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Grahamstown.
First week back – early February.
Satan exists, in the form of torrid hot weather which feels like a warm fart floating over the university campus.
Students take refuge in the university’s computer labs because of the holy blast of air-con, nonexistent in their residences or digs.
In fact, although my new digs is awesome, it has a constant temperature of 30 degrees, regardless of the time of day.

So there I am, beached on a computer keyboard, trying to get into the university routine again, and this cute kid with a red flannel shirt walks past.

Okay. I observe. He’s pretty cute.
But I’m in sad-old-hag mode, moping about the nonexistence of my summer lover, and bracing myself for eternal solitude and cat infestations.

Next day, same scene.
Okay. So he’s pretty hot, the heat hasn’t warped my sense of sight yet.

I see him again another day, I forget where.
I think I nodded at him, like –
hey. we’re both dying of heat. let’s be comrades. and you’re wearing a long-sleeved flannel shirt, which should make you a moron in my books, but you look sweet, so i’m trying not to judge.

It is yet some other day, the heat has blurred my sense of time.
Again in the computer labs, trying to print out my lecture timetable. The recycled paper printer has packed up, and I sloth-walk out of my chair to see if I can bestow blessings upon it.
Lo and behold.
The recycled paper printer is a favourite among Gtown hippies, and so I find myself face to face with flannel-shirt guy.
Our combined presence somehow makes the printer work again.
Faced with a million things to say, I opt not to say OMG YOU’RE SO PRETTY, and instead, after stealing a glance at his freshly-printed timetable, I exclaim:

Oh wow! French 1P! I could be your tutor!

Because that’s definitely something that would make me appear sexy, available, and young.

Considering he looks about 17, and I look like a dishevelled divorcée, my heart sinks and I realise I, not flannel-shirt guy, am the moron.

Yet he notices nothing of this, and chuckles happily about learning French and oui this and très that. I can feel the printers watching me. This is a classic Marty-got-a-crush-on-joooo moment.

We do however clarify that he is not a first year, i.e. he is not 17 and prepubescent with inherent commitment issues, and I walk away thinking, eish, I’m quite keen on this sweet guy with a nice shirt.

I add him to my shopping list, along with a jar of olives and a kg of frozen chips.

The first Saturday that I’m in town, we host a live music event. Hippie face turns out to be a musician too, I swoon at the mere fact, and we get chatting about how awesome I am how great the show is, and how amazing it is to organise events and be a part of them…

Awkward conversation follows, in which we again clarify our ages. I love how varsity students have this obligation to ensure they are not crushing over a minor. But apart from this silly bit, we had a really good chat.

A week passes…A few icebergs melt…University starts…Grahamstown declares a drought and a severe water shortage…Another big gig comes our way. A good friend of mine has come up with an “Operation” plan, which basically means she’s going to make me and hippie boy talk together with her, then she will disappear, and we will get married. I mean, hang out and stuff, dude. Like.

Because she is awesome, even reading my blog at times, her plan works perfectly, and I land up spending half the evening with said hippie boy, having awesome conversations about our culture and background, the music scene, university, his lack of shoes, and my drunken friends.

Yes, Marty had to indulge in a not-so-sexy display of her Mother Hen qualities.
I get stuck babysitting two very drunk friends, with hippie boy tagging along, carrying semi-comatose people he barely knows, while trying to hit on me at the same time.
I was rather impressed. Reliability and helpfulness are not qualities I usually associate with boys.
We talked until 3am, when the last of the drunkards had passed out next to the toilet, and we declared it safe to go to sleep.

But fear not! I was responsible and drove him home, ending the night with the tiniest kiss I have ever indulged in.
Close to nunliness, I tell you.

Since that Friday, which was ten days ago, we’ve been seeing each other almost every day….
And things are incredibly, in the true sense of the word, good.

Despite my mad fling skills, I am actually taking this relationship slowly, because it doesn’t have a timebomb attached to it. There is no rush, only the freedom that comes from being able to say, hey, I’m free between two lectures, you wanna hang out?

I hope I never take this freedom for granted, or that I read too much into it. I also hope Grahamstown’s tap water becomes drinkable again and stuff, but mostly I hope this relationship stays as refreshing and lovely as it is now 🙂

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