In honor of back to school, I am doing a Writing Prompt Fun based upon something I have seen on Pinterest. (This post has actually taken me a long time because I have been busy with school.)
“Did you know studying is a contraction of student and dying? ‘Cause that’s what you’re doing right now.”
“What?,” I say as I am torn out of my textbook induced stupor. I turn to look at Dillon.
“Studying, student dying, you.” He stares at me. “Come on, go get changed.”
“What? Why do I have to get changed? I’m studying Dillon.” I turn back to my textbook and plethora of notes. There was an anger in my voice that I didn’t notice until just now. I’m so sorry Dillon. I place my head in my hands and sigh.
“Kenna, you need to take a break. You are just stressing yourself out and trust me, nothing good comes out of stressing out about it. You’ve been studying all weekend. It’s early Sunday night and you need to relax a bit.” He comes over and places a hand on my back. “It’s your senior year of college, you know how you study best, but I am telling you that you need to change into something that makes you feel confident and come to dinner with me. When we get back, if you want to keep studying you can, but your brain needs food to work properly. Let me buy you dinner.”
I turn to look at him. “Just dinner?”
“If that’s all you feel up to, sure.” I hear in his voice that he is telling the me the truth. Actually, now that I think about it I don’t think he has ever lied to me. Telling me mistruths for my own good, yes. Lies, I don’t think so.
I drag myself away from from my textbook and my notes try to come with me, slowly drifting across the floor before settling. I don’t even care anymore.
In my room, I turn to look through my closet. No, no, nope, no, no way, hmm. I come across a dress that I haven’t worn in a while. A cute floral, knee-length, A line dress that I basically lived in Spring of my sophomore year. Might as well wear this before the weather gets cold. I put on the dress and smile at my reflection in the mirror. I feel my confidence increase drastically. Dillon was right, again. I grab a cute pair of sandals and my favorite purse.
As I walk back toward my desk to grab my phone and wallet, I notice Dillon smiling at me. “I love that dress. It has always been one of my favorites.” Another truth.
“I know, you always used to say, ‘That’s my favorite dress’, whenever I would wear it. And I will admit, I totally forgot it was in my closet.” Dillon gasps dramatically with a look of pain on his face, but just as quickly as he reacts, he breaks out laughing. “Let’s go,” I say as I grab my car keys.
Dillon races to my car and I find him staring up at the nearly cloudless sky when I finally unlock the door. “Isn’t the sky beautiful today Kenna?,” he asks while keeping his eyes glued to the vast expanse of blue above him.
“Yes.” I hadn’t even noticed the few puffy clouds swimming in an endless blue despite my desk being at the perfect angle to just turn my head and stare out into the world. We get in my car and I start the engine. “So where do you wanna go for dinner?” Dillon is fiddling with his phone and before I know it there is a Google Map telling me where to go with no indication of our destination, just expected arrival time and how many miles we have to go. “A surprise it is then.” I can’t help but smile as I pull out of the parking lot and Dillon turns on our favorite CD.
It only takes 10 minutes to get to the little hole in the wall restaurant that we discovered by accident our freshman year. A little burger place that specializes in milkshakes that they make with locally made ice cream. It looks the same, except they’ve added a new patio seating area and every table is filled.
“I never realized that this place was so close to my apartment,” I say with awe. I smile as we get out of the car and head toward the little restaurant.
“How many?,” the hostess asks as we make our way to the door.
“Just two,” Dillon responds. The waitress looks at the seating chart on her podium.
“I have room at the bar out on the patio,” she hesitates, “that is if you are both at least 21. Otherwise, it looks like we have a 20 minute wait for a regular table.” She looks from Dillon to me. She looks so familiar. Have I had classes with her or did she work here before?
“We are both 21,” I respond and see a wave of relief spread across her face.
“Perfect, then follow me.” We follow her through the tiny restaurant to the large new patio. The sky is still beautiful, and the sun is starting to set.
We are seated at the little bar, which is actually pretty empty. I look around and take in the environment. The tables are all full. There are a couple families, a lot of college students, an elderly couple, and at the other end of a bar some people who look like they could be graduate students. The bartender comes over and hands each of us a food menu and leaves a drinks menu between us. “You look familiar, have I seen you here before?” It’s the bartender’s voice that makes me look up from my menu. He looks familiar too.
“Me and my friend here used to frequent this place when we lived in the dorms,” I say, “But we haven’t come here since we moved into our apartments. It looks like they have been making a lot of changes.”
“That they have. My parents, I mean the owners, felt the place needed a face lift. Anyways, my name is Aiden. What can I get you to drink?”
“Umm, I’ll have a chocolate shake.” Chocolate is a classic, you can’t go wrong with chocolate.
“Same for me,” Dillon says as I continue to look at my menu.
