I stood outside the student activities building, just as seven o'clock was rolling around. It was a nice evening, with the sun setting but not quite dark out yet. My eyes were glued to the time on my phone as I waited for Vic to show up.
I started thinking maybe Vic wasn't going to show up. Maybe he thought over his decision to meet up with me and get dinner. Maybe he realized I was into him and he didn't want to go on a date and– basically my mind was just swimming with these crazy ideas and possibilities.
Moments later, I heard footsteps and the increasingly familiar sound of Vic's walking stick tapping against the ground. I smiled immediately and turned around. Sure enough, there he was.
"Hey!" I exclaimed, putting my phone back in my pocket and approaching him. He looked so good, too, wearing this button-down shirt and jeans. My heart fluttered because I started to think that maybe, yes, this was going to be a date.
"Hey, yourself," he said, smiling as he stopped in front of me. He almost sounded relieved. "I was worried you wouldn't show up."
"What? Of course, why wouldn't I?" I asked, bewildered that he was having the same thoughts I was. He was so much cooler than me, why would he have to worry about silly things like that?
"Eh, I've been stood up before. Guys decide they don't want to go out with a blind guy," he shrugged. We started walking away from our meeting point and towards the strip of our college town where there were a bunch of places to eat. It was right outside campus, and easily accessible from where we were.
"That's terrible," I said, sympathetically. I couldn't imagine people standing him up. It sounded absolutely absurd.
"It's whatever," He shrugged. "Hey, so how does Thai food sound?"
"Sounds great," I agreed, as something dawned on me. "Wait, so is this going out? Like a date?"
"I'll admit it, that was my intention, but it doesn't have to be," he said. I shook my head, again forgetting that he couldn't see that.
"I mean, yeah that's great - like seriously?" I asked, still unable to believe that this was actually a date. I mean, holy shit. Wow.
"You sound so excited," he laughed. "You're adorable."
I smiled so widely at his comment that I thought my face was going to burst. And for a few moments after that, I couldn't even physically muster up any words because I was just all smiles. The happiness just consumed me.
"I'm not, but thanks," I finally said, as we walked down the row.
"Whoa, hold up," he said, stopping. I stopped, too, and turned to him. I noticed we were right in front of the Thai restaurant anyway.
"What?" I asked, shifting uncomfortably as I realized that it was because of what I said.
"Don't talk about yourself like that, alright?" he said, softly. He gave me a warm smile before turning and pulling open the door.
"What- how did you know that was there?" I asked, genuinely shocked. He just chuckled and gave me a bashful smile.
"Let's just say I really like Thai food," he explained, a little guiltily. I smiled and headed inside with him. We were seated at a small booth and it took me a while to decide what I wanted. After awkwardly telling the waiter I was still looking over the menu about three separate times, we finally placed our order.
"So, can I ask you something?"
"Sure," Vic said, an encouraging air to his voice. There was just something so nice about the way he talked to me. I couldn't pinpoint exactly what it was about his voice, but he just sounded kind. He was always kind and always so interested in what I had to say. I really hoped that was something that would last, as I knew I ended up either boring or annoying most people. Even Justin got annoyed with me sometimes, and he was my best friend.
"This is a real date, right?" I asked, sheepishly. I just wanted to be sure I didn't imagine our conversation from earlier. That would have been embarrassing. I mean, I was used to messing up all the time, but still. I chewed my bottom lip nervously as I waited for his answer.
"Yes, it is, I promise," he said, giving me that same warm smile. "You interest me and I want to get to know you better."
"Really?" I asked again. This was just so, so great. "I totally feel the same way."
"Well that's good. Makes this whole date thing significantly less awkward," he said. I agreed with his statement and then took a good moment to look him over. He really was so good looking. His features were soft and the way his hair curled slightly just killed me. Cute and nice? What a great combination.
"So, um," I mumbled, looking for something else to talk about. I was apparently interesting to him and I didn't want him to change his mind about that. "Do you understand like, anything that's going on in philosophy?"
"Yeah, kind of," he shrugged. "Why?"
"I'm totally struggling," I admitted. "I don't know what it is, I just . . . I don't get these thought experiment things . . . like what the heck is a thought experiment? How did they do these experiments because they all sound weird? Like the one where the guy like took out his brain or whatever?"
"They're not physical experiments," he explained, his tone still light-hearted. "It's basically like –someone constructed a story to create an explanation or refutation for a concept. For example, the one you're talking about is about identity and making the argument that identity isn't physical."
"But that's like, so confusing. Because it means if I'm not me, then I'm still me," I said, even though it still wasn't sinking in. All of the weird thinking in philosophy just gave me a headache sometimes. It was really stressful.
"It just means that who you are isn't rooted in your physical form, yet most people insist that it is," he explained, easily.
"So then . . . what am I?" I asked, feeling so out of the loop. What was he even talking about now? "Like how do they know that?"
"They don't," he chuckled. "That's the beauty of philosophy, it's just a bunch of people sitting around thinking about shit. And that's what the classes are for, to get you to challenge your ways of thinking about things, you know?"
"Yeah, I guess that makes sense," I shrugged, as a waiter appeared at our table with our food. We put a hold on the conversation as he set down the plates and we started eating.
"This is my favorite place, honestly," Vic said. "The food's great."
"Yeah, I guess it's pretty good," I shrugged. "I'm not too picky about foods, I guess."
"Well, I'll keep that in mind," he said, grinning. "We'll test your limits."
"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked, frowning, but not really frowning. Vic was becoming more interesting by the second.
"That I'm quite the food connoisseur so if this works out and we keep dating, you're going to be trying lots of different foods," he said. I laughed, liking the fact that he was already thinking about dates beyond this one. What a good sign! This was absolutely fantastic.
"Alright, then," I said, containing my excitement quite well. "I'll hold you to it."
"Great. So tell me something else about yourself, Kellin," he requested, sitting forward a bit as he continued to eat. "Like, I already know you like art . . . what else is there to know? I want to know everything."
"Um . . . I mean, besides art, there's not really much," I shrugged. Might as well be honest with him. "I'm a pretty boring person, honestly."
"No you're not," he insisted. "You are so interesting. I'm willing to bet that there are things about you that you thought of, but you're too modest to talk about. But just lay it on me, come on."
"Uh," I breathed, trying to think of something. "I guess . . . some people think I have a weird fashion sense."
"Really?" he asked, still hanging off of every word I said. "How so?"
"I mean, I tend to put outfits together based on the colors and the energy they give off in my opinion, and I guess it's not always the most fashionable choice. I like it, though," I shrugged. "Justin hates it."
"I'm sure you look really cute," he said, smiling a sort of sad smile. I suddenly felt really bad because I realized I brought up a subject that he really couldn't comment on. Dammit.
"I'm sorry, I know you can't like - shit," I breathed, slumping back into my seat. This anxious feeling rose in my chest as I silently yelled at myself for offending a potential boyfriend. I was such a terrible–
"Kellin, it's fine," he assured me, noticing my distress. "You wear whatever you want to wear, okay? I mean, I totally wish I knew what you meant by that. I really do. But that does still tell me something about you."
"Yeah, you're quirky, and you're not afraid to be yourself," he said, smiling again. I pursed my lips together, heat rising in my cheeks for some reason.
"Is that good or bad?" I wanted to know.
"Definitely good. I like quirky," he smiled. I opened my mouth to respond, but the only noise that came out was a stupidly smitten laugh. Vic likes quirky.