Some memories are so poignant that you’re able to recall specific details of the situation long after the event has passed. This series highlights the truly memorable moments of our writers' lives, those that have stuck with them for days, months and years and now take shape as stories on the page.
By Kirby Davis
One night two Novembers ago, I was debating which pair of black leggings was appropriate to wear to my first date with a guy I’d met on Tinder.
We’d FaceTimed the night before because his texted assurances that he wasn’t a serial killer just weren’t doing it for me. My expectations were low, because while he seemed cute and funny over FaceTime and our conversation had lasted hours, we had met over Tinder. And I had not, previously, had any luck with the app.
My name is Kirby, as my byline mentions. So most messages I received were ones wondering if that was my real name (yes), was I named after the cartoon character (no), and did I know that Kirby the cartoon character’s power was the ability to suck things? (Unfortunately, yes, thanks to Tinder).
Only one of my interactions on the app turned into a sort-of relationship. I wouldn’t say we dated, exactly, but we definitely were talking for a few months when we were both in Cleveland for summer break. It wasn’t a love connection, but I was upset when he ghosted me, regardless.
I was much more apathetic by the time he broke up with his new girlfriend and shot me the classic “How’ve you been?” text over Thanksgiving break.
But back to two Novembers ago.
My expectations were low. But I wanted to be wrong because I liked Zach. He hadn’t messaged me about my name; he’d opened with, “Are you my appendix? Because my gut’s telling me to take you out.”
I replied, “Your bio says you’re a writer. Do better.”
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He did, and we kept talking. We planned a date, at his place, to watch “The Haunting of Hill House.”
I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend. I had recently taken a medical leave of absence from school to be treated for severe depression and anxiety and I was bored. When I wasn’t in therapy, I was reading or sleeping and all my friends were at school. So I’d re-downloaded Tinder.
I also didn’t, at the time, subscribe to the belief that you find someone when you’re not looking. I still don’t, because if no one actively pursued anyone else, ever, half of my friends in relationships would not be.
I’d also sort of accepted, at the time, that I might never find someone who was willing to date someone quite so depressed and anxious — not in a self-pitying way, just in a practical way.
But, at the risk of sounding horrifically sappy, I found that in Zach. As promised, he was not a serial killer, and we made it Facebook official two months after our first date.
Sixteen and smitten
By Lexi Whitehead
High school dances may be a cesspool of sweat and hooligans, but one dance I went to will always hold a special place in my heart.
When I was a sophomore in high school, my school held a masquerade-themed Winter Formal. Traditionally, it was a girls-ask-guys dance, but I went with a few of my friends.
I wore a makeshift dress, a maroon cropped shirt and a long pink tutu. I tied it all together with a mask covered in gold sequins that I’d glued on, one by one, the night before.
Shortly after arriving at the dance, I ran into the boy I’d had a tiny crush on a few months earlier. We went to homecoming together in September but stopped talking afterward.
We made small talk for a bit. He told me his date ditched him to dance with her other friends. I felt bad for him, so I stayed and we kept catching up with each other.
After a lot of convincing, he gave in and danced with me in the gym. Still resistant, I grabbed his hands and made him reluctantly bob around with me.
When we walked over to get punch and cookies, I asked him to put my phone in his pocket. He did, but also questioned why girls’ clothes never have pockets. I responded quickly, as this had been a source of my frustration for a long time.
“Capitalism!” I explained. “By giving us no pockets, it forces us to buy purses.”
I think he fell in love with me after that.
Back on the dance floor, he seemed to be enjoying himself more as the night went on. He asked me to slow dance, which we continued to do even after the DJ started playing rap music again.
There was a moment when we were swaying to a crappy song we didn’t know when I looked at him and wanted to kiss him. I didn’t, because I was afraid it might ruin how things were going. I wasn’t sure if we were on the same page.
But before I could even finish my anxiety-induced thoughts, he kissed me. Not to sound like a cheesy YA novel, but everything else around us, the crowd and the music, seemed to disappear.
The next day, I wrote all about it in my diary.