Allow me to tell you of yet another romantic escapade of mine.
When I was a student at UCLA, I got a job as a campus security patrolman. It wasn’t the most dignified of jobs, but I enjoyed the camaraderie of the coworkers and the faux-swashbuckling pseudo-adventures. The paycheck was none too bad either. Also, it was through this job I met the love of my life: Solitude.
I met Solitude on my first night of patrol. It was love at first sight and soon after we were smitten. Once the sun went down and the student population on campus slowly dwindled, I would meet with Solitude on a grassy field, and together, hand-in-hand, we would stroll about the deserted campus talking of times passed and ideas present. I would talk, Solitude would listen. Sometimes Solitude would talk too, usually in the form of crickets, often wind.
Unfortunately, I could only meet Solitude at work. Solitude was nowhere to be found in apartment life, nor was Solitude possible in class. Not even at mealtime could Solitude be found. No, only as a patrolman could I be with Solitude. I quickly grew addicted to work.
I should note that patrolling was not my only task. I also escorted people around campus – people who, afraid of getting mugged or kidnapped, would call me and ask me to walk with them from Point A to Point B. I did my escorts graciously, but deep inside I always resented them a little for taking away my precious time with Solitude. You see, Solitude was very shy, and would vanish the moment others would appear. Skittish, I suppose.
One such escort of mine occurred on Halloween night. I was summoned to deliver a sorority girl from her house to a frat party across campus. Until then, I had been enjoying my pleasant night with Solitude, knowing naggingly that a mile away, student life was overflowing with rambunctious Halloween drunkards and general debauchery. I liked being apart from the mayhem, and I had no intention of entering it. But alas, that was exactly where my sorority girl was going – straight into the Jack-o-Lion’s Den.
I arrived at her doorstep. She was dressed as an angel and wouldn’t stop yabbering from the moment we left, which led me to believe she had already been pre-gaming for quite some time. During our walk through the deserted campus, she cheerfully opened up the details of her life: her studies, her family, her friends, interests, and stories about her childhood without even being provoked. I said nothing, mostly because I couldn’t get a word in. I could only listen, and so listen I did. I think she appreciated that, but truth be told, I found the conversation somewhat banal and secretly longed to be alone.
As we entered the street party, surrounded by drunk frat boys and slutty nurses, it became clear to me that she really had no idea where she wanted me to drop her off. We zigzagged up and down the streets and completed several circles, approaching frat house after frat house. Occasionally, she would run into groups of her friends partying out in the street, but until she formally dismissed my services, I was obligated to be at her side.
This wouldn’t have been a problem if people didn’t assume I was dressed in a Halloween costume.
Her – “Hey guys! What’s up?”
Friends – “Oh, hey! Who’s the dude?”
Her – “This is my patrolman! He’s escorting me!”
She would grab my hand and hook arms with me.
Friends – “Woah! Nice costume, man!”
Me – “Actually, I really am a patrolman. And I’m really escorting her somewhere.”
Friends – “Uh… we totally haven’t been drinking, Officer…”
On occasion, groups of vampires would see me and say, “Oh shit, it’s the police!” and scatter. Sometimes zombies with open containers would heckle me, taking advantage of my relative helplessness away from the lonesome comfort of my beloved campus. An hour went by and rendezvous after rendezvous, we finally came to her elusive destination.
We stood in front of the stairs and she finished her conversation while I listened. Then there was a silence in which she should have turned around and walked through the door. But she didn’t.
Her – “So… at what number may I find a nice young man like yourself to walk me home in the future?”
Me – “You can reach any one of us at our security hotline, (310) 555-WALK.”
Her – “…oh. …well… goodnight then.”
She quickly turned around and walked through the door. I returned to campus. It took me a full fifteen minutes to realize she wanted my number.
Solitude returned, and together we walked abreast into the empty night.