"I can't believe we're actually here." Camille sighs happily as we enter campus grounds. The sun throws its rays of light over New York, leaving the city in a mesmerising summer gleam. Around us red and beige stone buildings rise proudly. They stand screaming with pride - knowing just how important they were. "I know." I manage to breathe out delightfully.
With slow - yet eager - steps we make our way to the open square in front of the enormous library, that towers over us with a wide staircase and no less than ten ancient looking columns. Above the columns THE LIBRARY OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY is written in dark faded letters. The stone square, in between the library and the grass yards, is decorated in a symmetrical patters made from red squares surrounded by beige stones. The university’s architecture is breathtaking. Classic and beautiful. Both of our necks are bent back, trying to read the engraved writing above the tall black letters, but it seems to have faded too much with time to be readable from the ground. After watching the library building for a couple minutes, I am forced to adjust my head normally, to keep my neck from cramping. It always seem to be like this the first days on Manhattan. Every building towers over you with such power that you can not help but stare. I doubt Camille thinks about waking up with a sore neck in the morning, because she breathes in deeply and shuts her eyes - still with her face turned towards the sky. I watch her for a moment. She looks relaxed, but the joy is written all over her face. In the way her lips curl up in a barely visible smile, the light quiver of her eyelids and air she inhales through her nostrils. I feel an urge to wrap my arms around her waist and pull her in for a hug, but she looks so calm that disturbing her would seem unnecessary. The thought of standing by the side of the closest friend I had since first grade, in front of my absolute dream university, seems all too exciting to be real. I take a deep shaking breath, and let myself take a couple steps closer to the staircase.
“Maybe we should get lunch and eat it on those steps?” Camille’s soft voice interrupt my slow movement, and I turn to glance back at her - a small smile creeping over my lips, “And here I thought you were in deep deep thought.”
She lets out a small laugh, “I was actually quite the opposite. You do realise that sometimes it’s important just to enjoy the moment, the air, the atmosphere. It can be very calming.”
I raise my eyebrows. “I am sure it can,” I mock her lovingly. The truth is that Camille has grown very close to the concept of yoga and meditation during spring, and ever since, she has managed to find small joy-filled moments in everyday. I find it interesting and if I had been a calm creature myself, perhaps I would have given it a try, but my world is always spinning a hundred kilometres pr. hour or not at all. I get bored during long workout sessions - and I was so incredibly bored the first time Camille dragged me to a yoga session, that I fell asleep on the mat. It was a moment of embarrassment and judgemental glances from middle-aged women, who all seemed to give me some sort of teenage thug title. Truth is just that my workout comes from things with speed, things that make me feel strong enough to call myself Black Widow. I like the rush of a slightly violent and hard workout.
Camille opens her mouth to speak, but closes it again. I swear that she thinks about telling me how I should just try to be more in touch with myself, and perhaps join a yoga class, but we both remember how that worked out. Camille was just as - if not more - embarrassed than I was. I was not obligated to look the coach, nor the middle-aged women, in the eye a couple days later.
“But what do you say?” She asks and takes a couple steps forward, joining my side.
“To what?” I ask distantly.
“Lunch on these steps.” She replies.
I think about it for a moment. “It seems like a very nice idea.” I then say and turn my head to look at her. She flashes me a smile. “Okay,” she raises her left forefinger in the air, “What are we getting?”
This is the part where she wants to plan, which is another of her strong sides. She is a very structural person. I let my tongue slip out between my lips for a second to moisten them, and then reply; “How about thai-food?”
“In this heat?” Judgement for my bad idea pierces her voice.
I chuckle a little and shrug my shoulders, “Okay - perhaps not. Sushi? You love sushi. I love sushi.”
Camille nods, “Sushi it is.”
“Great. You know where we can find sushi?” I raise my eyebrows.
“No idea,” she answers and cracks up in a smile, “Isn’t this exciting?”
I let out a laugh, “It is.”
She bents her arm and I quickly understand, and slip mine into it, until we are strolling over the stone ground arm in arm.
We do not make it outside of university grounds before my ringtone starts playing, and I excuse myself to slip up my phone from my back pocket. The caller ID reads Playmate and a force unwillingly pulls the corner of my lips upward. I press the green answer button and raise the phone to my ear.
“Harry!” I greet happily.
“Hi Mel,” Harry’s voice sounds from the other side of the line.
