Chapter 16

(1995)

 “So she just kissed you? Out of the blue?” said Zach as we found our seats on the bus.

“Yeah, it caught me off guard.”

“But she hasn’t said a word to you since,” he said.

“Right. I don’t really know what this means. I mean, does this mean she wants to get back together?”

“It’s gonna happen, James. She’s just testing the waters. Think about it. We had just sung one of the best performances any of us had ever sung, and she wanted to share that with you. That definitely means something. Like she said, you’re her person.”

“Do you think I should go try to talk to her?” I said.

“Naw, let her come to you. She’s taking her time. She asked for space, remember?”

We were quiet most of the rest of the way back to Norman. I watched the flat landscape of north-central Oklahoma roll by and began to feel a melancholy that I often felt at the end of momentous trips. I laid my head against the window. It was cool, and it calmed me, and I began to think about the kiss. I had not kissed her since the summer before my junior year.

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Chapter 10

(1995)

It was the first day of my senior fall semester at the University of Oklahoma. I had broken up with Stacey. She had gone back to Lawrence, Kansas for college, and I didn’t feel like having a long-distance relationship. Letters were not what I had wanted from her.

The heat and humidity of the Oklahoma summer were still lying thick over the campus as I walked from my Monday 8:30 Database Design class to the Catlett Music Center. I had auditioned in the summer and had been placed in the bass section, although I could have been as equally comfortable in the tenor section. Not only had my voice preserved well through several years of not singing, but its range had also grown significantly.

Dr. Baker was bustling about, straightening chairs and organizing his music stand. He was an African-American of around fifty with short salt and pepper hair.

He gestured to me then to the chairs and said, “Basses on the back two rows on the right.”

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