Thu. Jan 27th, 2022

Photo by CollegeDegrees360 via Flickr.

My eyes flickered awake to Shaun looming over me.

“Hey, I think you fell asleep,” he said. I knew him from Chemistry 103. He sat behind me and we said we’d study together at the library today before I went home for the weekend.

“Ugh.” I was still dazed when I opened my eyes. He smiled at me a little endearingly, but I couldn’t really understand why.

“What do you say we ditch the studying for today? The test isn’t until next Thursday.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean…” He dragged out the sound of the word. “Let’s go into town and grab some cookie dough, and then we can watch some Seinfeld.”  I rolled my eyes. Him with the Seinfeld shenanigans again. “I’m not a fan of sitcoms, but I will take you up on the cookie dough offer—as long as you’re paying.”

“Of course,” he replied. A brief moment of silence passed. “How do you not like sitcoms?”

I picked up my study materials and shoved them into my bag. Slinging it over my shoulder, my heart started to flutter when I realized this was a date.

“Shall we go?” I said, digging my thumbs under the straps.

“We shall.”

Although I agreed to a date, I don’t ever recall having a crush on Shaun. There I was, inexplicably calm, cool, and collected. The memory already seemed hazy as it was happening.

“Cookie Dope or Baked?” Shaun asked.

“Definitely Cookie Dope — although, I don’t know if The Quad should publish that kind of controversial opinion.” I replied.

“The Quad?” Shaun asked. “What are you talking about?”

“The student newspaper,” I said, a little annoyed that he didn’t know what I was talking about. “They’re going to publish our story.”

“Our story?”

“Our love story,” I said without thinking. That’s a weird thing to say on the first date. Luckily, Shaun smiled.

I heard the gentle ring of the bell as we entered the shop. Shaun already knew my favorite flavor to order, so he ordered for me. For some reason, I was unable to speak when I stepped foot inside.

He handed me a heaping scoop of cookie dough in a paper cup with a tiny spoon, and we headed out for a stroll into town. I could see no one else on the streets of West Chester—it was just us two and the Cookie Dope guy. It all felt so normal, like it all was supposed to happen.

“Oh no!” I checked my phone for the time and couldn’t seem to read it. “My parents are coming to pick me up for the weekend after we studied.”

“Do you need to head back?” he asked.

“Yeah, I need help packing.”

“I’ll help you.” Shaun said. “I am the reason why you’re not ready in the first place.”

“Oh, it’s not your fault.” I grabbed his hand and gave it a squeeze to assure him that it was, in fact, forgiven. “Let’s just head back.”

We were a distance away when I saw my parents were waiting outside my dorm building.

“It’ll look worse if you ditch meeting them,” I said to Shaun.

“No problem, parents love me.” The best part is that he was absolutely correct. He was bubbly and friendly, and he made Seinfeld jokes that my dad laughed at. So, the four of us headed upstairs to my dorm room to get me all set and packed for the weekend. This is weird. This is definitely weird.

“Meghan, honey, why don’t you invite your friend over?” my mom asked. Definitely weird.


“I’d love to come see your hometown,” said Shaun. Weirder. “Come on, wouldn’t it be fun?” He grabbed my shoulders and shook me.

My eyes flickered awake to the security guard at the FHG Library looming over me. She must have found me nestled in the corner of the third floor and sleeping. I knew I was awake this time. I could smell smoke and the fire alarm was sounding. Just under it, I could still hear the sound of the noisy printers. All of my Chemistry 103 materials were sprawled out on the table in front of me.

“Sorry to wake you, but we have to evacuate,” she said.

Just then, I saw Shaun being escorted out of the elevator with two others by some firemen. He waved and smiled. Chemistry 103 is going to be pretty weird from now on.

Kirsten Magas is a fourth-year English major with minors in creative writing and journalism.

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