Written by both Clarissa and Clint.

How we met

Clint and I met for the first time in college. We both enrolled in the Honors program in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, although he was a year ahead of me. We ran into each other several times. I saw him in line at the Gibson computer lab and still there when I came back after class; was the only other person helping along with him at the Honors picnic; got him to check out a book for me in a fit of sheer desperation when I didn't have my student ID one day. I admit I thought he was one of those hardcore gamer types (he's not), but I did get the impression that he was nice and intelligent (he is!).

The first time I saw Clarissa, I was standing in line waiting for a computer with a scanner. There was only one on campus with OCR software, and somebody was playing e-mail with it. She walked in while I was waiting, and about fifteen minutes later she walked out again. She glanced at me and seemed a little surprised to find me still in line. She came back after about an hour and actually gave me a stare. I think she was the only person to notice that I had been standing in line for almost two hours. Oddly enough, she was the only person I remembered from those two hours.

Clint had checked out that book for me, which most people wouldn't have, so I guess that's why I felt bold enough to sit down at his table one day in the infamous campus cafeteria, Brough. It's not the sort of thing I normally--or ever--do. And it was odd that we were there at the same time. I was eating unusually late, and he was unusually early, or the other way around. I was embarassed when I noticed he was almost done, but I stuck around. Despite several near misses after that, we managed to have lunch pretty regularly. We had great, interesting conversations from the first and really enjoyed spending time with each other.

About a year before this, I went to a "free food" event at my dorm. The theme of this event was meeting new people, and at the very end they suggested that we all make a policy of sitting down to eat with a new person every week. Maybe it was the full gallon of lemonade concentrate that I'd been through, but I decided then and there to stick a fork into the hand of any strange person who asked to sit at my table. This briefly flashed through my mind when Clarissa asked to sit at my dark little table. I don't think I've ever dismissed a thought so quickly.

Getting to know each other

It wasn't too much later when Clarissa sent an e-mail asking if I would be interested in seeing The Matrix. I hadn't considered watching it before, but it sounded fun. The day we were supposed to go see it started grey and got worse. While I was waiting for Clarissa to pick me up, I watched the wind blow streams of pink petals off the trees in front of my dorm. A light rain started up and quickly turned into a heavy downpour. Clarissa was late and I really didn't expect her to show up, but she did eventually make it. The Matrix was a lot of fun, although I'd never seen an action film before. After that, we went to the library to work on Clarissa's math class. The rain was over by this point, but I remember little pools of water covered by floating pink petals on the white library steps. I stared at her Finite Math problems for a little while before I realized that I had no idea how to do any of them. Finite math is made up by evil people to punish students who don't take calculus. Once we realized this, we gave up.

I was having too much fun to end the day there, so I asked if she had ever been to Asahi, the only real Japanese restaurant in town. She said yes, and we had a lot of fun. It was simply amazing. I was even less ready for the evening to end when we left, but I couldn't think of any excuses. Fortunately, we drove past a store with a cool shirt with a Heian print in the window. I said, "Hey, let's stop and look at that!" I guess Clarissa was also looking for an excuse, so we did. We turned around, found a parking space, walked to the store, and stared in the window for a while. When I finally got back to my dorm, I felt like I was floating.

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