It Happened To Me: My Professor Stood Me Up on Valentine’s Day

 

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an excerpt from the script

On Valentine’s day 2017, my screenwriting professor stood me up at the VI.

That morning, I’d approached him after class, and asked if he would mind giving me some notes on a screenplay I was writing with a friend from home. “It’s about a 18 year old failing DJ, who like, spends all of this blood money by accident,” I stammered. “But, like, it’s funny though.” My professor paused for a moment before generously agreeing to read it over. He offered to meet with me that evening, Tuesday, February 14, and suggested the VI as our venue, as he was grabbing dinner there with a few friends who happened to be in town. Convenience. Understandable. I think he could tell my night was wildly free– that I had nothing better to do than meet a professor at one of two date spots on campus at 5:30 pm on Valentines Day. What gave it away? Maybe it was the crusted FunDip at the corners of my mouth (courtesy of the CDO), or the unmistakable look of bitterness in my eyes, but either way, I gave him a feeble thumbs up and exited the Wright Center.

I arrived to the VI promptly at 5:30, slipped off my candy-necklace choker, as not to give him the wrong idea, and leaned against the wall, awaiting his arrival. A waitress asked me if I needed a table. I smiled politely, “I’m waiting for someone, thanks.” She nodded. Five minutes passed. I anxiously tapped my foot, and eyed couples sitting side by side in booths, swirling tongues coated in Thai peanut dressing. A girl from my Quest class suckled on a chicken wing bone while her presumed boyfriend looked on lovingly. Needless to say, I was jealous. I checked my watch. 5:40. “Do you at least want a menu?” The waitress asked me, eyebrows raised. “No, it’s fine. He’s coming.” She nodded again, but this time, slowly, and with her eyes closed. Why did she look so sympathetic? Another ten minutes. My crush from English walked in with one arm around his girlfriend. We made eye contact. “Sup bro,” he fist bumped me. “Who are you here with, fam?” “Haha, well… Just waiting for someone.” “Oh. That’s—totally…I’m sure he’ll come.” Before I could ask why he said what he just said the way that he did, he was gone. Seated. Another ten minutes. 6:00. The waitress returned. “Look, sweetie, I can just give you a menu and you can decide what you want while you wait for him…” And then it hit me. I was alone in the VI on Valentines Day, nervously waiting for a date who clearly wasn’t coming. I felt woozy. “Hey, do you want a menu or not?” “I’m sorry, I’m—I’m gonna go.” I scrambled for the door.
Outside, I caught my breath, and emailed my professor frantically,”I don’t see you inside, do you still want to meet here? If it’s getting too late for you I can come tomorrow or Thursday.” Four minutes later, he responded that he was, in fact, at the KI. What a goofy mix up! I almost wanted to run back in and tell the waitress that my date had gotten confused, and that actually, he was planning on taking me to a fancier restaurant and he’d already ordered me a steak and he’s really nice and cool and smart. But I didn’t. Instead, I walked to the KI. My candy necklace slipped out of my pocket onto the sidewalk, and I didn’t pick it up. I entered the restaurant, and spotted my professor sitting alone, sipping red wine. Maybe it was all okay, because I had stood him up too.
So there we sat, on Valentines day, just me and him. He passed me a glass of ice water and said the words every 18 year old girl waits her whole life to hear, and on the most romantic day of the year:
“Your script is okay.”

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