I didn’t have a clue what to expect when I met Dragosani. I knew he was a university student at Carlton University and that he was living at home until the end of the term. Without a car he relied on his father to drop him off at the university on his way to work and then to pick him up afterwards. I knew he was shy and a whiz when it came to computers, and he was working towards his degree in computer sciences so he could write computer programs. But – I didn’t have a clue what he looked like, nor had I formed an idea in my head over the last 6 months.
What I met was a young student in long shaggy cut-off jean shorts wearing a large checked loose fitting shirt over a t-shirt to hide his size. His hair was shoulder length – that awkward stage when you are growing your hair – and it was a light brown with a hint of red and it parted in the middle and flipped up at the ends. His face was covered with a short reddish beard and a mustache and his lips were full. He wore black running shoes and the laces were neatly tied over his black socks. I know I couldn’t get my hands around his calves they were so large and his head brushed the roof of my car when he sat down while his knees knocked the dashboard. At 6’2” he was too big for my car and we had to work at the passenger seat to get it to go as far back as possible so he could be comfortable.
At first I couldn’t look at him. His appearance to me was so strange and I concentrated on the road and thought of all the wonderful conversations we had enjoyed together. I thought about his soft words and how I had always known he was a remarkable person. I reminded myself that outward appearances meant nothing and that he could have easily felt the same way about me. But he didn’t. Every time I glanced over he was looking at me. I concentrated on the road some more until I could put my finger on how I was feeling.
I wondered how we were going to make it through a whole weekend when Dragosani’s physical appearance threw me off so much. I fought with myself over this fact and finally nailed it down. He looked funny to me because he was a nerd. All he was missing was the glasses and the pocket protector – but he was a nerd.
We stopped for a snack at a fast-food restaurant and while we ate he babbled on about everything and anything. When the meal was over – I reached across and squeezed his hands. “I’m so glad I have finally met you,” I said. He smiled at me again and squeezed my hands back.
As night was drawing on I found a hotel and checked us in. As promised he called his mother and informed her of the hotel we were in and of our plans. We were going to have a tour of the parliament buildings and go see the prime minister’s residence. Or at least drive past it. He wanted to show me the university and some other sites around Ottawa and have a look at the famous Rideau Canal. When his mother was satisfied that I wasn’t going to drag him off and slay him, he hung up the phone. I had been busy unpacking during the conversation and trying not to laugh. It had become increasingly obvious to both of us that we were not going to get far from the room for a while.