I took my naive self down to GAP and spent every last penny that was on the gift card, plus a little more I’m sure. Outwardly I now looked even better because I had some new GAP clothes. Inwardly, I was confused, muddled, distracted by the events that had taken place over the last few weeks. There was no way I could allow myself to even begin to dare to think about having feelings for Paul. It was a been there, done that kinda thing and I did NOT want to go back down that road.
So I resigned myself to just be friends with him.
The Spring semester was my final one, or so I hoped, at Southwestern. Having a semi-lighter load than normal I opted to take Systematic Theology II with Dr. Malcolm Yarnell, one of my favorite professors ever and also one of the professors who was on the Oxford adventure, because at that time my degree required hardly any theology. Thinking this was absolutely insane I tried to cram a few classes into an already busy schedule. So Systematic Theology II it was. Did I mention I had not taken Systematic Theology I? Here’s to hoping I didn’t miss anything.
Turns out there were a “crew” of us in there. Old friends, new friends, all huddled up in the back of a lecture room. I sat with my friends Kristen and Jamie behind a row of the Halloween party folks who lived on Sandage (from now on I will refer to them as the friends who lived on Sandage Avenue). Paul was amongst them.
One Tuesday not too long after classes began I thought to myself, “I’d like to have lunch with Paul. I wonder how I can ask him without everyone else finding out and wanting to go.” To this day I have no idea what really prompted that thought. It was not like me to be so bold with a guy. What was I thinking? But contrary to my nature, I casually asked Paul after class if he would like to grab a bite of lunch at the newly redone cafeteria. He agreed, and somehow we ended up at the cafeteria without any friends around. Who knows how that happened.
After deciding on some well-balanced lunch options, we found a table with not too many people around. Small talk was made for a while until Paul pops out with, “So, MacKenzie, what do you look for in a guy? What’s your type?” Ok, just part of NORMAL guy-girl conversation. I did mention the word NAIVE at some point, didn’t I?
“I like outdoorsy guys. Funny, smart, likes to have fun, likes to … yada-yada-yada.” The list went on and on.
Little did I know, Paul was mentally checking things off that list.