An old roommate told me that Annie was on campus. He was working in a lab where she was hired as a summer intern. I had one more semester left before graduating and was still doing sys-admin work for the biochem lab. Annie and I dated when I was a sophomore.
We met while I was part-timing in the Health Sciences building. She was a freshman but decided to transfer at the end of the year. Although I started dating Helen (now my wife) soon after Annie moved away, I hadn’t exactly gotten Annie out of my system.
So I called Annie at the lab, and we made a date to go out. Catch up on old times. Helen had already graduated and moved out of town, so I figured this would be the perfect crime. Helen knew about Annie, and well, Helen wouldn’t have liked it if she knew I was meeting Annie. I arrived at the bar first. My heart raced when I saw her. Annie was a slightly-built blonde.
She had freckles and dimples, and cute legs, and I was always dazzled whenever I saw her. That night, she was wearing tight jeans, a white blouse, and a black velvet jacket. I waved to her, and when she saw me she flashed that smile that had turned me to jelly every time I saw her. After a quick hug, we checked out the February market and later ordered a pitcher of beer and sat down.
Of course, we had a lot of catching up to do. Yes, she had arrived. Old friends had moved on, bars and meeting places were under new ownership, families were either doing well or not so well. My dear old roommate had spilled the beans about Helen and me; Annie said she was happy for me. Our conversation, after some time and more beer, turned to her new school.
“Is their program really better?” I asked. “I don’t know,” she sighed. “I think they have better labs, but that place is really over-rated. I probably should have stayed here.” Years ago, she had some trouble getting into college but she made it through the GED program and now is a hotshot in college.
Ouch. In the context of comparing U of Wash’s biochemistry program to Northwestern’s, I could have taken that tiny comment as an interesting little bit of information that I could say, share at a party if anyone should ask where they should study biochemistry. “Well, they’re all pretty much alike, but I hear Northwestern’s labs are well equipped” I could say with confidence, and girls would be impressed.
However, in the context of a romance that ended despite my objections and begging, my impassioned arguments regarding the misery of Chicago winters, Seattle Snow, and the superiority of the Seattle music scene, and her answer to my final plea of “don’t I mean anything to you?”, this little bon mot caught me like a jigger of Tabasco in my eye.
I just stared at my beer. Annie was feeling a little drunk, and it took her a minute to register my reaction. She looked meaningfully at me and said: “I mean it.” “Ok.” “No. I mean it. I mean you. I shouldn’t have left. I shouldn’t have left you.” She reached across the table for my hand. “Let’s go,” she said.
We ran to the house where she was staying. I don’t remember entering the house, or how we shed our clothes. I felt like I was caught in a tornado of desire, and I found myself on her bed with her on top of me. And then, the door to her room burst open, and a tall pale redhead, wearing only an aqua-colored lacey bra and matching garter belt entered, followed by a slender naked Asian girl.
The redhead lunged at the bed and tackled Annie off of me. As the Asian girl took Annie’s place, Annie wrestled the redhead, giggling, while the redhead reprimanded Annie. “Now Annie, you know that we agreed that when one of us brings a guy home, we’re supposed to share!”
Well, that’s not exactly what happened. I made up the part about the redhead and the Asian girl. And the part about going to Annie’s place; we really went back to my place after checking out one of the Seattle Parks in the cold. We opened a bottle of wine, and after just a little persuasion on my part, we did wind up on my bed, kissing. And then Helen burst through the door, waving my big vegetable chopping knife. “You bastard!” she yelled as she slashed the knife across my throat. She caught the carotid artery on the left side of my neck. I fell back, stunned, my hand at my neck trying to stem the flow of blood as Helen sank the knife into Annie’s chest.
After three stabs, Helen returned to me. I had no strength in my body, and I was losing consciousness. The last thing I remember, as Helen placed the tip of the knife at the corner formed by my jaw and windpipe, was her saying “how could you do this to me?” as she placed the full weight of her body on the back of the knife and forced it through the floor of my mouth into the base of my skull.
Ok, obviously that really didn’t happen. Helen doesn’t know what really happened that night, and I guess I feel sort of guilty about it. What really happened is that when Annie and I got back to my place, we sat on the couch. She held my hand and looked deeply into my eyes. I began to feel a sense of peace and happiness. I felt a sort of calmness and bliss that I’ve never felt before. I was so at peace with everything that it didn’t even bother me when Annie’s tongue coiled out of her mouth towards my face. I saw a little mouth open at the tip of her tongue, with needle-sharp teeth, and it didn’t even bother me when it began gnawing at my eye and ate itself into my brain through my eye socket… I felt quiet but like Sleepless in Seattle at the same time.
Alright, I made that up too. Nothing concerning Annie has ever ended right for me. We were lovers for two beautiful months in 1996, and then she just totally and effortlessly disappeared from my life. Ever since, even after marrying Helen, I’ve tried to form a better ending to that night. Annie really did express regret at ending things, I clearly remember her words.
That night, I felt like things had the potential to turn around. Maybe Annie wanted me after all. Annie did spend the night at my place, and we did end up in bed, and we had fairly pleasant intercourse. We fell asleep, me feeling vaguely guilty about having cheated on Helen. I woke up as Annie was rummaging through her purse. She was already dressed.
“What’s up?” I murmured. “I gotta go. I have to clean up and get to work and later visit SAM, Seattle Art Museum. Bye”. She turned and left. I haven’t seen her since.
The more astute reader will realize by now that I didn’t actually sleep with Annie that night. The truth is that after she expressed her regret about switching biochem programs, she looked at me and smiled and said “I’m sorry, Mason. I should have thought more about you.” She then looked at her watch, noted that it was getting late and that she had work in the morning. I took another swig of beer and escorted her to the street. Another quick hug, a goodbye, and I haven’t seen her since.