Teeth was the only person who thought Paul’s biology and studio arts double major was cool—Paul himself included. Truth be told, Paul didn’t care enough about either to pick.

He was used to this apathy. In fact, the only time in his life he had felt strongly about something was during his spring semester sophomore year, when he had taken a bio seminar on behavior-mediating infections.

That something he felt strongly about was someone and that someone was Jez Murakami. Jez Murakami made rabies and zombie ants sexy and hilarious and a Platonic order of souls seem obvious and whenever he was around her Paul physically experienced the inexorability of the passage of time and the history of the earth. She made him feel it all: the plate-breaking, the climate-changing, the darkness to ice to heat and life. With Jez, Paul felt no room for doubt.

One night in May he decided to make her understand.

“I think about you a lot,” he said, after spending a significant amount of time machinating then executing their extrication from the rager going on in a senior’s terrace apartment.

“I think about what you’re learning in your other classes and about all the grand changes that are going to happen in the world because of you. I think about the pastels of your blood and the flowers in your lips and I think a lot about kissing you. And I hope it’s O.K. if…”

And like in a dream he leaned in and like in a dream of a different variety she leaned away.

It amazed him that something so chartered in the stars could feel so undignified and beyond reach, and the next day Paul applied to leave campus for a while.