The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus



The Formal

Peter and Walter were sitting down for some fantastic udon noodles at K Tokyo. Unfortunately, their meal was not filled with the usual lighthearted anecdotes they had experienced throughout the week because Walter’s girlfriend, Sarah, had recently broken up with him.

And since the conversation was lacking, Peter had no reservations about answering his phone at the table when Liz called.

“Hey, where are you?” asked Liz. “I just stopped by your room, and Teddy said you had gone out to eat.”

“Yeah, I’m out with Walter at K Tokyo,” replied Peter.

“Oh, some udon noodles?” said Liz.

“They’re the best,” said Peter.

“Very good,” said Liz. “Well, I just stopped by to see if you’d be willing to go to my formal with me. Now I know you don’t like to dance . . .”

“Sure. I’ll go,” interjected Peter.

“Really?” said Liz, surprised at Peter’s quick response and willingness.

“Yeah, I’ll suck it up.”

“Wonderful!” exclaimed Liz. “Also, do you think Walter would be willing to go? One of my friends can’t find a date.”

“Um, maybe,” said Peter, glancing over at Walter. “His girlfriend just broke up with him.”

“I’ll go,” said Walter.

“What?” said Peter. “You can hear our conversation?”

“Yeah,” said Walter. “It’s really quiet in here.”

“He’ll go?” asked Liz.

“Wow. I feel like I’m getting in the way of y’all’s conversation,” said Peter.

“So he’ll go?” repeated Liz.

Walter nodded reassuringly. “Yeah, he’s in,” said Peter.

“Great. I’ll let my girlfriend know,” said Liz. “And I’ll give you a call later to provide more details, oh, and to set up a dinner date so Rachel and Walter can get acquainted beforehand.”

“All right,” said Peter.

“OK, well, enjoy your meal. I’ll talk to you later.”

“All right, bye.”

After putting his phone back into his pocket, Peter turned to Walter: “You sure you want to do this?”

“Yeah, I’ve always thought the best way to get over somebody is to move on immediately,” said Walter.

“All right,” said Peter in a somewhat disagreeable tone.

But neither of them wanted to pursue the matter further: their yaki udon dishes were too good to ignore.

Later that week, Peter and Walter made their way over to Olivella’s to meet Liz and Rachel, Walter’s date.

The lunch went fairly well. There were the usual get-to-know-you questions, of course, including, “Where are you from? . . . Oh, really! Do you know (insert random name)? She lives in (insert town within a 50-mile radius of the aforementioned town).” But overall it was pleasant.

However, as the conversation wore on, it became clear that Rachel and Walter did not have much chemistry, and Walter’s apparent disinterest, likely stemming from his recent breakup, was not helping matters. But there was nothing to indicate that they should not go to Rachel’s formal together.

So they finished lunch and politely parted ways until they would meet again right before the formal when it would be too late to change plans.

On the day of the formal, Walter was still not himself: quieter, disinterested and, even if he would not admit it, the breakup had truly hurt him.

“So, what do you think of Rachel?” asked Peter as they pulled up to Rachel’s apartment where the girls were getting ready.

“She’s cool,” responded Walter.

Peter did not respond as they walked to the door. He knew Walter was not over Sarah, and he knew that Walter was not ready to move on, but he did not know quite how to tell Walter that he needed to take some time. Besides, he could not bear to see Rachel’s expression when he would have to tell her that she no longer had a date. Therefore, Walter stayed.

Inside the apartment the girls were still getting ready, so Walter and Peter took a seat in front of the television and tuned in to “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” After they had watched a complete episode (which was hilarious as usual), the first of the girls, Rachel, finally emerged.

“Hey, boys, how are y’all doin’?” said Rachel.

“What’s taking you guys so long?” asked Walter.

Peter, in order to quell the potentially explosive words of Walter, decided to interject: “We’re doing well,” said Peter. “And yourself?”

