Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's Not You, It's Me

Like a two by four to the back of the head, it came out of nowhere. Sometimes the best and the worst things that happen to a person do that, they come out of nowhere. It was a fine May evening, Jasper Simkins was studying for his Applied Computer Science final. He had a high B average to date. He wanted to ace the final and consequently ace the course. An A would boost his cumulative average. A cum over 3.5 was his goal. He was going to apply to Duquesne's Law School as a senior, next year.

Nora Norcross' name lit up his G3S iPhone. He had it on silent mode, since he was in the library. The librarian at Rutgers was a stickler for cell phone etiquette. Midge Pickens grew up without a cell. She flat out didn't like them. If she was a few generations older, she would have hated indoor plumbing. It was odd that Nora was calling, since Jasper and Nora mostly texted. Jasper let the call go to voice, daring not take the call with Ms. Pickens on patrol. He opted to study for another hour and check out the call later. Just as well as it turned out.

Nora was in her third year of study at the University of Maryland-College Park. She was a business major and she, too, was thinking about graduate school. Her plan was to graduate from Maryland, then to work for a large firm for a few years and then to pursue an MBA. Her aunt, Madge Norcross, worked for Deloitte and as a result of Madge's influence, Nora got a summer internship starting in three weeks. She would be working in the Miami, Florida office. There's always a straw that breaks the camel's back.

Nora and Jasper were a couple since they graduated from the Hun School in 2007. Hun is a private boarding prep school in Princeton, NJ. Both were good students and acceptable athletes. They had known each other casually since they were freshman, but it was in Mr. Henry's, History and Contemporary Values course, that they clicked. It started with some silly light hearted teasing, then some less inane conversations in the Sack, which led to a movie. They saw Disturbia.



Here's a synopsis of what they saw:

After his father's death, Kale (Shia LaBeouf) becomes sullen, withdrawn, and troubled - so much so that he finds himself under a court-ordered sentence of house arrest. His mother, Julie (Carrie-Anne Moss), works night and day to support herself and her son, only to be met with indifference and lethargy.

The walls of his house begin to close in on Kale. He becomes a voyeur as his interests turn outside the windows of his suburban home towards those of his neighbors, one of which Kale begins to suspect is a serial killer. But, are his suspicions merely the product of cabin fever and his overactive imagination? - "Disturbia."

STARRING: Shia LaBeouf, Carrie-Anne Moss, David Morse, Sarah Roemer, Kurt David Anderson, Elyse Mirto
DIRECTOR: D.J. Caruso
STUDIO: Paramount Pictures
RATING: PG-13 (For sequences of terror and violence, and some sensuality)

After the movie they went to Coldstone Creamery. They both chose the same dessert! Ah, two people, same dessert = same endorphin release receptors. They decided to get a single "Coffee Lovers Only" and split it.



Two spoons, one dessert. They both knew what that meant. The ice cream treat was not quite as sweet as the kisses that followed. It only takes one kiss to know. Betty Everett sang it best in 1964 in a song titled, "It's in His Kiss". The song was more commonly known as the Shoop Shoop Song.

Does he love me, I wanna know,
how can I tell if he loves me so?
(Is it in his eyes)
oh no you'll be deceived
(is it in his sighs)
oh no he'll make believe.
If you wanna know
(shoop shoop shoop shoop shoop shoop shoop)
if he loves you so
it's in his kiss
(that's where it is.... oh yeah!)

(Or is it in his face)
oh no it's just his charms
(in his warm embrace)
oh no that's just his arms.
If you wanna know
(shoop shoop shoop shoop shoop shoop shoop)
if he loves you so
it's in his kiss
(that's where it is)
woh-oh, it's in his kiss
(that's where it is).

