With one simple question, he changed the course of her future
by Lyssa Myska Allen
On the rare occasion I had a boyfriend, he was a basketball player. As a college athlete, I assumed the only thing I had that set me apart from other girls was athleticism, and while it might not get me all the guys, it would get me a few. My sophomore year, I quit playing basketball, but not knowing what to do with myself without athletics, I joined the track team. I would have practice in the afternoons and go straight to my Monday night class in my track clothes. On the off chance I had time to shower, “dressing up” meant jeans and a cute vintage t-shirt, foreign attire to my university of sorority girls.
Alas, I was in a sorority, a laid-back one, but one nonetheless. I sat with two of my sisters in my Monday night class, and they always oohed and ahhed over this hot fraternity guy from one of the most popular frats who sat two rows in front of us. My verdict? “He’s definitely hot, but he’s short.”
Well this short, hot fraternity guy started doing peculiar things, like waiting for me after class by throwing away his trash very slooooowly, or walking home my route instead of his, and eventually he asked me how I did on a test. We got to talking, and we walked home, on my route, together.
Eventually we walked home from class every week together. My sorority sisters were green with envy: “he waits for you after class!” or “he walks you home?!” and probably a slight disbelief. I mean, I really was a good two inches taller than he was, in flip-flops!
One time he came over to my apartment for some notes, and I answered the door in my usual study garb of sweatpants and a t-shirt. He looked around my room, filled with basketball gear, balls, track spikes, player autographs, SportsCenter playing on TV, and asked, “So, you’re an athlete?”
SO I’M AN ATHLETE? The implications of the question rattled around in my brain long enough for me to need to pause before brightly responding “yeah!” and moving on. He liked me without knowing I was an athlete?! … Could he really have liked me just for my looks and intellect?! … Impossible! … Apparently true …
Nothing else ever happened. He left that night with some notes, we took the final the next week, he graduated, and we never talked again. An entire semester of him pursuing me boiled down to … nothing.
I don’t even want to analyze why nothing ever happened, because with that one question, everything happened. I was no longer bound to athletics, my identity no longer was being that athletic girl, instead, I could explore who I really am.
I really am athletic. I love sports. But I also love girly things like shopping, cooking, getting dressed up, new makeup, girlfriends, and brunches. And this one short, hot frat boy with his one simple question allowed the whole me to bubble up to the surface.