Ray Allen—Out of your league. You knew that long before you met her because you already absolutely knew who she was. But somehow everything lined up. Your jokes were on, the hair looked great, and your friends helped you play it perfectly. So you and Ray hooked up for a couple of weeks. You and Ray Allen! You knew it wouldn’t last—she was smarter and funnier and way better-looking than you—but you treasured your time together all the more since you knew how finite it was. Ultimately, she wanted to have “the talk,” but even then it was so concise, pleasant, and, yes, cute that you felt fine. Later, she transferred to a better school. You still Google her, more out of admiration than longing.
Reggie Evans—Wow. There was this party right before spring break. And you were both going to be on campus for spring break and just wow. You almost hated to see the bruises fade.
Jerome James—Jerome was a nice girl. Cute too. She also never had a boyfriend, which, really, you should have taken as a red flag long before you hooked up. Sure, when you were together things were great. But then she would sometimes simply disappear for days at a time. Just vanish. Or she’d announce she was joining the Marines but then show up at your apartment a week later and want to go out to the bars. Once, while you were dating Carlos Boozer, Jerome sent Carlos a threatening e-mail about “dating other people’s boyfriends.” And you hadn’t even seen Jerome in a month. She got like a 1.5 one semester.
Rashard Lewis—There was this really cool painting at her apartment and you asked her where she got it and she said, “Oh, I did that in high school. It just doesn’t seem practical to do it in real life.” She was an econ major but she had this amazing talent. Still, most memories you have of Rashard are from all the break ups. Originally, you were together for about six weeks with three of those weeks taken up by long conversations about The Relationship. But one night she came to your room—she had obviously already been crying for a while—and said she just didn’t know who she was and until she did she couldn’t be with someone else and on and on. But then a few days later Rashard would say that she really wanted to make it work and she found you in her heart or something. This went on for a good four months and then a little more the next year. It finally ended when you realized you didn’t need her to need you anymore. She got married a month after graduation to some frat dude who was heading to law school.
Luke Ridnour—She was cute. In a “Laura from The Glass Menagerie” way. The first time you asked her out, she said, “OK.” Not “yes,” not “sounds fun.” Just “OK.” You tried forever to find the thing that she was passionate about. Literature? Politics? Dating Luke was like dating Scarlett Johansson if she still had that cool veneer but didn’t have the soulful turbulence underneath. Just all veneer. When you’d ask your friends what her deal was, they’d all say, “Yeah … is it cool if I call Reggie?”
Nick Collison—What was Nick’s problem? She was always mad about something. Or probably clinically depressed, now that you think back. You met her mom once and when Nick was in the bathroom, Mom whispered to you, “I never thought Nick would have such a nice boyfriend.” What the hell were you supposed to do with that? You had a good time making fun of the profs and the sorority crowd but sometimes it just got way too mean. Like way past sarcasm and into just meanness. And Trent Reznor is great and everything, but come on.
Antonio Daniels—You were actually with Antonio for a long time. Most of sophomore year. Second semester, especially, nobody ever saw the two of you apart. Real finishing-each-other’s-sentences stuff. The two of you went and saw When Harry Met Sally … and it was like they just totally recorded your life for that movie. Your parents even loved her. But Antonio became interested in Heidegger and one day she let it casually slip that she was applying to another school that had a better philosophy department. You asked her about “doing the long distance thing” or maybe you even transferring there, but it’s like she never even considered that.
Danny Fortson—Danny didn’t even go to your college. At least, you don’t think. She lived in town but had a few stoner friends on campus and would go to some parties. She seemed more mature in a lot of ways than the girls you normally dated, since she had a job and her own apartment. And the first time Danny stabbed you with a pen, you eventually believed her that it was an accident. But the fork she stuck you with at dinner one night actually punctured the skin. That’s hard to do with a fork. You broke up with her the next morning and thought about calling the police. But it would have to be the campus police and it just didn’t seem worth it. Last you heard, she moved upstate and is living with some trucker.
Ronald Murray—Who was that girl? You think maybe it was sophomore year? Early junior year? She was cute, too. A gymnast. A little self-centered but not all that much. Why did you break up with her? Or did she break up with you? Damn, you really let that one slip away.
Vitaly Potapenko—Exchange student. She lived way off campus. It only lasted, like, three days. You ended up feeling like an American GI in one of those old war movies. She dropped out midsemester. What the hell was that all about?
Vladimir Radmanovic—To this day you can’t be sure who that girl Vladimir really was. It was your semester in Europe, which means everything was sort of surreal to begin with. She said she was from Croatia or Bosnia or something, but all her friends were British and her accent seemed forced. It was nice to have someone to go to the museums with, but you just couldn’t keep up with her at the discos. Because, really, what did you know about discos? She said she was going to be really busy for a while and that was that.
Damien Wilkins—That was just the one night. Your friend Kevin wanted to get with this girl Antoine (or Antawn or Anntwon or something) and needed you to go along because Antoine had this friend Damien. You talked about Coen brothers films and mutual friends on the Atlanta Hawks, but there was no spark.
Mateen Cleaves—Mateen was your friend’s friend who went to a different college. She came to visit for a weekend. It was nice. You exchanged phone numbers after, more out of mutual courtesy than anything else. You see her on your friend’s e-mail list when he sends a joke or something. And you smile.
Robert Swift—Robert was a freshman when you were a junior. And it showed. She talked about her prom, football games she went to, her parents. In a way, it was good, but she helped you realize that, yes, you were now an adult and she was not.