Woh-oh-oh kiss him..... and squeeze him tight
and find out what you want to know.
If it's love if it really is....it's there in his kiss.
(How 'bout the way he acts)
oh no that's not the way
and you're not listening to all I say.
If you wanna know
(shoop shoop shoop shoop
shoop shoop shoop shoop)
if he loves you so
it's in his kiss
(that's where it is)
woh-oh, it's in his kiss
(that's where it is)

Woh-oh-oh kiss him..... and squeeze him tight
and find out what you want to know.
If it's love if it really is....it's there in his kiss.
(How 'bout the way he acts)
oh no that's not the way
and you're not listening to all I say.
If you wanna know
(shoop shoop shoop shoop
shoop shoop shoop shoop)
if he loves you so
it's in his kiss
(that's where it is)
woh-oh, it's in his kiss
(that's where it is)

Oh yeah it's in his kiss (that's where it is),
ooh it's in his kiss (that's where it is),
ooh it's in his kiss (that's where it is),
ooh it's in his kiss (that's where it is),
ooh it's in his kiss (that's where it is),
ooh it's in his kiss (that's where it is),
ooh it's in his kiss (that's where it is),
ooh it's in his kiss (that's where it is).

When love is right, it is a right as rain!

Jasper and Nora were inseparable, two peas in a pod. It was a beautiful thing. For anybody, who has ever been in this state of coupled joy, you know there is simply nothing better. Despite the fact that they attended different universities, the cell phone, text messaging and iChatting made it seem like they were always together. In Ms. Midge Pickens heyday, such things were unimaginable. They had looked forward to summer breaks for each of their first two years. They spent these two terrific summers doing boardwalk jobs in Ocean City, NJ. Jasper's grandparents on his mother's side owned a bungalow on Third Street. They had gotten too old to travel to the bungalow, but they were happy to let their grandson use the house. They only asked that he trim the bushes and cut the grass. So, Jasper and Nora had two idyllic summers. Too bad there would be no third.

This summer Nora is going to Miami to intern at Deloitte. Jasper, as usual, is moving to Third Street and he has a job at Prep's PIzza. He knows it won't be the same without Nora. He has rationalized that it will be OK. After all, he wants her to have her own career. Besides, he will catch a cheap Spirit Air flight out of Atlantic City to Miami every few weeks and he will visit her. Jasper liked South Beach, Coconut Grove and Florida afternoon rain storms. And he loved Nora.

Jasper took a deep breath as he exited the wide heavy library doors. The air had gotten heavy with humidity, showers were predicted for the early morning hours. He listened to Nora's voice message. Her voice seemed as heavy as the air. She simply said, "Call me." If he could go back to that moment in time, he would delete the message. He would skip the call. Too bad.

Ring, one, two, three, half...

Nora "Hi"
Jasper "Hi, what's up, you OK?"
Nora "Er, yeah, uh, gotta tell you something."
Jasper "What, what's wrong?"
Nora "It's not you, it's me..."

That was just the beginning of the modern version of the "Dear John" letter. The words, "It's not you, it's me", are among the worst collection of letters you can ever hear. Nora went on to say that she thought that they should take a break from their relationship. By this point, Jasper had slumped into a bus stop bench. It was nearly PM ten and the buses were only running every fifteen minutes. Good thing, too, only a few students got to see him crying like a fool. Nora said she wasn't sure she loved him anymore. She was quick to say that there was nobody else. Later, Jasper would remember how fast she volunteered the "nobody else". The "nobody else" runs a close second to "it's not you..."

And so it went. Talk, talk and more talk. It is a hard thing for both parties in a break up. The aggressor is guilt ridden and the victim is always trying to remedy the situation. Jasper's friend, Algie Fux (pronounced Fooks), will tell him to keep things simple. He will do so, for the most part, because he believes everything is made out to be too complicated. He will explain to Jasper that it is clear Nora doesn't want to be with him anymore. Relationships break down when the aggressor finds a better deal. Algie will exhort Japser to accept the loss and to move on. Right!

Soon, Jasper will cut the grass and trim the bushes and flip pizza. Nora will be a Deloitte gofer in Miami. Their texts will ebb and ebb and stop by early July. Jasper will change his Facebook status to "S" and by August, Nora will change hers back to, "In a Relationship". Yeah, his name is Jameson Crowthers. His Facebook avatar shows him standing next to Nora outside of a pink art deco hotel somewhere in South Beach. They are both smiling, lots of teeth smiles, smiles liked they just rang the bell. Jameson's page says he's a Terrapin, Class of 2011. He likes Neon Trees, peppermint gum and the Baltimore Ravens. He wants to be a doctor. When Jasper reads this he will want to cry. Ain't love fine! Yup, fine as frog's hair!

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