Night falls as I lie in wait with bated breath for Ariel White ’11 in the nearly empty common room of her entry, Armstrong 2. I converse with her JA, Jake Koshland ’09, to pass the time, but my mind is elsewhere. I hear soft footsteps of freshman feet on Mission carpeting and I instantly realize that Ariel is near.
Well, hello there.
Oh hey, sorry I made you wait. [She enters with a gaggle of freshmen.]
There is no need to apologize. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
[Her phone rings.]
Wait, I didn’t hear you, one second. Hello? Oh hey!
[She hurriedly vacates the room and begins a conversation. Her tone suggests affection â€“ for my sake, I hope it’s just the brotherly kind. Minutes pass while her entry merrily frolics on their flameproof couches. I cannot engage in such carefree fun when my one desire is for her to return. Finally, here she comes.]
I’m sorry about that.
Oh no, it’s really quite fine. Feel free to just pick up calls throughout the interview. No, really, I don’t care at all.
[One of her sagacious entrymates recognizes my sarcasm and informs Ariel that I have taken offense.]
I take offense to your face . . . because it’s your butt!
Tasteful. Anyway, you’re from Pasadena, California and went to South Pasadena High School, right?
Right. Wait, how did you â€“
What was that like?
Uh, well, I guess I liked it.
How did you like running track?
I ran cross country too â€“ wait, this is creepy! How did you know that I ran track?
You ran cross country too? I didn’t know that. It didn’t come up on any of the searches. Which one did you like more?
[Still wide-eyed and clearly alarmed at my dedication, she manages to muster an answer.] Er, track?
Pray tell â€“ why?
Well, the track coach didn’t date any of the runners.
You mean your cross country coach dated one of the runners? Was it Claire Ryan?
Oh my god! How did you know that? That’s really creepy!
I noticed that she always recorded better times than you. You ran the 800 in 2:33, which is really good â€“ don’t get me wrong â€“ but Claire had you beat.
You are creepy.
Were you jealous?
Of Claire? No! I don’t really go for guys that are a lot older than me.
What about one year older?
So, speaking of dudes, I hear that you made dating advertisements for your JA. What was the reasoning behind that?
I was trying to get him some ladies, know what I mean? [She winks.]
Yeah, I do. [I wink back and she shudders.] Are you suggesting that he needs help in that department?
Are you kidding?!
So has it worked?
Random entrymate: He almost got with a really hot chick last night!
Yeah! [Laughs maniacally and glances at a grinning Jake.]
So Ariel, do you play pranks on everyone in your entry?
Yeah, I turned Jake’s room into a 12 year-old girl’s room once. And another time we completely covered Allison’s [Khederian ’09] (her other JA) car with snow. You couldn’t even see it.
A knack for the mischievous; I dig that. Has that been your favorite thing since you’ve been to Williams â€“ playing jokes on people?
Well, no. My favorite thing was my final project for Winter Study. I made this really cool poster about what chloroplast is and what chloroplast isn’t!
That’s not cool, that’s actually really uninteresting.
The poster is still up in Bronfman, so that the entire campus can learn about â€“
You know, I once visited where you live. [Talk of green organelles had gone on long enough, so I steer the conversation back towards my true interest.]
I’ve been to Pasadena before. It was on a trip with the basketball team. We played at Cal Tech.
Really? That’s only five minutes away from my house.
Only five minutes away, you say? So close, yet so far . . .
What? Why do you keep on doing that? I can’t hear what you say when you mutter under your breath like that.
Okay let’s cut to the chase: if you had to spend the rest of your life with one person, who would it be? And remember it can be someone you don’t know very well. It can even be someone . . . whom you just met.
[I knew it wasn’t true, even before she said it. Her eyes told me more than her melodious words could ever say. I walked down the Armstrong-Pratt steps, past countless mountain bikes in the Mission hallway, lined up like potential suitors at a kissing booth, and out into the cold night where dreams are born but rarely come true.]