Describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn.
It would be easy/quick to respond to this one with “the day I found out I had cancer,” but that’s obvious and not very fun. Instead, I’m going to grab a moment from a long, long time ago. I’ve probably told this story here already, but YOU dig around in 13 years of archives and figger it out. Here goes:
Freshman year at Walla Walla College, if you were in the student photo directory, you got a prank call from me and April. It was our thing; we were dorks who thought we were super fun to talk to. And pre-caller ID days, we could be anonymous. Wait, read that word again, but in a sing-song voice: AAAA-NOOOON-Y-MOOOOUS!! Much better. Prank phone calls were the best, Jerry; the best! Not a single WWC student was off-limits when it came to our favorite evening activity.
I knew a senior named Victor Manullang; I had met him four years earlier when he was a college freshman and on a date with my sister. I was a high school freshman (read: complete moron). I remember teasing him a lot, asking WHAT ON EARTH was he a history major for because THAT’S SO STUPID and THAT’S SO BORING and WHAT CAN YOU EVEN DO WITH THAT MAJOR and I wouldn’t stop because, in case you missed it, I was 14 and stupid. So, when I got to WWC as a freshman and saw that Victor was a fellow student, I wasn’t exactly excited about revealing my identity as that bratty girl—not that he’d remember anyway. (Right?) I avoided him. I was afraid he would try to talk to me, and that would mean he remembered me from four years earlier and that would not be a good thing. If you were 18 once, you get how completely humiliating that would have felt—now, though, it seems insanely silly.
One night I came to April’s dorm room and found she and her roommate passing the phone back and forth, laughing hysterically. April whispered that they had called our friend Kevin’s room and were talking to his roommate. I wanted in on that action, of course, and grabbed the phone. I started talking and flirting and doing all the stuff we usually did on our prank calls, and I don’t know how it hit me, but suddenly I realized who Kevin’s roommate was: I was talking to Victor Manullang. I stifled a scream and tossed the phone to April, and I don’t remember what happened next, but April said my name so I slammed the phone down.
(Kids, that was a thing back then, slamming a phone down. It’s sad you can’t do that anymore, it really is.)
I screamed at April WHY DID YOU SAY MY NAME, HE’S GONNA KNOW IT WAS US! and she screamed back WHY DID YOU THROW THE PHONE AT ME? and who knows what else but a lot of things I’m sure and then I remembered that Kevin’s (and Victor’s) room was directly across the courtyard from April’s and he could probably totally see us so I screamed again and ran for the light switch and we sat there in the silent dark and I don’t know what we were waiting for, but we were definitely hoping that that was the end of our prank phone call (to that number) for the night and then…
He knew it was us. There was a lot of chaotic screaming and blaming and cursing and I turned the lights back on and I don’t remember what happened after that. Maybe we answered the phone and pretended we were asleep, that we’d been asleep for hours and knew nothing about any random anonymous callers. Maybe I forced April to answer and pretend she had acted alone. I don’t remember the details, but I know that we were caught and it felt like it might just be the worst thing that had ever happened in the history of ever.
Oh, but then. THEN! At lunch in the cafeteria the next day, Kevin and Victor set their trays down and sat directly across from me and April. They were both grinning ear-to-ear. There was a lot of embarrassed chuckling and non-meeting of the eyes. They wouldn’t stop smiling; they *might* have been proud to get attention from freshman girls. We eventually felt less uncomfortable and actually had a conversation. And then the next time they saw us in the cafeteria they sat with us again. And the next time, and the next time…
And, slowly, Victor and I became friends. Yes, he remembered me being that teasing know-it-all from long ago, but it was okay. The two of us hung out when neither was dating someone else. He moved to Ohio for a few years, and we wrote letters and talked on the phone. He got a job in Portland around the same time I graduated and moved back home, and we were each other’s dates for stuff when everyone else said ‘no.’ We watched TV together over the phone. We went to movies and concerts and ball games and plays and new restaurants. We vacationed with friends in Las Vegas and L.A.
But we weren’t dating. That would come later, when both of us gave up on someone better coming along and he cut off that awful mullet. It took 14 years from when we first met, ten from when we first became friends, and just.like.that, we lived happily ever after.
I didn’t realize at the time that the ridiculous prank phone call had changed the direction of my life, but whenever I look back on that night, I feel genuinely glad for my freshman immaturity.
If you’re a blogger and want to do our blog challenge with us, let me know and I’ll send you our list! Otherwise, tune in here (and on Sherilee’s happy little blog) every day in September.