It was the day before Thanksgiving break. Everyone in the dorms was throwing jeans and sweatshirts into duffel bags and driving home. A semester of doing every extracurricular known to man left me breathing heavily and ready for a break. I was packing necessities into a few bags while listening to Christmas music.
The phone rang.
My dorm was built sometime during the 70’s or 80’s—the days of landlines and waiting by the phone. Every room has a mud-brown wall-mounted phone that only rings if a teacher needs to talk to you and you won’t check your email. They never ring.
Yet that day, it rang. I picked up the receiver.
“May I speak to Emma, please?” Male voice. Vaguely nasal. Cheery. Familiar. I thought it might be David, Sam’s brother, who had asked me out twice and sent me chocolate not-so-anonymously.
“This is she.”
“Oh, hey! This is Sam.”
Sam. The brother with a girlfriend. What could he possibly want?
“Hey, Sam.” Maybe he’d detect the note of confusion. Maybe not.
“I was wondering if you’d like to go to It’s a Wonderful Life with me.” A stage adaptation of the Frank Capra feels-fest was playing in the little theater on back campus. I was planning on going, but hadn’t bought tickets yet. I was going to go alone, but if a friend asked me to join him, I saw no problem with accepting the invitation. But Sam was dating someone. Why was he asking me?