Word Count: 3961Lisa Weinstein
January 17, 2000
The loud cries of teenagers fill the night, their laughter and screams echo through the streets. The many partygoers crowd the narrow sidewalks, stumbling and leaning on each other for support. This is the typical Friday night in State College. The dance party music resonates from each fraternity house as well as the tall apartment buildings that tower over the town. The smell of beer fills the air.
Turning away from gazing into the night, I look for my group of friends. I hurriedly walk to catch up to where they are, which is a few feet ahead of me down Fraternity Row. Tonight, I am wearing my black pants; a short sleeved purple and black striped shirt, black chunky heels, and a smile that seems to fill my whole face. We stand in the long line to get into a huge band party. My friend Brian, from high school, is on the list. We get to the desk where everyone signs in; my friend confidently says who he knows, and a few seconds later, we are denied.
No list, no way getting in, says the drunken fraternity brother.
Brian gets an irritated look on his face. Embarrassed and irritated myself, I grab a few other people that were accompanying us, and leave. We walk to a gray, stone fraternity house another friend was at the night before. Two brothers were standing outside watching the door. Their names, as I was about to find out, were Mouse and Dietz.
Hey, my name is Lisa, are you guys partying tonight, I ask throwing a big smile in the direction of the brother in charge of watching the door with hopes that we can get into the party.
Waiting for a response, I look around to try to figure out exactly where we are. My friends are told that the house is closed because a policeman is waiting in the parking lot for suspicious activity. I ask when they will be open. We are told that the next night they will be having a band party, and that we can come out then. The one guy, named Dietz, then forces us to leave. He emphasizes that the cop will start trouble if we stay.
And so, after that conversation, we left, ready to go back the next night for the party.
Leaving the parking lot of that unknown house, I decided that Dietz was pretty cute, in fact, very cute and despite the fact he wanted us to leave, very nice. His green eyes, goatee, thin body, brown hair, and sweet smile attracted me to him in an instant. There was only one obstacle in the way of actually starting a relationship, that barrier would have to be my boyfriend of two years who happened to be stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas. My army boy, the skater that I knew in high school who turned into a disciplined man, the guy I supposedly was in love with, the guy who was waiting for me on the phone as I walked into the door of my dorm room late that night. The very beginnings of the feeling of guilt spread through my body, sending shivers up my spine.
Hello, I said hesitantly. Hoping that this would be a friendly call, since for the past week or so we have been fighting, I took a deep breath and waited for a reply. However, this reply was harsh in tone and my good mood changed dramatically into one that always surfaced during phone conversations with him. Where the HELL have you been? I called four times and you werent home, where were you! My eyes lids clenched tight trying to hold back the tiny tears that had formed. I told him I went out partying with some friends, one of which was his brother. I figured if I mentioned the presence of his brother he wouldnt think anything suspicious. After all, his brother was given explicit instructions to watch me and monitor every action I make or word I say. Mike, my boyfriend, calmed down slightly, I told him in a quiet manner that I was tired and needed sleep. He reacted poorly, replying with his famous whatever and hung up. As I slowly hung up the phone, the tears started to form heavier and heavier, until my face was soaked with sorrow. I laid back in my bed contemplating my life, if I loved him, if I should go out and have fun, if I should even call him back. My conclusion was that I did love him, but I needed to go out with friends and meet people, I needed to be on my own. I couldnt keep making myself submit to his control. He wanted me to wait for him to get out of the army, and marry him before I started living and having fun. Time was wasting. My time as a young, independent college student was ticking away before I even got to try it out. I fell asleep after exhausting myself from thinking and crying.
Waking up to the loud voices of my floor mates, I groggily lifted the covers off my body, threw one leg out of my bed, and stepped to the cold floor. Searching with my feet for my black slippers, I stumbled out of bed completely, grabbed my toothbrush and toothpaste, took a towel, shampoo and soap and walked slowly down the hall to the bathroom.
I turned the water on high, with the warm moisture soaking my body, relaxing my muscles, and sending me into my own little paradise, I forgot completely about last night and the boy I met. I even forgot about the boy I was dating, nothing took hold of my thoughts, just relaxation.
With more energy, I walked back to my room. Outside the door I could hear the phone ringing. Pushing the wooden door open with great force, I sprinted to the phone, picked it up and found out who was on the other end. It was Mike! We talked for a while, and everything seemed to be good. His mood was more delightful and I was glad he didnt snap at me for not answering the phone on the first ring. I also got the chance to explain to him that I need to go out with friends and do things around campus. I told him it was part of the college experience, something he couldnt understand being that he went straight to the army after high school. He reluctantly agreed with what I was saying, but I still felt controlled and limited to what I was aloud to do.
