I had a crush on you, and you got hypothermia. I took care of you -- got you inside, put you in the shower, gave you a clean towel and a cup of tea, and put you into my bed. I sat with you and put on some quiet music and let you sleep. I went out and left you in my bedroom and guarded the door from the intruders in the kitchen. Occasionally I went back in to check on you. Do you need more tea, something to eat? You were exhausted, and grateful, and tired, and sweet, and I just wanted you to stay and stay. I think I gave you my blue fleece pants, the warmest, softest things I had, and some thick woolly socks. I sat on the edge of the bed, looking at my knees, talking to you. I hardly knew you but I knew you were kind, and cute, and being near you made me shy. I was so glad for the chance to take care of you.
I don't remember how it ended. You must have driven home with your teammates, back to Rhode Island. Did you take my socks, and return them at some other regatta, on some other visit? Did you spend the night, and I slept out on the couch? I don't think so, but I can't remember. I do remember that months later, after I'd graduated and moved far away, you wrote to me. You were in California and were still grateful for the way I'd treated you that afternoon. And after you wrote to me I dreamed about you, vivid dreams that stayed with me after I woke up and interrupted my daytime. We didn't even know one another; we never even kissed. But something about that shy sweetness we both had, the bubble around that afternoon when I tried to warm you up, made you vivid to me.
It's been more than 10 years since I've seen you; I can't be sure that I'd recognize you if I ran into you today. Last I heard you were programming computers and living on a boat with a girl in Santa Cruz. That's pretty cool. I wish I'd been braver back then, and had known how to take more of a risk. I would have liked just to know you. You seemed safe, kind. I wanted to talk to you. But I was about to graduate, and you were a year behind me, at a different school. I didn't know how to try. All I could do was bring you more tea, play the Karelia Suite, and hope you would be so comfortable you would somehow just stay there, in the dappled green afternoon sunlight of my room, dozing off and waking up to smile at me.