Several months went by. It was near the end of the semester and summer was in full bloom. Students rushed past me as I emerged from the west campus one morning on my way to class. We are entangled in thought and never more blind to what is around us than when we head to work. The more focused you are within, the more fragmented the reality without. A big set of female hips glided toward me, disembodied in their heft, narrow waist, black slacks. I looked up. It was Cookie. Again with a friend, perhaps the same. We locked eyes as we passed. She turned around and smiled, recognizing me. She spoke to her friend and both looked back laughing, followed by a third lingering smile over her shoulder. We were far apart now. I should have been running over to talk to her, but the certainty I would be seeing her excused me from the chase, now that it was clear she was on campus. She seemed a little older today, in the morning glare, mid thirties perhaps, grittier, with pencil-accented eyebrows. Much too old to be a student, unless enrolled in the BFSU language-training center for adults, where they just might have been heading. Or a campus employee.
The encounter dramatically altered things. That was no ordinary smile; it was a full-blown flirtation. Now the entire stretch was aflame with expectation, along with the west campus, since the language-training center where Cookie might be studying was on the way to my apartment in the foreign experts building. The funneling effect of our daily physical proximity would inexorably tumble us together again. Day One had begun.