Over winter break I had coffee with the girl I dated in high school.

“Dated” is a strong way of putting it — we spent a summer together after junior year. She lived in Connecticut, where I grew up, and I had moved to Texas after freshman year. I was spending the summer with my dad, who still lived in Connecticut, and we ran into each other at a party. She was lovely and smart and we started going out to dinner and watching plenty of TV on her couch.

I was sad when I left to go back to Texas, so we instant messaged on Skype every once in a while during September and October. By winter, we didn’t talk much. The following summer when I went back to Connecticut, we flirted, but nothing happened.

This was the crowning romance of my high school life.

I reacted with a sense of excitement when my friend told me she was back in town for Christmas. We hadn’t seen each other since that last summer before college — nearly three years — and hadn’t spoken since the summer after that, when we exchanged a few texts one night. I was excited to talk to her, see what she was doing with her life, how college was, if she still acted in plays. But what I was really excited about was that I was going to get coffee with a girl I used to date.

Coffee with a girl you used to date is an important, symbolic event in the World of Will. In the ending of “Annie Hall (1979), Alvy runs into Annie a few years after they break up and they get coffee. Alvy says, “It got pretty late, and we both hadda go, but it was great seeing Annie again, right?  I realized what a terrific person she was and how much fun it was just knowing her.”

Annie and Alvy part and don’t speak again. Alvy doesn’t fall back in love with Annie or think of how it could’ve worked if something were different. Instead, the camera replays old scenes of them having goofy fun together, cooking lobsters, dropping them all on the ground and Woody Allen prancing around trying to avoid the lobsters while Diane Keaton laughs.

Coffee with my old high school summer girl, I decided, would be just that. We would sit and learn about each other and what we’d been up to. Just as Alvy learned Annie was back in New York living with a guy in SoHo, I would learn my summer girl is dating a guy she acts with, and that’d be great. I’d love that. I wouldn’t ask too many questions, just smile. We’d remember old scenes of watching Cash Cab on her couch and listening to Irish music in my car, and it’d be really fun, like remembering cooking lobsters. I’d be happy with my life, and she’d be happy with hers, and we’d go our separate ways when it was done.

But when we met up that morning, she didn’t talk about her dating life and I didn’t talk about mine. We didn’t talk about Cash Cab or my car either. Instead we talked about books and movies and what we wanted to do with our lives, just like we did in twelfth grade. I left the coffee shop thinking about how lovely she was, and how I wish we did that more often. She said the same thing, that we should do a better job of keeping in touch.

At some point during the car ride home or after that it occurred to me that this was precisely what I was trying to avoid. I wanted to look back and laugh, but instead I found myself interested in the present. I didn’t want to keep in touch, I wanted the finality of that hour in the coffee shop. I wanted to say a year from now when her name came up among my friends, “You know we had coffee about a year ago, and it was really nice.”

I tried to do “Annie Hall” and I failed.

Looking back on it, I wonder if “Annie Hall” is even possible. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe it is, but it’s way harder than it seems, and the movie doesn’t show the hard parts. Whatever the case, it seems true that coffee is deadly, and romantic comedies aren’t much better.

From now on I’m watching more war movies.

William Fonseca is a junior in the College. Spring Semester Days appears every other Monday on thehoya.com. 

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*