Going away to college was wonderful. I threw myself into everything new and exciting. I must have loved it because I only went home twice that semester and one of those times was Thanksgiving. I even, and please don't judge me, joined a sorority. Again please don't judge me too harshly, I kept up with none of my friends from home, I was trying to put four years of small town hell behind me. I was a young woman enjoying all the new life experiences happening around me.
I can't remember if Natalie sent me a letter telling me she was going to be in town or if she just showed up at my dorm one Saturday afternoon. She greeted me as if I was one of her favorite people on the planet. She inserted herself into my new world wanting me to go drinking with her. I was glad to see her, but I must admit it was weird to have her there enticing me away from my new life with two bottles of Boone's Farm Tickle Pink.
Natalie dated men when I meet her and when she came to my college it was with her new boyfriend in tow. She introduced me to him as her best friend, James. The boyfriend's sister actually lived a few blocks away from the college and we went to the sister's house. The boyfriend left us there drinking our cheap wine while he and his sister ran an errand. Natalie and I talked about how our first semester at school was going. Natalie seemed happy, she was on a ROTC scholarship and had meet her boyfriend in the program. She was in the nuclear engineering program and was talking about all of the new people in her life. I know I told her I had joined a sorority and had a dance that night. We finished off one of the bottles and were moving on to the next one. I think at one point a Prince song came on the radio and we climbed up on our chairs and danced. Every time we looked at each other we started laughing hysterically.
When I climbed off the chair I know I was buzzed and wondering if I was going to make it to my dance. Natalie tired to get me to stay with her and skip the dance. I apologized, but said I had a date and needed to get back to my dorm. I could tell she was disappointed, but I knew if I stayed much longer I would be too drunk to make my date. Her boyfriend showed up just in time to save me from that second bottle of Tickle Pink.
We went back to my college and Natalie walked me to my dorm. She talked about seeing me after the end of the semester. We hugged and each of us went back to our own post-high school life. As soon as I got to my room I had to sober up and get ready for my date. My evening plans eclipsed seeing Natalie. I had just thrown so much of myself into this new existence, I was afraid to look backwards. Again I asked you not to judge me too harshly, but I did not think of my friend Natalie for a long time after that day.