A girl who is afraid to go off to college, finds it is not as bad as she thought.
| I should be excited, ecstatic, overjoyed! It’s late August and I’m moving out of my parents’ house. I am an adult, free to do whatever I want. But I am so, so nervous. I have never spent more than a week away from home, and then I was with my Grandparents’, so it’s not like that even counts.
I am in my room, packing away the last of my things before I leave tomorrow. Ugh. Tomorrow. I am suddenly starting to regret choosing a college a full state away. I’m definitely going to miss my Manhattan apartment that I share with my parents. Why did I chose to go to school in Boston? Right, music.
As I am packing the last of my things, my cell phone starts blaring. I look at the caller ID and see that it is my best friend, Christopher.
“Hey. Chipotle. Ten minutes.” He says and hangs up. I laugh and shake my head as I grab my purse and slid into my shoes. Christopher has always been like this. He hates talking on the phone, and thinks texting is just a complete waste of time. He has a phone, but only uses it in cases of emergency. So whenever he wants to meet me somewhere, all he says is a greeting, the place, and a time limit in which I need to be there.
“Mom, Christopher called. I’m going to Chipotle and taking a break from packing.” I say to my mom, who is cooking dinner with my dad. My parents are both very well respected people in the state of New York. My dad is a very successful chef and owns a few restaurants, and my mom is one of the biggest lawyers this side of the state.
“Alright, dear. Have fun. Be home soon, though.” My mom says as she smiles. My dad smiles at me over his shoulder and then digs into his pocket. Despite the fact that I had a job up until a month ago, and a savings account, my dad still insists on taking care of “his little girl”, seeing as their first three kids were all boys. Yes. All boys. All older than me. As you can imagine, growing up was slightly difficult. I take the twenty that my father hands me and kiss them both on the cheek before walking into the hallway of our building and walking outside into the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. Christopher lives a couple buildings south, but we’ve been going to school together since we were eight. Most kids went off to boarding school when they were freshmen in high school, but we both thought it was too ritzy and boring for our styles. So we both stayed behind, as did all three of my brothers.
After about ten minutes of walking, I enter my favorite fast food place, Chipotle. I inhale deeply, taking in all the smells. I wave to the cashier, John, who is already making my order. That should be a huge indicator of how often I come in here to eat. I see Christopher waiting with his burrito, and wave at him. He waves back and answers a text message from his phone, looking really annoyed. I swear, he is the only kid from Manhattan that still has a razor phone, but that’s just Topher, the way my best friend is.
I got my food, paid, and then walked over to our table facing the window. Christopher waits until I have sat down completely before digging into his beef burrito.
“Don’t make that face,” he says without even looking at me.
“What face?!” I ask, astonished he even knew I had twisted my face into a look of disgust.
“Because,” he says before swallowing his bite, “You always look at me that way when you see someone eating meat.”
“I do? No one ever told me,” I mutter before taking a bite of my veggie burrito. After seeing a video or two my sixth grade teacher had shown me about how animals are treated before they become food about six years ago, I have sworn off meat entirely.
“…I tell you every time we eat here,” Topher says sarcastically, laughing.
“Whatever,” I say, laughing with him and taking a sip of my water. “Are you all ready to leave tomorrow?” I ask him. Christopher is going off to New York University and majoring in psychology, but it still makes me sad I won’t see him every day.
He nods as he takes a sip of his soda before setting it down to answer me, “Yeah, definitely. I am so pumped to leave.”
I look down at my food and nod slightly. It seems like everyone is just so excited to leave except me.
“Why aren’t you excited, Darce?” He asks, looking at me.
“Because I’ve been living at home for the past 18 years. I don’t know, I’m just nervous. You know how well I make friends…” I say silently, remembering various attempts at making friends in the past.
Topher laughs and puts his arm around my shoulders, “Yeah, you’re a definite pro.” He says with a wink before returning to his burrito and I to mine.
After about a half hour of laughing and eating, Topher’s girlfriend, Joey calls him. Her real name is Josephina, but she absolutely hates it. I love Joey, she is such a sweet girl, and really good friend of mine.
