A chance encounter with a stranger a few days ago got me to thinking about issues of trust and risk, which led me to remember this small incident from long ago. I puzzled over a suitable prompt; this one sort of applies.
Her name was Barbara but her nickname was, for some reason, "Bool."
Her name was Barbara but her nickname was, for some reason, “Bool.” Kind, smart, shy, pretty, and, as we all were, so very young.
One weekend evening Bool either had too much to drink or had taken something she should not have. Feeling disoriented, she went looking around the dorm for someone to keep her company while she slept it off. I guess her roommate and female friends had gone home, because she ended up in my and Alan’s room. It being a weekend, it was actually somewhat unusual that she found us at home. Must have been some big exams coming up that week.
We made her welcome, gave her something non-alcoholic to drink and told her she’d be fine, all it needed was time. Alan cleared off his bed so she could go to sleep; she knew him somewhat better than she did me, so it was gonna be him sleeping in a chair. We watched TV for a bit, then turned out the lights and all went to sleep. The next morning we went to breakfast at a local luncheonette that served cheap, greasy and delicious breakfasts.
That was it. That’s the entire tale. It was only years later that Alan and I, on a tipsy trip down Memory Lane, recalled “the night drunk Bool slept over” and we realized what it had meant. Alone, vulnerable and afraid, Bool had gone to find people whom she knew she could trust completely, even if she was unconscious. Knowing what I know now about the fears that women must deal with nearly every day, it’s amazing that she chose a couple of testosterone-soaked twenty year old guys from Jersey, each of whom had a couple few beers in him themselves.
I realize now that she paid us a huge compliment.
A hyper-annuated wannabee scientist with a lovely wife and a mountain biking problem.