Dad is just unloading the last of my various boxes and duffels onto the cart we were given for move-in day. Every molecule in my body is filled with anxiety. Well, there are at least two filled with excitement. Those two excited molecules urge me out of the car to make the uphill trek to my dorm.
I pull out my color-coded, perfectly divided, chronologically ordered binder. It contains absolutely every piece of correspondence sent from my school, my insurance policy information, travel guides of Virginia, notes of encouragement from my family and friends, my class schedule, and everything else I thought was important. I flip through the laminated pages until I find the map of the campus (color code: Lime Green).
Even though I have memorized the location of my freshman dorm already, I clench the map as if to give myself some sort of superpower confidence. I readjust my knotted cardigan to make sure it’s placed flawlessly over my pale yellow t-shirt. I smooth my white linen shorts and twist my green grosgrain ribbon belt around until the bow is once again on my right hip. I take a big deep breath and nod to my mom that I’m ready to go. Confession: I am most definitely not ready to go. I want to check into a hotel and order room service and watch pay per view and hide from the world.
As we walk through the quad, past the dining hall, and over the mosaic Fitzgerald College seal (actually, we walk around it because it’s bad luck to step on it) I picture the girl I will be living with during the school year. I know my roommate’s name is Gianna. I know her favorite movies are Mean Girls and Dirty Dancing. I know she went on a summer vacation with her family in France. I know she plays soccer and swims and dances. Confession: I Facebook stalked her the instant I found out she was my roommate.
I walk into the dormitory. Mom has to ask fourteen upperclassmen how to get to my room before we find our way there, with Dad grunting, sweating, and pushing the cart behind us. I nervously twist my lucky necklace and turn the knob of the door. Just as I’m about to push it open, it swings forward like magic and I am left standing face to face with the bubbliest, prettiest girl.
Gianna seems different than she did in the 1,763 pictures of her tagged on her Facebook page. Her hair is black and shiny and twists into loose ringlets. She’s tall. Like really tall. She leans down and hugs me. It’s awkward and I glance back at Mom who is beaming and already pushing forward to meet Gianna’s mom. Everyone starts talking all at once.
Gianna tells me to call her Gigi. I hear Mom start telling stories from the two-day road trip. Dad is exchanging complaints about the amount of stuff he just lugged up four flights of stairs with Gigi’s dad. The room, which is only twice the size of my closet at home, begins to feel even smaller. I show Gigi my high school yearbook and she shows me the picture of her boyfriend who is sophomore at a college in Pennsylvania. Confession: Her boyfriend is so cute! I am instantly jealous.
The talking becomes easier and we realize we both have older brothers the same age! I tell her how much Preston drives me crazy and Gigi confirms the same thing about her brother. I’m so much more relaxed now. Gigi and I both begin to unpack. I just finish neatly folding my monogrammed throw blanket and look to compare Gigi’s progress. Gigi has already unpacked nearly two boxes!
Our beds look pretty funny sitting next to each other. My comforter is crisp white with large pink flowers and smaller lime green polka dots. My sheets are matching pink and the top sheet, when folded down, displays my monogram. Gigi’s bedspread is orange damask with turquoise sheets. She has bold black pillows. It looks like a bed out of a designer magazine. Confession: I think Gigi is just so cool. She has an edgy fashion sense, a gorgeous boyfriend, and the best hair ever. I feel so lucky to be her roommate!
Our dads have gone to pull the cars around the front. Our moms have gone on a mission to find diet Cokes because we are all exhausted from unpacking and need a pick me up. With everyone out of the room finally, we fall into silence while I arrange my stationery and collection of post its. Just as I pin the last of my pictures onto the bulletin board above my desk, our chatty moms return bearing the sodas and two bags of white chocolate covered pretzels.
Both sets of parents leave for their hotels for the night. I’m sad to see them go and worry about spending the first night in an unfamiliar place, but I know I’ll see them tomorrow. I push aside my nervous thoughts and change into chinos and a tunic. Gigi and I then head to the common room for a floor meeting. I would rather be forced to eat ten tomatoes– and I positively cannot stand tomatoes– than to sit through another floor meeting. My R.A., Julia, seems okay. She appears to be more into the free room and board then actually keeping peace on the floor. The meeting is chaotic and everyone is digging into suspicious looking brownies. Confession: I guess they weren’t kidding about the Freshman 15 and it’s only Day 1! Uh oh!!!
Gigi and I sign the required Roommate Agreement form and participate in a terribly awkward and uncomfortable icebreaker where we had to grab random hands and try to untangle the group without letting go of the hands grasping our own. Confession: I think it is going to take two bottles of hand sanitizer to rid myself of the germs from Mystery Hand 1 and Mystery Hand 2. I glance over to Gigi to see how she’s holding up; she keeps tugging the arms of her Mystery Hands and can’t stop giggling. I tell myself, “Adelaide, get it together. Why can’t you have fun like everyone else is?”
After twenty minutes of trying to untangle the obviously impossible human knot, Julia finally lets us give up. Exasperated, we all let go of the sweaty unknown palms and collapse onto the spotty, mismatched furniture. Gigi is across the room and I find myself sitting next to a painfully cute boy.
My heart races and my face feels extraordinarily hot. I pray my cheeks remain my Bobbi Brown apricot blush pink and not hot, bright, and embarrassed red. I habitually reach to my lucky necklace and begin twisting it over and over. I am counting to ten to calm myself down, but I only make it to seven. I feel the slightest touch on my wrist. I swear my heart just downright stopped. I glance to my left and make full on eye contact with him. I smile. Like a complete nerd. Confession: I can’t look away from him!!!
“Hey, is that a tiny key?” He asks, directing to my necklace that I am nervously playing with.
“Mmhm,” I kick myself on the inside! I quickly try to find Gigi from across the room with my eyes. She gives me the thumbs up. I’m ready to crawl in a hole.
“I’m Luke. You’re Adelaide right?”
“Mmhm,” Seriously, what is wrong with me?
His hand is still touching my wrist. I don’t think I could take a breath if I tried. I drop my hands to my lap. Confession: I’m really sad he just stopped touching my wrist.