All this made me think of how I havent changed, ever, in my life. Ever since high school, I have had everything the same, same boyfriend, same job, same friends, and same house. Some things have been with me in my life for more than just four years. Sure it seems easy to have everything the same, but I after a year in college, I felt that I was in the thirteenth grade. Considering the fact that about 75 percent of students from my high school apply to Penn State each year, its no wonder that I havent actually gone out to meet new people, I had my friends that I have known for a long time right there beside me. The only thing different was the town and the campus, which for me, as a child of a penn stater and a niece of two penn staters, I have learned about penn state culture and tradition since I was young. Nothing was new to me. I missed out on the transition phase to the next step of my life, I missed out on becoming independent and mature! I knew that this year in school would be different. I was going to go out when I wanted and meet new people. I was going to find the real me that is just aching to get out. This was my chance, all I had to do was get out there and do it!
Later that night, as my friends and I dressed up for the band party, I remembered Dietz and how I was attracted to him. I tried to look extra good, so maybe he would remember me too. Putting my curly hair in different colored butterfly barrettes, letting one or two tendrils flow down my back, I felt in a flirtatious mood. Our walk to the house was short, and some other friends from high school went with me that werent there the night before. I walked to the door, went in line, and was confident that I could get in. I.D. in hand, the guy at the desk didnt even ask who I knew, and let me as well as all my friends in. I flashed him a smile and went inside.
The room was dark, with the band up front. Heat from the band, and people dancing radiated. An instant sweat surfaced on my body, I wanted a cold beer to cool me down. Down the wooden stairs, in the basement, the party continued. People playing beer pong in the corner, others dancing to the music playing on C.D., and the many people at the bar made the atmosphere exciting. Asking for a beer, I got a glimpse of Dietz talking to another guy in the corner. Too shy to talk to him, I grabbed my friends, and went into another room where all sorts of games were being played. I picked up some darts, attempted to through one, and missed the board completely. That was when Dietz walked over, laughing. I asked what was so funny and he replied with what I expected. He was laughing at how I play darts. But I didnt mind this criticism at all, it got me talking to him and though it was for a short period of time, for some reason I knew it wouldnt be my last.
Upstairs, the band was rocking the crowd. Screams of appreciation and excitement filled the room, I stood in the back, hesitant to force my way up to the front. Dietz walked over next to me and started to dance on his own. I smiled at him, knowing something was going to happen. I could feel the attraction between us and I knew that I couldnt resist. All memories of my boyfriend vanished. Dietz danced his way closer and closer to me, finally he put his arm around me and we started to dance in rhythm. I felt like a goddess in his arms, no one has made me feel wanted since my boyfriend left, no one has even flirted with me in a year. I felt myself leaning towards his sweet mouth, so perfectly shaped and so kissable that I couldnt turn back. The kiss was coming, and when it did, it felt as if I was in heaven. My face tingled and my body felt num. The room started to spin and life seemed like a dream. Everything was fuzzy, voices all sounded the same, and life seemed to stop. Soon after the kiss, the party ended and he walked me back to my dorm.
Once we got back to my dorm, he asked me for my number. Happily I gave it to him, making sure he could read it, after all, I was a little drunk. He kissed me, and next thing I knew we were kissing for a long time. After he left, I smiled to myself, excited that he liked me, excited that I got what I wanted. Then it occurred to me, I had a boyfriend. Standing up I caught sight of his picture; I called Mike.
We need to talk. I said this is a very cool and collected manner. I could sense that my boyfriend new what I was about to say. His voice got soft and quiet, as if he were fighting off tears and that choking feeling that comes over you when you get nervous. I told him that I needed to take our relationship down a level and just date him, but be free to date others. My reasoning behind this was so I wouldnt feel guilty if I kissed another guy, and that I could go out and do what I want without wondering if my boyfriend would approve.His reply to this was whatever floats your boat. How could he be so insensitive? Even though I got what I wanted, why didnt I feel better? As I sat curled up in my bed, letting my thoughts run through my mind, I realized that I needed to take one day at a time and let nature run its course.
Monday night came and finally a call from Dietz, his first name I learned was actually Jason. We talked for about two hours and I never met a guy that was so much like me. We both loved seeing plays, going to movies, partying, reading, writing, and so much more. Everything my boyfriend wasnt, this guy was. Jason and I clicked right away, and he asked me to go to dinner with him on that Friday. He also invited me to go to the movies.
That Friday night came and Jason picked me up at my dorm. He was wearing a blue and white, plaid, button down, long sleeved shirt and khaki pants with brown shoes. I was wearing black pants and a purple top. We went to the diner for dinner and then to see The Sixth Sense. Holding my hand at the theatre, Jason was a complete gentleman. He opened all doors for me, he paid in advance for the tickets and for dinner, he even let me pick where we were to sit for the movie. Everything was a dream come true, finally a real date, not just hanging out in his living room with his friends like how Mike and I would spend our evenings. Not that those types of dates arent fun, my boyfriend always made me laugh during those nights, but it gets old. I wanted to experience what a mature man could offer, and here I was, my first date with Jason and already I felt something spark in my heart.
