Have you ever been in love?
I haven't; neither has Jane. It's her story I'll be telling to you. I promise it won't take long. Let me first start by proclaiming that this definitely will not be a story about love. As sure as elephants don't fly. Well, of course with the exception of Dumbo, however he is a fictional character. A figment of Walt Disney's imagination. Jane...her story isn't fiction.
It was her first semester of college. Her first time living away from home and with two roommates. After school she always caught the metro to the station nearest her apartment and walked home. One night as she walked home she noticed a nice looking young man. At least, the silhouette of one. He was across the street, waiting to cross parallel to her. They looked at each other, and both looked away. As they crossed she saw him look again in her peripheral vision. She kept walking, home was only one house away.
She heard him call. She stopped then. Looked over and watched as he jaywalked across the street and stopped in front of her. His hazel-green eyes stared down at hers, his dirty-blond hair freshly cut military style. His brawn evident in the way his white, short-sleeved t-shirt fit around his torso.
"Whoa! You look way younger closer up." A soft scoff escaped her lips and her braces shown through as she replied calmly.
"Hi. I'm eighteen." Her nervous smile could barely be covered up.
"Hi. You're eighteen? I'm Austin." He presented his hand to her as if asking for a handshake. She shook his hand firmly, the way her father taught her.
"I'm Jane. How old are you?"
They continued to walk.
"You live around here?" Jane asked him.
"Well, right now I'm on my way to see a friend. I live around the corner and down the street."
"What about you?"
"I live right here." She stopped in front of the gate to her apartment complex. She watched and blushed a little as Austin walked a few steps forward and then back tracked, realizing she had stopped.
"Well, I came from school." Jane said as she pointed to her messenger bag. "I've gotta get inside and do homework."
"Okay, well, can I have your number? We should hang out some time." Austin replied.
Momentarily contemplating what her next words should be she fiddled with the keys in her hands, bit her lip a little bit before giving any kind of indication on her decision.
"Umm, sure." She finally said. She figured maybe he wouldn't actually call her and that with this expectation of him not calling her, she wouldn't be disappointed considering she had no idea who this boy was. Though at the same time, here she was giving her phone number to a complete stranger. Nevertheless, she took the risk. They exchanged phone numbers and just before he left he asked her,
"It's Emily, right?"
"Uh, no. It's Jane. It's Austin, right?"
"Yeah, Austin. I'll be sure to put you down as Jane in my phone. Nice to meet you." He finished and in an attempt for a better farewell he leaned in for a hug, though with her messenger bag placed in front of her it turned out to be quite awkward. A slight "Um" escaped her throat as he tried to hug her. When he pulled away they looked at each other again and he turned around and left, continuing his previous journey down the street. Jane turned toward the gate, put in her electric key, opened the gate, and walked through.
"He's definitely not going to call me." She whispered to herself.
Once in her apartment she changed into her sleep clothes and flopped onto bed, too tired to do any homework and not looking forward to work in the morning.