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Letter to: My Freshers’ Week Fling

11,000 undergraduates at this university and I had to sleep with the one I share a microwave and a bog with

“It started out with a kiss, how did it end up like this?” to quote Brandon Flowers. And by “like this” I mean us awkwardly avoiding eye contact, virtually running past each other when we pass in the corridor and desperately wishing we’d not had that fifth vodka lemonade.

Let’s start at the beginning: Bridge Thursday of Freshers’ Week. You were number 17 and me number 14. Those two rooms between us came to represent Belgium for the rest of Michaelmas and most of Hilary. The buffer state in the growing diplomatic crisis that was the second floor.

We spoke briefly at the JCR organised pres, it was less “When Harry Met Sally”, more Simon and Tara from The Inbetweeners. Both of us were social misfits, fresh out of secondary school and curious to test drive adulthood. We were soon both reminded how immature we actually were.

I can’t remember which one of us first made eyes at the other- whatever “eyes” are, but before we knew it we were Murray and Federa in the Wimbledon tonsil tennis final.  We made the usual Freshers’ week small talk down High Street, through the Plodge, across the quad and up the staircase. We must be going to mine, I thought to myself, not realising that we’d already passed number 14. By the time my faculties had caught up with me it was too late. I didn’t consider the consequences in the moment, who does though?

Brilliant. I thought to myself as a stared at the bedroom ceiling the next morning. 11,000 undergraduates at this university and you had to sleep with the one who you share a microwave and a bog with. Little consolidation came in the fact the walk of shame was only 12 feet.

The aftermath of the entire situation could have been handled far better. I shouldn’t have left while you were still asleep. You shouldn’t have ignored me when we ended up sitting next to each other at lunch the next day.

I don’t think we hate each other—unless you think otherwise. All I know is its just so bloody awkward. The sudden panic when we both find ourselves alone in the kitchen together, the awkward shuffle when were both meet at the bathroom door. If we were more adult we might have moved on, talked it out, perhaps even gone on a date.

But we weren’t adults, you were a freckly girl in the dungaree dress, I was a spotty boy in the Banksy t-shirt. Neither of us were destined to be Union president or blues rugby captain (not that we would subscribe to such indicators of popularity). But for a brief few hours, we helped each other leave behind the insecurities that dogged us for most of our school years. We showed each other that university really is a place of experimentation and excitement.

I guess what I’m trying to say in a twisted sort of way is thank you. I think we learnt a lot from each other. I hope one day we can be friends— or at least one hold a conversation in the corridor kitchen over our Pot Noodles.

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