The summer before my junior year in college, a really popular SAE named Chris* asked me out. We were both living in Newport Beach, a mere 4 blocks away from each other and newly single. He was good looking, athletic and pretty well-known for being one of those rare “nice guys” that every girl wanted to date (except his new-ex-girlfriend, to whom he’s now married).
The first day we hung out, we went to the beach. I surprised him by actually wanting to jump in the water. I had just learned how to body surf, and was pretty obsessed with it, so we ended up swimming for hours, and then collapsing on the beach and talking about all those mindless things you talk about when you are trying to get to know someone but don’t really want them to get to know you.
That became a routine: he’d call me around noon and we’d meet at the lifeguard tower in between our houses, swim for a few hours, hold hands and talk before it was time for me to go to work.
One afternoon, I invited one of my best friends to his place to hang out. It was going great, until the topic of Harry Potter came up. I said he was a total Gryffindor (because seriously, what higher praise is that?), and Justine agreed, but Chris didn’t seem amused.
“Did you read Harry Potter?” I asked him, ready to bond over a mutual love of the world’s greatest fiction series.
“No,” he said, looking awkward, “I don’t like Harry Potter.”
“What??” I exclaimed, “Have you never read them?” I gotta say, that was the only explanation I could think of, and I was about to accio one to his house that very second.
“No I could have read them, but I hate them,” he repeated, and then he said the words that made me think I had just fallen prey to a confundus charm.
“I shoot them,” he said, “The books. I take them out in my backyard and I shoot them with a rifle.” I turned to Justine, wondering if maybe my ears had spazzed out, or if I really had been confunded.
“What do you mean, you shoot those books?” I asked, waiting for a punchline.
“In high school, my friends and I used to go out to my backyard and shoot them,” he said and then went on about how they were corrupt or witchcraft or satanist or something. To be honest, I have no idea what he said after that, because at that point my brain was doing everything in its power to not let words come out of my mouth.
To quote our dear friend Remus Lupin on this one:
“But, that was like, a high school thing, right?” Justine asked, clearly in as much shock as I was.
“No, I’d still shoot them. I hate those books,” he repeated, like we hadn’t already gotten the point.
We left shortly after. Needless to say that was the last time I saw dear Chris. I wasn’t heartbroken about it. He was a Hufflepuff anyway. I was just trying to be nice.
*name has been changed to protect the identity of that crazy.