Celsius. It also meant that as the weather warmed up, the layers of clothing went down. For example, one could appreciate girls more as they wandered by. One in particular always had my notice.
While I was giving my car the check over, in reality it was a convenient cover story. Every now and then she would jog by on the dirt road north of the parking lot. Corinne had a knack of looking mighty fine in running spandex.
The charred circuitry of my brain wasn’t sure what to make of having strong feelings for a girl who was also my best friend. I simply didn’t trust my own judgement anymore. Me and Corinne connected, but I’d made that tragic misunderstanding before. A lot. I just sometimes wondered if a girl like that could ever go for a guy like me. A fun, smart, mischievous girl packaged in tight, fabric caressing, slender, young, athletic buttocks…
Look, it wasn’t my fault if she just happened to be running the same time I just happened to be fixing my car. I was innocent I tell you.
I returned to my task of automotive confusion. My mind would go back to the double date at Pizza Hut and how we just connected so instantly. Was it a good idea to allow myself the luxury of falling for someone again? I needed to talk with this girl alone and see if she was indeed worth the mental energy I was starting to expend in greater quantity.
While deep in thought about how to use a paperclip to fix a carburetor, I hear the crunching of parking lot gravel approaching my car. I look past the hood and there she is walking towards me. Allow me to describe the view which is burned into my memory.
Corinne was wearing a t-shirt, running shoes, and tight spandex shorts with a hot-pink stripe down each side that drew attention to her slender figure. A spike of adrenaline hit me and I wished I could slow time.
“Hi!” she says, smiling and coming closer.
Maintain eye contact and do not look down.
“Hi!” I reply. “What a great day to get out for a run!” I would have said that if it was raining Hellfire and sulfur.
We talked for about twenty minutes and once again, it just seemed so natural. I was fixing ( or at least making it look like I was ) the car and she kept me company. It was like we’d been friends for years.
“Everything working ok with your car?”
“Yeah, just trying to keep it going. I’ll admit, it’s not much to look at.”
“Cheapest car you have is the one you own”, she says.
A pretty girl that doesn’t mind me owning a bucket and appreciates the value of money. Interesting.
“Well, I better get back to running before it gets too late.”
“See you at the lunch hall later?” I asked.
“Sure!” she says. She waves and turns to continue on her run.
It’s only lust if you look twice. So I instead opted for one, continual moment of admiration. That was the moment I realized I simply had to try to get her out on a date. Simply remaining friends with someone who could wear shorts like that wasn’t something my brain was capable of doing.