“Hey, Joey wants to hang out before we leave. Is it okay if I ditch you?” He asks, and of course I tell him it’s okay. We both stand up and he gives me a really long hug, “Call me as soon as you get to Boston.” He says and ruffles my hair before leaving. I sigh and sit back down, playing with the droppings from my veggie burrito before deciding it’s time to leave.
I decide to take the long way home, and enjoy the Manhattan scenery before I have to leave it. I love my city and everything about it. I grew up here, lived here, and have had so many memories and moments here. Half-way home, I call my mom and tell her I’m stopping to see Jake and his wife. Jake is the second youngest, and two years older than me. He’s an amazing musician, and the one who inspired me to go to Berklee University in Boston. I walk two blocks to his ginormous house and let myself in.
“Hello?” I yell, and their golden retriever, Sparky, comes running to welcome me. I pat his head and scratch him behind his ears before I see Jake come down the stairs.
“Hey, kid. How’s it going?” Jake asks, hugging me.
“Ugh. I do not want to leave tomorrow…” I say and throw myself on his couch in the music room.
“Nah, you’ll love it. I promise,” He says, sitting back in his office chair.
“Oh I know I’ll love it, I just don’t want to go,” I say as Sparky jumps on the couch with me and starts licking my face. I laugh and push him off, “Thank you for that,” I sputter in the midst of laughter.
“I know you basically suck at making friends, but it will be easy. Just don’t hole yourself in your dorm all day, and make sure you stop being so freakin’ normal,” Jake jokes. It’s a running joke in my family that I am the black sheep. I listen to the weird music, wear the weird clothes, and am the only vegetarian.
We talk for about an hour more before mom calls me home for dinner. I say goodbye to Jake and give him a hug before telling him I’ll see him tomorrow before I leave. I walk the short way home and into our building. Even before I walk into the foyer of our apartment, I can smell the buttered bread and pasta. I absolutely love being Italian. My mom’s grandparents came directly from Italy, and brought all of the yummy food with them. Thank God. I take off my shoes and practically wipe the drool from my mouth. While I love all Italian food, I love the spagetti and pizza the best. And I can tell we’re having crepes for dessert. I also love being French, thanks Dad.
“So, are you still nervous to leave tomorrow?” My mom asks as I dish up some meatless spaghetti sauce from my own little cooking pot.
“Oh gosh. Please, don’t remind me that I am leaving tomorrow,” I say before sitting down at my place at the table.
“Come on, you’ll do fine. I know it’s hard for you to make friends, but you will. I know it,” my dad says, ruffeling my hair. It seems that all of the males in my life do that. And I don’t know why. My hair is not the ruffel-y type. It’s long. Really long. Mid-back long. So it’s not like one can have a successful ruffle with it.
“That’s what Topher said, so who knows,” I say, taking a bite of my breadstick.
We finish eating dinner and I retreat to my bedroom to wrap up packing and make sure I have all of the correct paper work that I need when I arrive in Boston tomorrow. My three brothers and two sister-in-laws are coming over in the morning to see me off. Once I am done packing, I get into my extremely comfortable pajamas that I only reserve for nights like this, and crawl into my over-sized bed. All of my normal bedding is packed, so I’m forced to use my hideous plaid bedding from when I was tweleve.
Surprisingly, I fall asleep quickly only to be awoken by my eight o’clock alarm blaring in my ear. After I get ready and bring all of my junk downstairs and in the car, my brothers and their wives arrive. The goodbyes are slightly teary, but kind of bittersweet at the same time. My father gave me cash and my mom gave me about twelve hugs and told me to be careful and call her when I get there. I hugged everyone goodbye and got in my car before heading off to college. It took me a few hours to get there, but once I did I saw the boys’ soccer team returning to the dorms from practice as I was unpacking my car with one of the senior helpers. Six of the guys on the team stopped and smiled at me. Six. Yeah, I was going to like college. A lot.