Mark sat next to me in the Japanese art history class every time. He was the most enthusiastic student and very passionate when he spoke up. Sitting so close to him, I felt his body heat from his bare arm. I got to know Micky and Gary as well. They had formed a band with another guy and played original songs. I had never in my life been surrounded by people who were so cool as to be engaged in arts & music. I wondered what had become of me to render such a situation because I was most certainly not a cool person.
One evening in early February, I went out with Shuji. He had been very kind to all Japanese students. And while he was popular, he wasn’t too absorbed with it, and he’d make time for many of his friends. I had known many girls liked him and hooked up with him. Some of my friends did. I never wished it myself, but he did make me feel special, and I appreciated his attention. We went to a bar/restaurant in Hollywood. All the customers looked like they were actors in an indie film starring Vincent Gallo. Shuji fit well in the picture, and I felt I did, too.
On the way back to the campus, he asked me what I was doing the following weekend, which happened to be a three-day-long weekend, Sunday being Valentine’s day. I said nothing special. He said he was going snowboarding, but we could go out for a drink if he came back early. I was thankful he chose me for his company on Valentine’s day when he must have had many other options, but I didn’t expect him to take me out on the same day he returned from a snowboarding trip.
On Sunday, I had an early dinner with Maya and returned to my room. Clare was, of course, out with her boyfriend. The phone was flashing, and I listened to the voice mail. It was from Mark, asking me if I was free that evening. I almost threw up in shock. I called him back and told him about Shuji. It was nearly 6 pm, but he hadn’t been back, so I figured it’d be ok to go out with Mark instead. And I wanted to do so.
I put on a black pencil skirt and a fitted black cardigan and wore a pair of heels. I also sprayed perfume a bit too plenty. I walked over to Mark’s before 8 pm and found Shuji sitting in the living room, looking exhausted. He said he had just returned from the trip. I told him I was going out with Mark. He didn’t seem to mind it.