“Harry Cooper or Styles?” Camille whispers.
I glance at her. “Styles,” I reply.
“Who are you talking to?” Harry asks from the phone.
“Sorry, just Cami.”
“You’re with Cami?”
“Say hi from me!”
Then there is about a short second of silence, before Harry speaks again. This time sounding more serious than before. “Well, Amelia,” he starts out. I wrinkle my forehead at his use of my real name. “I must say I am extremely hurt and beyond offended,” he continues. I grow confused, but that confusion only lasts about a second. “Why did you not tell me you were spending the summer on Manhattan?”
I can not hold back the small laugh that escapes my lips, “Oh wauw. You had me worried there.”
“Well you should be!” He chuckles.
“Sorry,” I apologise. “I guess I thought you’d be extremely busy.”
“As usual,” he jokes. I can almost imagine the smile creeping over his lips, and just thinking about it makes me realise just how much I miss him. “Gosh, I miss you,” I breathe and run my free hand through my loose hair.
“You too,” he says. “Therefore I wondered,” he pauses, “if you had any plans for the night?”
“What?” I ask surprised, not sure I had heard right.
“Wait, you’re in the city?” I can feel the excitement spread through my veins, reaching the every corner of my body and stirring in the tip of my fingers.
“No, not right now. But I will be tonight.” He says casually.
“Where are you?”
“Boston. On a plane.”
“You can’t talk on the phone while flying!” It is somehow my first reaction.
I can hear him laugh on the other side, “We’re on the ground. Waiting.”
“Oh,” I breathe. “Then sure, I… I don’t, well I will have to clear it with Cami.” I say.
“Cami can join! I’d like to see her again too.” Harry says.
“Well then… Sure. It’s a date - I mean, it’s not a date, it’s a-“
“I know, Mel. It’s a date. A very friendly, my-playmate-is-visiting-my-new-city-and-we-are-going-for-dinner-date.”
“Exactly.” I smile.
“So… I’ll text you the address?” Harry suggests carefully.
“Eh, do you have a place in mind?”
“Well,” I breathe in deeply, “you just text me the time and place and will be sure to be on time.”
“Great! Can’t wait!”
“Then I will see you soon. Bye Mels.”
“Wait!” I fast speak.
“Dress-code?” I grind my teeth for having to ask.
“Probably formal. But I will text you if not, ok?”
“Yeah - thanks. See you soon.”
“Count on it.” And then I can hear him hang up. I slowly lower the phone, “Harry invited me to dinner.” I mumble.
“How nice of him.” Camille smiles. “I always forget that he lives on money now,” she admits.
“Me too. Me too.”
“But is it like… nice?” Camille raises her eyebrows, expecting to have our conversation repeated for her sake. And she will have her way, she knows that.
“Formal. And you are invited too.” I answer with a hint of a smile.
“Oh,” Cami says, not sounding as excited as I thought she would.
“You don’t wanna go?”
“No, yeah, sure… I just think that maybe you and Harry should go alone.” Camille shrugs her shoulders, but the smile pulling at her lips is easy to see. I sigh and slap her shoulder lightly, “It is not happening, Cami. Not now. Not ever.” I say sternly.
Camille has had this idea about Harry and I falling in love since we were quite small, fourth grade or something. She likes the appeal of the neighbour friends eventually finding romance in their lifelong friendship, but I doubt it will ever happen. There has never been a romantic spark between us, and that it will explode like fireworks now, is something I doubt. The thought of it seems uncomfortable too. We are too close and comfortable. Camille means that it is exactly such things relationships should be built on, but I have never been the boyfriend type and rarely manage to make a relationship last more than maximum a couple months.
“So… Lunch with me now and then you have dinner with Harry later, and after that you meet me for drinks?” Camille suggests.
I think about it, “Sounds lovely. But it might be late.”
“Yeah, and we’re in New York. I bet these bars are open until the morning.”
“Touché,” I laugh until it suddenly occurs to me that we are not in Europe anymore, nonetheless in England. “Shit,” I mutter.
“What?” Camille asks.
“You have to be 21 to drink.” I sigh.
“Oh my god, I forgot. Damn America and their alcohol rules,” she mutters hardly.
“But there are probably places tho,” I try to cheer her a bit up. “Like we will find somewhere to go, okay?”
“Sure.” Camille says with a small smile, “Now sushi.”