Turk was handsome, to say the least. His arms resembled a bodybuilder’s and I truly believed I could hang from them, flipping my feet up in the air like a backwards pump on a swing. The first night we spoke, it was like a scene from The OC. Actually, that Orange County, California, show encouraged my initiative with Turk. Turk was the Ryan Atwood without all the criminal history. I guess I was the Marissa. And we all know that Ryan + Marissa = a lot of complications.
We worked together and anything his mouth said I believed. Now, I believe I believed too much. Turk lived in the 30s in Freddy Court too, except the building on the other side of mine, opposite Cam. Cam on the left side, Turk on the right, and me stuck in the middle. My apartment windows faced the parking lot and not the courtyard, and I think that was a good thing, no way of overanalyzing their lights late at night.
When Turk stepped into my life, I subconsciously pushed Cam out, but not on purpose. Cam and I hit it off those few spring months; the way it should have happened. Throughout the summer time we had fallen in long distance love with the idea of being together. By the time we were face to face, Turk had already reached my lips, embarking on my heart a tale too tough to call fair. Turk had my heart from the moment he nicknamed me “Hollywood” in a reporter’s meeting just weeks after Cam and I met. Our eyes glued to one another’s’ or maybe only mine glued to his… I can’t remember, but can only hope it was mutual then. It never really was though.
After he pinned me up against my on-campus bedroom door and kissed me like he did, my heart forgot Cam. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself, Turk and I met through our job at the student newspaper, but our secret fling started under the campanile one rainy night after production deadline in late April 2008.
“So what’s the deal tonight? I’m still locked up at the Daily editing shiza…,” Turk Facebook messaged me, adding his catchy synonym for stuff.
“Jeeze I tell ya, ur addicted to that place… but who’s to talk … ha! Yeah of course call me when you’re done… How late u thinking?” I messaged back, ignoring my bad grammar.
“Not sure, how late you going to be up? What would you want to do?” he typed and I, reading too much into it.
“I’ll probably be up till…ummm…idk 12ish? It depends if I decide to wait that long or not!” I said, trying to be frank, but leaving it open to change my mind according to his schedule. “Haha… but I don’t think I’ll sleep anyway like last night so… yeah. Idk what I wanna do… it doesn’t matter, if you wanna do something if not it’s fine… I mean what would YOU wanna do!?” I added a smiley tongue sticking out face.
“It doesn’t matter… if you have trouble sleeping give me a ring… maybe I can talk you to sleep? Ha.” Turk said, being cleaver.
The conversation goes on until I laughed to myself finding the perfect way to kiss him. “Ever campaniled?” I typed with flushed cheeks as if he could see me through my laptop screen.
“Funny you ask, no.” he replied. I imagined his voiceless voice going up an octave.
“Why is it funny I ask? It’s close to midnight… just an idea.” I typed innocently, even though I was so guilty.
“A good idea at that, BUT… I don’t know if more “trouble” in my life is what I need right now… not that you’re a trouble maker or anything…” he entered with I’m sure some sort of poke to my side. “Trouble” had recently become my nickname with all the news desk silent flirtation. I liked it, especially when he said it in two distinct words, “Tee-rubble.”
“Trouble?” What’s that implying? Plus it’s raining. Not trying to cause u trouble… just having fun. U do think I’m trouble, don’t u!?” I enter, trying to sound flirtatious, but secretly starting to turn red with embarrassment.
“Oh, I don’t know… not “bad” trouble… if you’re “just having fun,” should I meet you there?” Turk answered and this is where this whole thing started; me saying I was “just having fun.” Lies. After a couple more silly flits back and forth, he concludes with, “meet me at the campanile… yes?”
It was 15 minutes until midnight, until the campanile bells ring. The tradition stood strong: if you kiss underneath the campanile at midnight, you become an official Iowa Stater. I replied… “Yes.”
We stood underneath the campanile bell tower arches as the rain poured down around us, waiting for the clock to chime midnight. I kept thinking, “I really want to kiss you.” The bells began and with Turk’s word, “Whelp…” led into a whirlwind of vertigo as our lips played upon each other’s for the entire tune. Then, when the bells had ended and it reached 12:01, he took me in his hands and kissed me again, longer this time. All I could think of was… well, I couldn’t think at all. And I couldn’t say anything cute or smart or funny afterward; all I could do was smile and look at my shoes. But now I could think and my mind was racing as well as my heart, faster than it ever has. There was no ignoring this feeling, even if I left Cam because I was falling in love and my heart gave away the first hint.
I can’t remember who broke the silence, but it had something to do with me being “trouble.” After that, we ran into the spring rain without umbrellas to my car I parked illegally in front of Central Campus. The whole way back we talked and even when we parked in the Freddy Court parking lot, in which my bedroom faced, we talked. We talked until 1:30 in the morning on a school night. I didn’t care.
We deciphered he was a dog person and I was a cat person. We compared number of siblings and we each had one. He asked me how I thought his last name was pronounced and I said it wrong. We laughed and kissed some more. Surface questions were done and we now looked at each other thinking, “now what?” Should I invite him up to my room? That’d be really “OC” of me. I rolled my eyes at myself.
“Well, do you want to come up?” I asked not making eye contact.
“Okay, but you have to run because it’s raining!” I said, breaking out my rambunctious side. “Okay, ready, set, GO!” I jumped out of my car and took off for the building door, reaching my hand back pushing the lock button on my key ring. The car honked and I punched my entrance code. I turned around but Turk wasn’t there. He insisted on walking normally, later I would have called it walking like a “man”. Who cares about a little rain. I’m a man. I can take it. I laughed and yelled, “Come on! RUN!” He didn’t.