“Who is that,” I muttered.
Jean nudged me again. “She’s watching you, Ryan. Go talk to her.”
Creep. That’s the first thing I thought. I quickly turned away. What was I to say?
Hey I’m pretty sure you’re the girl of my dreams. Literally. I’ve seen a girl like you in my dream.
No way! It would freak her out. What girl wants to hear that from a random stranger? Jean kept nudging me.
“Dude. Duuude. Go talk to her,” he persisted.
I acted as if I hadn’t heard him. I said, “Huh? Oh. Sure I will. I just need to get my schedule first. We’re next.”
“Oh!” Jean said. The lady was patiently waiting for us with a smile. He started talking to her and asked for our class schedules. I couldn’t help but hold gazes with the mysterious girl in purple. She didn’t feel like a stranger at all even though we had never physically spoken. I felt as if I had known her for a really long time. For a second she looked away then back at me. She smiled again and I couldn’t resist smiling back.
What was going on? That had never happened to me before. There were people everywhere. But for that moment it felt really quiet as if it was just us. I felt this unspoken connection between us. Far away but so close. Like the rain connects the earth to the sky. There was something between us that I couldn’t explain without sounding insane.
Suddenly I could hear everything around me and saw everyone. Her friends were calling for her.
“Alice let’s go.”
Alice? Wasn’t that a little cliché? Guy sees girl from his dreams in real life. That sounds like the plot to some fairy tale. Now her name was Alice? So what was it, Alice in Dreamland or something? I pinched myself hoping I felt pain. And I did. Alice was real and she was walking away with her friends. She turned at me and waved me goodbye. Wait!
Suddenly I had all of the bravery in the universe. I had to go talk to her. But out of nowhere this lady walked past with over a dozen of students following her.
“And this is the main campus building. Here you will find the bookstore, technology center,” she kept going on. A tour? On the day before classes started? It made no sense! And they blocked my vision. It really was like a dream.
I went through the crowd of students and of course Alice was long gone. I felt like a complete idiot! Why hadn’t I talked to her? She clearly liked me with all of the waving and smiling. She was up for a conversation at the least. Yelich was huge. How was I supposed to find her without a last name?
Jean came to me. He said, “Got both of our schedules. She said you were easy to find. Big man on campus!” He nudged me again, which was getting annoying at that point.
I took my class schedule and thanked him. I said, “Jean your answer is probably no. But did you know any of those girls?”
He shook his head. “Yes. The tall girl with long black hair was my sister. Her name is Cho Zhang. Do you like her?”
“Do you know, Alice? That’s the girl who was waving at me.”
He said, “No. My sister and I aren’t from here. Cho is just really outgoing. She makes friends fast and easy. I bet she knows Alice by now. Hey let’s go meet my friends.”
I shook my head and followed him. His sister Cho knew Alice. So if I met Cho I could meet Alice. Plus I was going to make some more friends. Along with offices for academic advisors, deans, a few classes, the main campus building had several food courts. That’s where Jean led me. It was late noon and I had missed lunch on the plane. So I was starved.
After we got our food, Jean led me to a round table of four. I was glad I met Jean. There were hundreds of people everywhere. Had we not met I wouldn’t know where to sit. I would have hated to have to sit alone or awkwardly ask to join a table like a high school freshman. Jean’s friends looked pretty friendly and my luck would have it that his sister was there.
We sat down as Jean introduced me. He said, “Hey guys. This is Ryan Hansel Reeds. He’s a freshman and soon to be famous author. He has his own book out.”
They started wowing and clapping. Something I wasn’t particularly used to. I started imagining that happening in all of my classes. I had to snap out of my fantasy to meet everyone though. I had to meet Cho so I could ask about Alice.
A tall and skinny blonde wearing a pink tee shirt and blue jeans spoke first. She was really proper and spoke clearly. She could have easily been on a college debate team. She had shoulder length hair, glasses and a pen stuck behind her ear. Her name was Sara Inhow.
She said, “That’s impressive. Nice to meet you, Ryan. Tylor here writes too. He’s a screenplay writer. He’s pretty good actually. He has videos all over Mylink and FriendPad.” (Mylink was a website filled with videos that people from across the globe would upload. FriendPad was a social network that virtually everyone who was anyone had.)
Tylor was another guy who made me aware of how short I was. He had short brown hair, grey eyes and a skinny build. He was wearing a plain white tee and blue jeans. With him being a film person I quickly got repulsed. Lancington was the first place I thought of. Another rich and over privileged prick. Great.
He held out his hand. He said, “Hi, I’m Tylor Robinson. Sara’s right. I created the Mylink channel Creative&Independent. It’s known for the short film The Borrower’s Thief and shamefully, The Dancing Orangutan.”
My eyes almost popped from my head. “The Dancing Orangutan? But that’s the funniest thing ever made.”
Tylor face palmed himself and looked embarrassed. He said, “Please don’t remind me. That video is awful and was a joke. I didn’t know it would get so much attention.”
Sara said, “Tylor made his channel for young and creative people like himself. The Borrower’s Thief recently hit two thousand views. Still rising.”
I tried my best not to scoff or roll my eyes. I said, “So what part of Lancington are you from?” I couldn’t cover up all of my annoyed tone.
