Jackie and I returned to SPU as roommates again that fall. We lived on the same floor in the same dorm but this time I requested a room right near the entrance to the girl's side of the building. Though we technically lived on the 3rd floor, our dorm was situated on a hill so our floor was considered the main level, the point through which everyone entered. Jackie thought I was crazy to want the room that all foot traffic had to pass by to access any of the girls' rooms, but, in a weird and twisted way, this-set up appealed to the introvert in me. I could almost guarantee myself a social life without all the effort of getting out of my chair to pursue it.
It was only my 2nd year at SPU but I was a officially a junior and had reached the point at which I needed to declare my major. I had come to the conclusion that a degree nutrition was the right route for me. I LOVED the human nutrition course I had taken in high school at the community college and I found myself reading all the unassigned chapters in my textbooks "just for fun." I'd say that was a pretty strong sign. My summer experience in the medical center may have helped to solidify my decision to forgo nursing but my primary reasoning was my inability to tolerate blood in any form.
Unfortunately for Graham, this meant he and I would no longer have any classes together so he had to figure out another way to see me. Since it was his 3rd year at SPU, he had moved out of the dorms to a house across the street with some of his closest guy friends. He would no longer be "accidentally running into me" on the floors of Hill Hall.
Believe it or not, I still had NO IDEA that Graham was interested in me. You see, dear reader, like I said before, Graham knew a LOT of people. And most of them happened to be female. He was one of the brave and few, a male in a sea of ladies, all in pursuit of a nursing degree. Every time I saw him, he seemed to be in the company of women. When he studied, he did so with girls. When he walked to the science building, it was a group of female classmates that accompanied him. I just assumed I was another one of the rest of them.
One evening in early October, just a few days into the new quarter, Graham appeared at my dorm door. I jumped up in excitement to greet him; it was first time we'd seen each other since June. He asked if wanted to join him on a walk. He had learned my weak spot; I was always game for a walk. Since it was early in the quarter, my homework load was minimal so I donned my "purple" coat and accepted.
My mind was thick with confusion, still wrestling with all that had happened during that last week of summer. I hadn’t gotten back to him yet; I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I confided in Jackie and she seemed excited for me at the prospect of what could be between me and this Bellingham Boy. But I figured it would be nice to get a male perspective on the matter.
It was pouring down rain when Graham asked me to walk; rain is the pride and joy of Seattle in the fall. But there is something about a walk in the rain that does wonders for clearing the head. We pulled on our hoods and headed down the hill toward the canal, a pretty stretch of water connecting Lake Union with the Locks in Ballard and eventually with Shilshole Bay and the Puget Sound. There was a trail that ran parallel to the canal and it was in this very spot where countless SPU attendees had the infamous "DTR" conversation where they Determined (the status of) Their Relationship.
Graham and I were just friends though, walking and catching up on all the happenings of our summers. I told him my thoughts on my internship, about the trips I’d taken with my family, and about how I'd passed a lot of my free time hanging out with the FAT boys. By this point, we'd completed an out and back along the canal trail and were heading back up the stairs to my dorm room. I concluded our conversation by saying in a very oh-by-the-way sort of fashion that one of the guys back home had professed rather sudden feelings for me at the 11th hour and that it was all very confusing. Apparently, I made no mention of any of my returned feelings for this guy.
Graham listened attentively; he didn't make any attempts to advise. That night after our walk, Graham tells me he went home and explained the situation to his housemates. It appeared as though everyone and their mother was well aware of how Graham felt about me. Well, except for one very key person, that is.
"Do I need to make a move now before she gets snatched up?" Graham asked his roommates.
They gave it some thought before assuring him "It sounds like she's probably not too into him if she didn't just say yes right away."
And so he let the sleeping dog lie.
By the end of the month, word reached him that Kelsie Wilson had her first boyfriend.