Once upon a time, before there was online dating I met someone the old-fashioned way.
I used to study in coffee shops, bookstores, and libraries during my first two years of medical school. Since I was always studying, I frequented all of these locations within a 25-mile radius of my apartment.
I walked into a Borders with my heavy messenger bag and several textbooks in my arms. I ordered a double Americano filled to the brim (because I needed max caffeine), bag and books in tow.
Most of the tables and seats were taken, but I saw one seat open at a table where there was already someone sitting. He seemed to have been studying too, so I walked over and asked if I could sit across from him.
He looked up and agreed. He seemed friendly.
I started unloading my books and coffee onto the table, and then my coffee spilled all over his books. And sweater. And bag. Basically, everything he owned.
I was mortified. Gonna go disappear now, bye.
‘Oh god. I’m so, so sorry!’ I exclaimed.
He replied, ‘It’s fine, don’t worry about it.’
I looked down and not only did I spill coffee on his books, but they were also law school texts. I cringed so hard.
‘Uh, I don’t know what to say. Can I-?’ I was lost for words.
There was no coming back from this.
He said kindly, ‘It’s cool, really. Looks like you’re studying too. You might need some coffee. Let me buy you another cup.’
We started dating for a bit. But him being in law school and me in med school at different universities, meeting up was really difficult. We ended up drifting apart, and when he graduated (which happened before my graduation), he moved up to the Bay Area.
He came down once while I was still in school, but by then I was already in a new relationship. We had a cordial dinner and parted ways; he flew up back to the Bay.
We’d periodically text. He’s one of the very few people I know who is not on social media, so I rarely knew what he was up to unless we chatted.
I saw him earlier in January. He came down, again from the Bay, stopping by my neck of the woods while he was interviewing for a position. We had brunch, talked, and he’d invited a couple of his lawyer friends.
He flew back up to the Bay, and I haven’t heard from him since.”