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  • Throughout high school, I learned a few things about myself. I learned that I was hugely unpopular, left out and uninvited. I was not part of any of the "in" cliques and as an outsider struggled to define myself as anything other than unwanted. My high school crushes were tremendously unrequited and consequently my identity as a desirable female withered.

    With this suitcase of low self-esteem I high-tailed it out of the Midwest, away from the colleges that all of my fellow high schoolers were proudly entering, and plunged myself into a university that I had never visited, never heard of and couldn't imagine as anything but charmed. My intent was to become a neuroscientist and so The University of Rochester would be perfect for me, both as a smaller pre-med school and as far away from Michigan as I could get.

    It took no time at all to feel comfortable and, dare I think it, popular – amongst these new people. Classes were absorbing and the waves of new faces was a rich humus in which to sew my wit and gregarious charm. In a word, it was the opposite of high school in every positive way. But it only got better.

    Late one night, the fire alarm went off (again) and we all trudged out into the wet, cold dark. I grabbed my most precious possession, a Seiko watch given me for graduation by my parents. We all huddled in the rain for an interminable time and still we were not allowed reentry. Suddenly, I felt the absence of my watch and looked down to see it laying in a puddle! I swore loudly as i picked it up and randomly turned to the tall fellow standing next to me and said "Listen, would you like to go to the Rathskellar or something?" He accepted immediately and we had many rounds of drinks, easy conversation and quite a spark was ignited.

    As it happened, this fellow Ross, was in my Phys-Chem class and unbeknownst to me, I had caught his eye. He "happened" to be visiting my dorm in the hopes of running into me! Of course, all this came out much, much later. That first evening, I just remembered his soft deep voice, his tall athletic build and his sweet humor.

    Never in my self-deflated imagination did I imagine that this funny companion would turn out to be one of my most powerful and deep loves. Our relationship grew out of mutual attraction as much as admiration. His Upstate-New York life was as foreign to me as my immigrant-daughter life. We were treading in totally unfamiliar territory while simultaneously being as open and honest as I have ever been in any relationship. Our explorations of each other's deepest hopes and needs reached emotional peaks as well as physical ones. Our couplings were as creative as our frequent study breaks. Time together was time suspended. We felt so deeply connected that we could intuit each others thoughts. First love? Yes. First sex? Yes. But all that pales in comparison to the first emotionally intimate relationship I ever had.

    Sadly, my presence at the University ended abruptly. My father looked at my first semester grades and rejected my dreams of a medical career. Instead, I applied to the large state university where much of my high school was attending, got accepted and became an artist. But of then, thats another story.

    Ross? Well, after a tearful summer studded with the receipt of many steamy letters, he continued at Rochester, found a new girl in short order and faithfully stays in touch with me to this very day.
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