She caught him walking across the quad and yelled, “Hey, you!”
The boy looped an index finger back at himself, gesturing and mouthing, “Who, me?”
“Yes, you.” She marched toward him with the assertive flair of a third-year theatre arts major. “You stood me up last night! And I never wanted to date you in the first place.”
Ever since she walked through his frisbee game he’d been pursuing her. Annoying her, really, because he wasn’t her type. He dressed like a twelve-year-old and he seemed to live in a world of play. On the other hand, he was hot. She finally said, “Oh, all right, I’ll go out with you. If you take me to the Dieberkorn exhibit.”
She could see he had no idea who Dieberkorn was. When she told him—one of the Bay Area Figurative Group—he said he had something “funner” in mind. Take it or leave it, she said. He took it, but never showed. She waited on a bench next to one more girder sculpture until she was too angry to go inside alone.
The boy stood silently and submitted to her tongue-lashing. He waited for her to run out of anger. When at last she took a breath, he said, “Listen, what happened, and I’m sorry about that, is that you must have run into my brother Jamal. We’re twins, but we only look alike. He’s the airhead. You can’t count on him for anything. I apologize for him. Not the first time.”
Stunned and embarrassed, she looked him over. He wore a Façonnable shirt, open, over an insignia-free T-shirt, clean Levis, and actual shoes. He appeared to be a grown-up. Also, every bit as hot as the airhead brother.
That same day, after getting to know each other over lattes, which he paid for, they made love in her dormitory room. He was caring and tender, and she was excited by the perversity of it, trading in one brother for the other. Jamal lay next to her for a long while, trying to figure out how he could keep this from unraveling. If only he had remembered to meet her at the gallery. He couldn’t remember what he did instead.