“Um . . .” started Rachel, who was a little taken aback by Walter’s accusation. “Good, good.”

“You look good, by the way,” stated Peter. “What do you think, Walter?”

“Hm,” grunted Walter, who was not paying much attention to the conversation. He had picked up a magazine from the coffee table and was flipping through it.

“What do you think of my dress?” asked Rachel. “It took me forever to find the right one.”

“Mm hmm,” said Walter, though he never looked up from the magazine. His mind was clearly elsewhere, and he did pretend to feign interest.

Rachel was disappointed and hurt. She spent a great deal of time picking out her dress in order to look good for her date, and Walter did not seem to care.

“Hey, guys, are y’all ready?” said Liz energetically, not realizing what she was walking into.

Rachel smiled when Liz entered, but she could not disguise her disappointment and discontent.

“Hey, Liz,” said Peter, standing up from the couch and turning his attention to Walter. “May I speak with you?”

“Sure,” said Walter despondently, putting the magazine down. He then got up and followed Peter into the kitchen area, making no gesture toward Rachel as he walked past her.

When Walter stepped into the kitchen he prepared himself for some sort of reprobation, but he did not care. He was still slightly upset about the breakup, and he did not feel any connection with Rachel whatsoever.

Besides, the thing he most wanted now was to meet someone he might possibly have a future with, which makes sense in that he had rarely been single since he was 15. All he knew was commitment, and he needed to find someone he could be with. The last thing he wanted to do was waste time with someone he knew he was not compatible with.

“You need to show more interest in Rachel, man,” said Peter. “I know your mind is elsewhere, but for everyone’s sake, please snap out of it.”

“So you’re saying I should compliment her dress?”

“Yes!” exclaimed Peter. “Compliment her! When it comes to compliments, women are ravenous, unquenchable beasts always wanting more. So please compliment her.”

“All right,” nodded Walter in acquiescence.

Peter moved out of the kitchen and toward Liz. “You look spectacular,” he said as he kissed her. But Walter did not follow suit.

And as the evening progressed, matters got worse. Walter had not followed Peter’s advice. If anything, he had become more detached. And by the time they finally made it to the dance, Walter’s passive indifference had pissed Rachel off so much that she was no longer talking to him.

An unseen benefit from this for Peter, however, was that Liz was busy consoling Rachel and giving her an outlet for her discontent, which resulted in much less dancing for Peter than would have been the case if no contention had arisen.

Walter spent his time walking around and people watching. When he caught a glimpse of Rachel at the dance, he was slightly embarrassed for what he had done to her, but he did not regret it. That’s why he decided to go outside to escape her gaze instead of apologizing and reconciling with her.

As Walter walked outside, he spotted a girl across the road at another downtown establishment. Everything stopped. He slowly walked across the street and toward her as her eyes met with his, and she began walking toward him.

“You’re not thinking I’m someone else?” asked Walter (In his best imitation of “West Side Story”).

“I know you are not,” said the mysterious, beautiful stranger.

“Or that we’ve met before?”

“I know we have not.”

“I felt I knew something before was never going to happen, had to happen, but this is so much more,” said Walter in pleasing astonishment.

“My hands are cold,” she said raising her hands. Walter raised his hands up to hers. “Yours too,” she said.

Walter raised her right hand lovingly to his cheek. “So warm,” she replied. Then she took ahold of his hand and guided it to her cheek. “So beautiful,” Walter replied.

“Beautiful,” she repeated.

As their hands fell to their sides, Walter smiled. “So much to believe,” he said. Then his smile fell, “You’re not making a joke?”

“I have not yet learned how to joke that way,” she said disapprovingly. And looking deeply into his eyes she continued: “I think now I never will.”

They stood for a beat, eyes locked, two lovers enraptured in the gaze of the other. Then Walter slowly moved toward her as he pressed together his lips. He embraced her softly as he kissed her passionately.

As they pulled apart he whispered, “What’s your name?”

“María,” she replied.

He smiled. María.

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