At the end of each Wilkes University writing residency they always throw a banquet/party. I loved those closing residency outings and when George graduated with his Masters (before me) we went to the banquet together. As we were heading out to Wilkes, we were hanging out together in his dorm room and at one point he insisted that we leave. I remember looking at him somewhat mystified because we would be there painfully early. And finally, he stood up uneasily and said, “we need to leave because I don’t trust myself around you. I like you.” I never suspected he liked me and it took me by surprise. Those few words were all we needed for the most beautiful love story anyone could imagine. Sometimes I can’t even believe it happened.
At the banquet/party we had a great time with our friends, professors and other faculty, then afterwards a bunch of us headed back to George and Scott’s (grad friend also) shared dorm room. I was pretty inebriated so I made the decision to crash in their common room, where there was no couch so I had to sleep on the floor. At one point, when staring up at the ceiling I decided I no longer wanted to sleep on the floor but share the bed with George. A dorm bed. I knocked on his door, and as he opened the door all I saw was his wide grin. I asked if I could sleep next to him and he said sure. Immediately laying side-by-side we both felt how perfectly we fit together. I know what many of you are thinking, and no we did not do anything, although there were attempts made.
As he had his arm tossed over my waist, he started kissing my neck and ear, and eventually fell asleep. I woke up the next morning VERY early, at about 6a and rolled out from underneath his arm. I was terribly sluggish, ill and somewhat confused. I called my roommate at the time to come pick me up. Hours later, George called me to see if I wanted to go out to lunch with him and a few others. I said sure and met up with them. I went to lunch wearing a full face of make up from the night before and in sweats. I was struggling. As we were at lunch, George leaned over and told me I forgot something in his bed. I twisted my head quickly, and just stared at him. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a silver earring. I reached up to my left ear, and it was bear while the right earring was dangling. I grabbed it from him and laughed.
Last Spring I was getting out of my car at work and wearing the same earring from that night. And one of them went missing. I was pissed because I loved those earrings and George always acknowledged them when I wore them. He remembered when I lost them in his bed. When he died, I opened my draw at my desk at work where the lone earring rests now. Losing that earring in his bed the first night we spent together was foreshadowing of what was to come. A perfect pair now separated by the entropy that comes with cancer.