“Would you like to add a shot to upgrade your drink to one of our deluxe “adult” milkshakes for $2 more?,” Aiden asks and points to a list of options at the bottom of the drinks menu.
“No thanks,” I mumble as Dillon says, “I think plain is good for me.”
“Okay, two regular chocolate shakes coming right up.” Aiden moves to the other end of the bar and I find myself relived for some reason.
“Hey,” Dillon whispers, “You okay? You look a bit anxious.”
“Hmmm. Oh, yeah, I’m fine. Just something about Aiden that makes my mind not work.”
“Well, that could be one of several things. Maybe he creeps you out a little, or maybe you think he’s kind of cute or… I don’t know, but I am pretty sure that he is kinda flirting with you.” I feel my cheeks grow warm.
“Dillon!,” I whisper shout as I gently smack his arm and my cheeks grow hotter still. I go back to reading the menu as Aiden comes back with our drinks.
“Ready to order?,” Aiden asks as he takes out a notepad and pen from his pocket.
I order a cheeseburger with a side salad, while Dylan orders a California burger with curly fries. “You know I am going to steal your curly fries, right?” I tease.
“I wouldn’t expect anything less, Kenna,” Dillon replies with a smile.
As more people are seated at the bar, Aiden is tied up making drinks and doesn’t come over. The hostess from before brings over our food and we enjoy our meal. Fairy lights turn on as the sun dips beneath the horizon and light up the bushes surrounding the patio and the overhang above the bar. The effect is magical.
Dillon and I talk about our plans for Winter Break and if we are going to do that Spring Break trip we have been meaning to take for the past two years. Then comes the topic of graduation and if we are going to each other’s because we are in different majors, so we graduate on different days.
“Of course I’m coming to watch you graduate Dillon! You’ve only been my best friend for the past three years. And I expect you to come to mine.” I look over and see him looking at me in that way only Dillon does.
“Good, because I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” I steal another curly fry and we both end up laughing.
“Everything good over here?” It’s Aiden again.
I am still laughing and struggle to catch my breath, so Dillon responds, “Yeah. I think we are actually about done if you could bring over the check.”
“Sounds good.” Aiden disappears and comes back just as quickly with our check. Dillon grabs it and hands me a receipt.
“What, I thought you said this way your treat,” I say as I go to pull out my wallet.
“It is my treat,” he says,” but they split our check and I believe that one was intended for you.” He slips cash inside the bill holder.
I look down as what he says finally starts to compute. And there I see it:
Aiden- (270) 392-3043
Flustered, I shove the receipt in my bag. “Let’s go.” Dillon follows along and as we leave, the hostess thanks us for coming.
As we get back in the car, Dillon asks, “So are you gonna call him?”.
I back out of the stall and start heading back to my apartment, trying to think of what to say.
When we are almost back, I say, “I don’t know. I’ve never had someone give me their number before, and it’s not like I am looking for a relationship right now. And, I’m just trying to get through my senior year,” I hesitate, “What do you think Dillon?”
“I think it never hurts to go on a date or two. By then you should have a better read of him and you can make up your mind easier,” he turns to look at me now, “But I’m not saying you have to go out with him. He seemed to make you a little uncomfortable. I noticed that whenever he was around, you got really quiet and I don’t like seeing you like that Kenna. It brings back the darker memories of sophomore year. But for all I know, you could have been quiet because I was right there. I just know that I cannot make this decision for you.” He is staring out at the stars that are starting to speckle the vast expanse of night sky.
I pull into my apartment complex and head toward my stall. We park and get out and walk back to my apartment in silence. When we get inside, I hear Dillon sigh. “Well, I should get going. I still have a paper to finish before noon tomorrow.” He comes over and wraps me in a hug, the kind of hug that just makes you feel calm and safe, like you could spend forever like that.
“Okay. See you tomorrow?” I ask as he releases me from the hug.
“Of course,” he says with that reassuring smile of his. “Just don’t stay up too late.”
“I won’t.” He leaves and the apartment is quiet again.
I study for a little bit longer before getting ready for bed. As I pull out my phone to put it on the charger, the receipt comes with it. Hmm. I stare at Aiden’s phone number for a while before I mindlessly type it into my contacts. I open up my messages and start to compose a text.
Hey, it’s Kenna. I was wondering if you would wanna hang out sometime.
My finger hesitates for a second, but I hit send. I place my phone down on my nightstand and try to sleep.
A few minutes later, my phone vibrates.
1 new message from Aiden
Hey Kenna! I would love to hang out sometime, just let me know when works for you. -Aiden
How about dinner Friday? You pick the place, I’ll meet you there.
1 new message from Aiden
Sounds good. I’ll let you know where when I pick a place.
I turn the vibration setting on my phone off and roll to the middle of my bed.
Have I just done something incredibly courageous or extremely stupid? I guess I’ll find out soon.