Campus King - Mickey Miller
Move in day, senior year of college
It’s a beautiful, sunny day in August. I smile as I walk up the sidewalk to the house I’ll be living in with my boyfriend this year. It’s a full two weeks before classes begin, so I’ll have time to get all settled in and enjoy myself before everyone else gets to campus.
When I open the door, however, my smile is met with a frown from my boyfriend, Jacob.
We lock eyes. “Hey.” I smile.
“Hey,” he says back, but his frown doesn’t budge.
“So I was thinking it’s just like a little early to move in together,” he says. I glance back at my car full of my things that are ready to unpack and move into the house, and my throat crops up with anxiety.
“You’re not serious.”
“I’m afraid I am. Sorry, that was hard to say.”
I feel like a bomb has just exploded in my chest.
I stare at Jacob. He’s a couple of inches taller than I am, with black hair and glasses. Right now he’s not making eye contact, just looking down and away from me.
“I’m really sorry, Char. We’re so young. Do we really want to be living together for our entire senior year? We’d be stepping on each other’s toes the whole time.”
“You’re breaking up with me?”
“I still really like you. I just think we might have jumped the gun on the whole living together thing.”
“We agreed to live together, though. And you ‘really like me?’ We’re in love. At least that’s what we’ve been telling each other.”
“I’m sorry, Charlotte. I don’t know what to tell you. I think we can work this out some way. But just not by living together.”
“Yeah? Well, I don’t share that same sentiment.”
I head down the steps from the house, get into my car, and drive back to my mom’s house.
So much for being settled in and ready for classes two weeks early.
I guess it’s time to start house-hunting.
Almost Two Weeks Later
“Jacob, why on Earth are you driving backwards?”
I’m in the passenger seat while my ‘now’ ex-boyfriend Jacob speeds down Main Street in reverse, seemingly undeterred by the fact that every other car is driving in the correct fashion.
You know, in forward motion, not with their car in reverse.
I feel the panic inside me growing, but he doesn’t budge. Instead, he speeds faster, and turns down the street to my mom’s home.
“Jacob, come on! This is ridiculous!” I plead.
He screeches to a halt in front of my house. “All right, you’re home!”
“Home?” I question. “But I thought we’re living together now.”
I’m confused as I get out and head to the stairs, where I’m greeted by my mother.
“Hi, honey,” she says. She hugs me, and then says to my boyfriend, “Thanks for dropping her off. She can stay here forever.”
“Forever? But I’ve got college. I have to become independent.” I turn to Jacob. “I thought we were going to live together our senior year.”
My mom wraps her arm around me. “Come with me, honey. It’s nice and warm in here. And I’m ordering out.”
I flutter my eyes open, and wake up in a cold sweat. I blow out an anxious breath of air.
“Thank God it was all a dream,” I mutter. After a few moments, as I come to consciousness, I start to think about the dream and what it could be trying to tell me.
I sit up in bed, and I’m staring at the mirror I’ve had since I was nine years old.
It is true that my boyfriend—well, now ex-boyfriend—Jacob broke up with me just before we were about to move in together.
With my feathers ruffled because of the dream, I throw on a summer dress and head downstairs where my mom is making pancakes.
“Good morning!” she sings. “Blueberry or regular today? Maybe chocolate chip?”
“I’m honestly not hungry,” I say. “Just coffee.”
“Oh, all right,” she says, and there’s a noticeable tone of disappointment in her voice that shows how not being able to spoil me today has upset her motherly duties.
“Sorry to be a downer, I’m just not in the mood for pancakes.”
“Mom, I have to ask you something, and I want you to give me your honest answer. Not your ‘you’re my daughter and I’ll always love you’ answer.”
She puts the spatula down and eyes me as I pour a cup of coffee. “Okay. Shoot.”
“Am I a loser—at least a little bit of a loser—if I live at home during my senior year of college?”
“No, honey, of course not,” she says, a little