For the next few weeks, I had many opportunities to get to know Jason. I went to the house many nights, became friends with the brothers, and talked to him on the phone the nights I didnt go out. My boyfriend and I kept in contact, too. My heart was filled with joy when I was with Jason, but it was breaking because I was losing my first love. I was confused about what I wanted, and then I came to a conclusion. I wanted my boyfriend. I called him every night, emailed him every morning when I woke up, and bought a plane ticket to go see him over fall break. He and I became good friends again and we both couldnt wait until I got to Kansas for fall break.
Jason and I still talked and got to know each other better. But it looked like we would just be friends for the time being.He knew about my boyfriend and my whole relationship with him (which I will spare you all the details). Everything was as it was when I first came to school from the summer break; only I had one more friend.
As the weeks passed, I decided to join a sorority and some other clubs. I told my boyfriend that I wouldnt have time to talk to him as much because of these time constraints. My mom also didnt want me spending the eighty dollars a month talking to him on the phone. This was when the fighting began again; the cursing, the arguing, and the control that he took over me. He was across the country and he owned me. When I told him of the clubs, this is when I threatened his power over me. I felt that he couldnt love me, a person, I argued, who loved someone would not stand in their way of living their lives. I joined the clubs even though I was told not to. But our relationship became a fighting match via telephone until I couldnt take it anymore. I knew I had to end it before I abused myself mentally and emotionally to the extent that I wouldnt know myself anymore. I wanted to smile again; I wanted to focus on my life, not my relationship that was distanced by geography as well as words. That is when I got enough courage to break it off; I had to end my relationship with him, even though something made me love him through all this suffering.
That night, even though I initiated the break up, I was upset and my heart felt like it broke into little pieces. Jason was there though; he consoled me and made me realize I was better off. This way, I was able to live my life without the pressures of anyone telling me what I can and cannot do. That night, as I sat on his back porch, crouched on the step, I looked into Jasons eyes and felt the same way I felt at the party when I met him, and even on our first date.
Soon, I felt like a heavy brick was lifted off my heart, I could breath without hesitating about the consequences. I smiled for the first time in weeks, I felt, for the first time, like a true college student. Experiencing life in a new light.
As the days passed, Jason and I got to know each other better, spending a lot of our free time together. Then the question came up. What are we? My heart stopped, I held my breath and replied, shaking, I dont know! And that is the truth, I wasnt sure what we were, I wanted to date him, but I had relationship issues from my last break up, and though weeks had passed, I still wasnt over my boyfriend, I also wanted time to find myself and become the person I wanted to be. You cant take years of your life and forget about it in four weeks, the transition phase of life gradually inches its way through time. But I figured that I shouldnt lose Jason. I just knew that would be a bad idea. I told him I wanted to see him.
From that moment to this very day, Jason and I have been boyfriend and girlfriend. We are happy, and he respects me, he gives me the freedom I need to do the things that all college students choose to do. He understands me because he is just like me. Every time I look into his forest green eyes, I see that flame burning inside him brighter than ever. If he looked into my eyes, he would see the same. Now I am not saying I love him, because love takes time to cultivate.Love is very special, something that shouldnt be rushed. Though Jason and I have fights, as every relationship does, we still care about each other and both express what we are feeling. To me, this relationship is a mature one, where both people work equally hard to have a meaningful relationship. I guess it also helps to have a relationship that is local and where both people are on the same page in their life.
With my ex-boyfriend, he was on a different chapter in his life story. He had a job, responsibility, and didnt have the opportunity to attend school. I, luckily, do have this opportunity and my responsibility is limited, I have more freedom. To me, college is a transition process from childhood to real life. Besides the need to make my own decisions, this difference in lifestyles led to my realization that I needed something new. My love for Mike is still there, though it is fainter than it used to be. Thought of him still lingers in the dark corners of my mind, and maybe one day we will get back together. However, for the time being, my feelings for Jason grow stronger everyday. Memories of Mike get pushed farther and farther to the back of my mind. My life is beginning to be mine, not Mikes, not Jasons, or anyone elses!
Living life to the fullest is one of my goals. The only way to do that sometimes is to let go of things or people that hold you back. Even though love was left behind, I know I can find it again in life, in my new boyfriend, in my friends, in myself. Finding myself in this whole mess was the one important thing that came out of it. Not only did I find myself, but also I found the beginnings of a new love along the way.
Not that I want to sound like everything is great and I am one hundred percent happy, but it kind of turned out that way. The fights I do have only make my relationships stronger, and they make me realize where I need to work on my own personality. For right now, my story ends like a fairy tale. I found my prince, my passion, and a new life. I can move forward without hoping that one day my man will realize I cant be controlled. Life is sweet, and if you catch me drifting off in class or see me on campus with a dazed look on my face, you now know that it is because I am happy and lucky that I found someone out there.
So my message to all of you college students and young adults out there is that there is someone for you, but dont give up and settle for you first love. Keep your options open and live life to the fullest. When and only when you do this can you find happiness in life, whether it is with a relationship, with classes, with friends, or with activities. But do not let anyone hold you back, if they do, you need to leave them behind and move yourself forward. Life is too sweet to let waste away at the expense of someone else. Find yourself, live your life, and you will start to see your dreams come true.