He laughed. “Lancington? I wish! I want to go there one day but I have to save up. If I hadn’t gotten a scholarship I wouldn’t even be at Yelich. I’m hoping by being here I’ll open up some doors for myself and the people back at home. I grew up in the not so nice part of town here in Canson.”
So then I felt like a complete ass. He wasn’t rich or overly confident. I was the over-privileged and apparently, judgmental prick. He was very polite, kind and obviously hardworking. One of the few people who were genuinely earning their success. Not inheriting it or getting it given to them shallowly.
The next person who spoke was Tomas Cherry. He looked to be mixed with black and possibly white or Hispanic. He wasn’t particularly too proper but not very improper. The more I thought about it the more rude I felt. I didn’t want to come off as racist or anything so I just didn’t ask. He had hash brown toned skin, an athletic build and short black hair. He was close to my height.
He said, “Tylor and I grew up in the same neighborhood but we never really talked much. He’s pretty cool though. Our neighbors let him use their homes for his films.”
Jean said, “Tomas here has also published his own book. It’s called, Fantasies of Wichita. It’s an epic, well, ha…”
Tomas said, “Erotica. Yes I wrote an erotica that tons of people have grown to love. People write about sex. It’s not a big deal.”
Fantasies of Wichita was in bookstores everywhere in Lancington. Girls at school read it over and over. It’s about a boy who becomes freakishly obsessed about a girl he named, Wichita. She finds a journal where he writes all of the things he wants to do to her, which leads to her becoming infatuated and then in love. I will admit, the book is pretty good. It’s not over the top or disgusting. There’s even romance.
“You wrote that?” I placed maybe a little too much emphasis on the you. It had nothing to do with him though. Tomas just looked incredibly young. “You don’t look a year over 19,” I said.
He smirked and said, “Eighteen last next April. Yes I know. Everyone always asks, ‘Where did you get the inspiration?’.”
He laughed. “Most of it is true.” He looked away in embarrassment. “The whole journal, girl finds journal, and girl gets infatuated with the writer thing? It all happened. I’m still with her. She’s the reason I’m in Canson City. We both go here now. She’s a sophomore.”
While he went on about his love story I glanced at Jean’s sister, Cho. She was really pretty now that I had gotten a closer look. Her hair was cut like her brothers but it reached to her back. Her skin was an attractive tan color and her eyes were brown like Jean’s. Unlike her brother’s preppy look, she was dressed more American. She had on a yellow blouse and white pants.
Her English was even more proper than Jean’s. After Tomas stopped talking she sort of jumped into the conversations.
She said, “When I found out I was so jealous of her!” She kept fidgeting with her fingers and glancing at Tomas. Anyone who couldn’t tell she liked him was blind and dumb. She even started blushing. “Such a lucky girl,” she muttered.
Jean leaned over to me and started whispering in my ear. Cho had apparently fell for Tomas Cherry after reading his book in Beijing. She started following his blog and even added him on FriendPad. She begged their parents to let them attend American college after finding out Tomas was going to Yelich. With her 4.5 gpa (how she got over a 4.0 I don’t know) she was a shoe-in. However, she didn’t know that Fantasies of Wichita was based on a true story. So when she found out Wichita was real AND as hot as the book says, she was pretty bummed out.
“Wow,” I whispered. “That’s pretty cool.”
“Cool? She’s obsessed with him!” Jean whispered.
That’s when Cho shouted at him in what I assumed was Chinese. Jean spoke back in the same dialect. None of us knew what was being said but it was probably about Tomas. She kept looking at him and blushing like some high school girl with a crush. Jean just sat their laughing and waving at her. Everyone but Tomas looked entertained.
Tomas actually looked pretty nervous and crept out. But I guess I would have been too if I had a stalker when I already had a beautiful girlfriend. He awkwardly tried to leave but Cho grabbed him and stood up. She shouted at him in Chinese then quickly said, “Sorry, Tomas! I mean sit. Please don’t go.”
It was easy to tell Tomas was the perfect gentleman. He wasn’t rude to her. He started rubbing his arm nervously as he said, “I have to grab my schedule and unpack my things. Then I have to buy books. Um. My girlfriend, Snow, she…”
Cho stood up and walked to him. She had the guy by four inches at the least. Tomas wasn’t the tallest guy and Cho wasn’t the shortest girl. So she easily could intimidate a guy. She grabbed his hands with both of hers and practically begged.
She said, “Let me help. I’m really good at unpacking and organizing. I also memorized every location on campus during my summer visits. I can navigate you around. Here, I can show you to the bookstore.”
Tomas gave in as he dropped his head. “Fine.” Cho just giggled as she dragged him away.
“Cho! Wait,” I called. “I need to ask you something!” But she was too focused on Tomas and was getting further and further away. I didn’t get to ask about Alice.
Jean was still laughing. He said, “She’s really persistent. Snow had better keep an eye on him.”
Sara held her hand to her chest and watched Tomas. She sighed. “I too understand her feelings of desire for Cherry. God, the things that boy can make a woman feel with those ink words of sensuality and passion. I would eat him alive. Snow is the luckiest woman in the entire world of ever.” She held her head down and sighed.
“Man. I hope I write something that good one day,” I said. Seriously. Who was Tomas? I read the book ONCE. And it really wasn’t THAT good.
Writing was taken from Dream’s Bridge, Written by. T. Edward Redd