I saw her often in the dining hall, and always in the same manner. She would come in with her thick black-and-bleached hair, her striking face, and her unique clothes, and would choose a table at which to sit alone and read a book while eating.
Throughout the fall quarter of 2006 I wondered why this girl always sat by herself. As an extrovert, I could not understand her seclusion: even when a crowded dining hall forced her to share a table, her body language clearly detached her from the others...and then she would be off, off to her next unknown adventure, and likely alone.
Then, one day in the winter quarter of 2007, I saw her once again. I was facing south, and she walked past my table to sit two tables north of (and thus behind) me. Seated across from Sars, I commented that I always wondered why she sat by herself. He, facing her table, informed me that she was in one of his classes. While doing so, his eyes tracked her movement behind me, and as she passed several feet away back by our table, he turned bodily towards her, throwing subtlety to the wind. Turning to me, he continued speaking.
"I'm trying to make eye contact with her so, like, when she sees me in class she'll be like "Oh yeah, I've seen that guy." Then, like, it won't be like awkward when I sit on the same row as her. Then I'll like, like decrease the number of seats between us like each class until I'm like sitting next to her and then I'll be like "Hey. My name is Sars. Like the virus.""
As she returned to her table, dessert in hand, I told him that that was the stupidest thing I'd heard in my life. "You just walk up and say "Hey, my name is Kurt. What's your name?"" Sars argued back that you can't just walk up to a person and introduce yourself: you have to plan the first encounter to decrease the awkwardness. He then hopped up for some cookies as K. Dubs came to the table. I excused myself and walked to her table directly.
"Hi! My name is Kurt McKee. I see you in the dining hall all the time, and I've always wondered what your name is."