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I felt nauseous when I drove into town Saturday afternoon. The stretch of road led straight to the college, the dorm buildings on the western side of the campus. The dorm that my best friends lived in junior and senior years, the dorm that an old boyfriend had lived in. Memories that I hadn’t thought about in over a year were flooding my gut.
I met College Roomie at our motel room, the kind of motel you swear you’d seen in an episode of CSI with blood-spattered walls and a murder victim spread-eagle on the horrible purple carpet. College Roomie and I talked through the thin walls as she showered and as I changed into jeans and a tank top. We made plans for the evening; I was having dinner with Nick and then we were meeting up with my old college boyfriend, L. The three of us went to L’s place, and sat on the roof with a blanket, music, beer, and watched the fireworks. We told story after story, some hysterical, some sad. Nick and I talked about how we felt at this time last year, L talked about how he’d be moving out to Colorado in the next few weeks.
Nick left soon after, and L and I decided to head to the local bar. In the corner pocket of the little town bar, we finally brought up the topic of us. How we’d dated, how we never seemed to work out. He’s never really had a relationship; I’ve had too many. He walked me back across the street to my motel, and held my arms as he kissed me. I guess I knew that was coming, but I had absolutely mixed emotions about it. I put on sweatpants and a t-shirt and went back to his place to watch a movie. We’ve always had this part of the relationship down, the cuddling and the talking. He whispered to me that he was going to miss me more than anything else, and then he fell asleep. I gave him a quick kiss and left him a note before I left to head back to my motel.
The entire weekend left me exhausted, and not just because I stayed up until four with College Roomie and our friend talking about crew in the motel room. It was emotional, seeing old friends and old professors. There’s a reason everyone refers to college as the best four years of your life. There’s the quotes about how your friends become family, how the old ivy-covered buildings become your home. You’re fairly sure to fall in love at some point there, and you’re more than likely going to lose that love in some way. Every person I saw brought back a memory; Ex Fiance graduated and I remembered our first kiss on the winding stairs of my dorm room. A professor reminded me of how I’d spent hours holed up in the labs finishing research. I watched L walk across the stage and remembered that first night we sat on the porch of his dorm. L’s parents reminded me of how I’d spent my first weekend away from college at their house, a cabin on the side of a mountain, the pool where L and I had sat while talking about where we’d end up.
When I drove home a few hours later I didn’t feel right. It always feels strange returning, but it feels even worse to be leaving. It’ll feel less like home every time I come back, and the people I see there now will eventually drift away. I might never see L again, or half the people I saw there today.
I don’t think I need to explain the fact that I needed a long break from this blog over the past few weeks. It got to be a little much and the break was indeed necessary. But I’ve missed it.
I’m getting into a good routine of things. I did get accepted for the internship that I’d been interviewing for, so I’ll be working with counterterrorism at a very good (and very prestigious) agency. Interviewing with them was a surreal experience- have you ever had the feeling that the action you were taking was exactly right? I’ve had it a few times before, once when I took my first “perfect stroke” in rowing. Everything at that moment felt like it was falling into place in the way that it was supposed to. I felt that weird, connected feeling when I walked through the front doors of the building. I chatted with a few employees in the waiting room before I was brought in to the actual facility, and it just felt right. I’m supposed to be doing this.
I’m also being brought in for some big-time interviews over the next few weeks. I’m hitting two birds with one stone in two weekends- I’ll be down in Tennessee with the kids for rowing nationals, and I’ll slip in an interview with an agency I’ve been talking to lately. I’ve also gotten up to New York City twice in the past few weeks for interviews there. It seems, at least for now, that I’ll be up there by December. I’ve also been reoffered the Iraq job, now with a higher pay and a later date of leave.
So last night I had the first class of my first summer session, a criminological theories class. Four girls and eighteen guys in the class, so quite a bit of testosterone. I knew almost all of the guys from earlier semesters, and we’ve bonded over hitting the same local pub after class. Last night was no exception. I tried to get a few of the girls to go but they really weren’t the types, so I ended up going with six cops, two internal affairs reps, a lieutenant, and a captain.
Frank from the last time was there, going beer for beer with me again. This time though? He was trying to convince me to go home with him. The boys were busting his chops every time he’d try to buy me another drink. I made it clear that I’m just not into dating right now, that I need a break from it. He paused, confused. “So you’re into girls then?” I laughed, and asked how someone so dumb could be working in Intel. Eric leaned over: “No, dumbass, she’s just not that into you.”
So for now, everything is falling together. The internship, the friends, the career, the classes. Everything that happens….