"You really should go out more often, Maria."
"I do go out . . ."
"No you don't, you're in your dorm room more than any other person I know."
"I have a lot of homework."
"Well, me and some girls from my Bio class are going out for pizza tonight, you're welcome to come."
"No, that's alright, I'm pretty tired and I have an early class tomorrow, so I'm just going to go to bed."
"Alright, suit yourself, see you in English."
And with a flip of her perfectly coifed blonde hair, she left to go join her friends.
I began the walk back to my dorm alone, with my History book in hand. It was May, so the walk wasn't uncomfortable, but I still felt fairly miserable.
I thought college was supposed to be different than this, I thought to myself. I watched groups of people walk by my window every night, going to some club or restaurant, while I studied and went to bed early every night.
That girl who had just left me, Lisa, was the only person from my hometown who went to this college. In fact, even though I was a sophomore, she was one of my only friends as well. Sure, there were others I knew superficially, but not enough to sustain a relationship with any of them outside of class.
"I don't need her pity invitation. She knows I don't know any of her friends," I said aloud to myself.
It wasn't as if I had never gone out with Lisa and her friends. I had gone to a Chinese restaurant with them once. I had sat there, eating my shrimp and fried rice, while they had their own conversations. I tried to jump into the discussion, but it's hard to talk to people who are talking about teachers you don't have and people you don't know. And Lisa surely didn't help. Then I went to a basketball game with them a few weeks later, and the same exact thing happened. I didn't need to go out to be ignored, thank you.
I clumsily opened the large, wooden door to my dorm. The sound of giggling, talking, and a jumble of radios immediately came to my ears. I sighed and began the climb to the second floor. Upon opening the door to my room, I found my roommate absent, which was almost expected. In the nearly two years I had roomed with this girl, I knew that her name was Marissa James, that she came from Cincinnati, and little else. I rarely saw her for more than ten minutes during the week and for maybe forty-five minutes or so on Sundays while all her friends were in church. Not that I all together minded. It was kind of nice to have a room almost to myself. Of course, that meant that I was also alone a little too often.
That particular evening, I went into my room, laid my books on my neatly made bed, opened the window, and turned my radio on. I peered out the window, gazing at the yellow, pink, and purple tulips that were in bloom nearby. The air was still warm even though the sun had almost set, perfect weather for a walk. I stepped away from the window and began searching the dial for a good song. Finding none, I dug out my copy of Magical Mystery Tour and put it on the turntable. Soon, the familiar "Roll up" choruses were drowning out the chatter from neighboring rooms and I was happily humming along with Paul.
A couple of weeks later, I was walking with Lisa again after English class.
"So, do you have any plans for summer vacation?" she asked.
"Not really, just to go home and see my family."
"I'm going to California with some girls from my sorority," she replied proudly.
"Wow, where in California?"
"All over, LA, San Francisco, everywhere. We're just going to spend the whole summer driving up and down the coast."
"Sounds like fun."
"Yeah. Well, here's my sorority. See ya round."
I walked to my room and was surprised to find Marissa sitting moodily on her bed when I opened the door.
"Oh, hi, I didn't think you'd be here."
"Yeah, well Tom's being a real jerk, so I left him at the coffeehouse with his friends," she responded angrily.
"My boyfriend, of course. Anyway, what do you usually do around here?"
"Not a whole lot, there's not much to do here."
Just then a girl with red hair wearing a cheerleader's uniform burst into our room.
"Hey, Marissa, you'll never guess what I just saw Tom doing!"
"I walked by the coffeehouse and saw him making out with some freshman."
"He wouldn't! That jerk!"
"Come on, if we hurry, we can catch him and you can tell him off."
"I'll do more than just tell him off," Marissa said as she ran out the door.
"Bye," I said sarcastically when she was halfway down the hall.
"Guess it's another night alone with my Beatles records," I said to myself.
That night at around 11:00 I was laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, trying to fall asleep. Marissa was still gone, although she had run in about an hour before to grab some money. I started to think about summer vacation, which was just a couple weeks away. What was there going to be for me at home? My older sister, Carol, was graduating from college and then working all summer near her campus. My younger brother, Joe, had gotten his driver's license that year, and according to my mom, was always going out with his friends. That left me with my parents, my dad, who worked full-time and my mom, who worked part-time. None of my friends were coming home over the summer, so I would basically be doing the same thing at home as I was doing at college: nothing. I couldn't bear an entire summer at home by myself or working at the local pharmacy or grocery store. Hell, almost everyone I knew was going on a trip somewhere. That's it, I thought, I'm going to have fun this summer. I'm going to go somewhere. As I drifted off to sleep, I began running through possible locations in my mind. LA, New York, Madrid, London. . .
A couple days later I was sitting in my Philosophy class, trying my best to pay attention to the ramblings of my professor. Sitting in the desk across from me was Angela McRoberts, who I guess I could say was an acquaintance of mine. I could tell she was having just as much trouble paying attention, since I saw her head nod several times.
"God, could this guy be any more boring?" Angela asked quietly.
"Probably, remember his two-class speech on the definition of love?"
"Oh yeah, don't remind me."
A couple minutes later, she asked, "What are you doing over the summer?"
"I don't know really, I was going to just go home, but I'm thinking about traveling somewhere."
"Really? Where to?" "I'm not sure yet, maybe San Francisco, Paris, London . . . I haven't decided."
"You should go. I'm just going back home to tiny little Hobart, Illinois, to be tortured by my little sister."
"Yeah, I have a little brother, that's kind of why I'm thinking about going somewhere. No one's really going to be around all summer at home, so I don't really see the point in going back."
"Excuse me, Miss McRoberts and Miss Burroughs, is there something the two of you would like to share with the class?" Professor Crowley asked.
I rolled my eyes. He talked to us like we were still in middle school.
"No, Professor Crowley, we apologize for interrupting your lecture," Angela replied sweetly.
"Well, if you're finished with your conversation, I'll continue on."
"Yes, we're quite finished, it won't happen again," Angela responded with the same sweet tone.
Professor Crowley then turned to the chalkboard and Angela stuck her
tongue out at him while he wasn't looking. We looked at each other and
giggled into our hands, hoping he wouldn't turn around again. I spent the
rest of that boring class daydreaming about where I could spend my summer
while pretending to take notes.
Written by Blackbird. May not be reproduced in any form, by any means, without the permission of the author. Permission may be obtained by e-mail.
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