We had spoken online throughout the fall of my freshman year, and I eagerly anticipated our first in-person meeting. Our idea of a first date was nothing special. Essentially, in an attempt to be somewhat COVID-conscious, he and I planned to meet up on-campus and drink wine in one of the white tents meant for students to socialize in accordance with public health guidelines. (Sharing a bottle of white wine with a stranger is probably not in line with those guidelines... Sorry Hopkins!)
I didn’t know campus well at this point, so I cannot tell you where we walked, nor in which tent we sat, but I can tell you that I was extremely anxious that a security guard would see the wine he was carrying in a slim, black and easily recognizable Eddie’s bag. He laughed at my nervousness — I had been extremely chatty for all of the hours we had spent together on FaceTime — but I suppose he had not fully accounted for the intensity of the butterflies fluttering around my stomach, nor my fear of being caught out of line within my first week at Hopkins.
In the end, we sat down in one of the tents — I think I was even nervous about him playing around with the heating settings – and started to unscrew the top. It was at this point that we were faced with an unforeseen obstacle: a cork.
We did not have a corkscrew with us; he hypothesized that he might have one in his (off-campus) apartment. Even if he didn’t, we would have other options for how to open the bottle from his kitchen. I followed him across campus through areas that I had certainly not seen on my tour many months back. When we reached his apartment building, he told me that there was no pressure to come up with him if I didn’t feel comfortable.
I told him that I did feel comfortable, despite feeling reserved and slightly awkward when we had first approached one another, and went upstairs with him. What followed was rather comedic.
As it turned out, there was no corkscrew to be found in the apartment, but he and his roommate concocted a plan. They theorized about how heat could expand glass, whipped out a hairdryer and worked to expand the bottle, using other utensils to try to pry the cork out. I don’t recall precisely how they did it, but it was very impressive, even charming. As his roommate, he and I had celebratory wine all together, I remember feeling very important that he would introduce me to his roommate and that his roommate would be interested in speaking to me.
After that, the three of us played Mario Party, a game that I have no memory of playing on any other occasion. I make this point that I had not played previously because I won, and I was very pleased with myself.
He and I had been sitting on the floor, his roommate on the couch. At some point, his roommate wished us a good night and retired to his room. I assume this is when we moved to sit on the couch ourselves. I’m not sure how much time went by before he kissed me, but I remember how happy I was when he did.