By Desmond Homann, Variety Editor originally published in Volume 30 of The University Register on April 27, 2018
It was early September and the weather was everything I could have hoped for. I truly was wandering through a picturesque fall every day and everywhere I went. Surprisingly, life had been going well for me; I was less stressed out than the year before, I was happy with my job, and I had learned how to make a mean lasagna. For once in my life, I was feeling like a genuinely successful person— like a real adult. Though I often got too busy with work to spend a lot of time with friends, I was five months into a wonderful relationship with a man named Caspian.
Caspian was incredibly talented, and I found myself at peace just watching him do simple things like doodling on scrap paper or humming a song that was stuck in his head. Everything Caspian did was perfect. My friends, who all seemed to be bitter and lonely, told me that this would wear off. At some point in the relationship we would have to hit some problem or conflict. Regardless of this warning, Caspian and I were doing well and my friends liked him. My family liked Caspian as well; my mom said he seemed really sweet, which was true. The odd thing, however, was that I had never met Caspian’s family. When I would ask him why he had never introduced me to them, he brushed it off, saying his family was too weird and that I wouldn’t like them. Maybe he was right, but it wouldn’t hurt to try and get along with them.
Caspian, while talented and kind, was not as comfortable around people as I was. Caspian was not necessarily shy, but preferred the comfort of a good book and a soft blanket to going out to see a movie or roller skating in the park. In addition to being a bit introverted, Caspian did not use social media. He had Facebook, but nothing more. He never even used his Facebook account, checking it maybe four times a year to check in on old friends.
Caspian’s little mysteries, such as his family and his friends, didn’t bother me much. We got along well enough for a couple that had been together for five months. I figured we would grow to learn more about each other as the weeks became months and later became years. Or at least, that was what I thought until I received an odd email from someone claiming to be Caspian’s mother.
His mother, if that was who she truly was, was upset that I had never met the family. She was hurt by the fact that he wanted to keep his family and his new partner away from each other. She gave me her address and told me to stop by the house with Caspian for dinner on Sunday. I wasn’t to tell him our destination or what we were doing.
Because of my history with cryptic messages from people whose identities were not fully known to me, I should have thought before acting. I’ve always been a foolish man, though. Sure enough, that Friday night I told him to get ready for a little road trip in the near future. Caspian had questions for me. He was always the more cautious one in the relationship whereas I lacked impulse control. I assured him that it would be fine, I had taken care of everything, and it would be a fun surprise.
The drive was longer than I had expected. We winded our way down dirt road after dirt road as the sun began to set. Caspian spent the majority of the time in silence, watching each tree as they passed. The autumn wind was no longer calming, and was now clawing its way across the sides of the car. The dirt roads were messier now and were difficult to see. We had been driving for hours, yet had still not arrived. Caspian stayed alert as ever. Surely it wouldn’t be long until he recognized this route. It wouldn’t be long until we arrived.