Days as a Freshman: 74
Mood: Stressed out
I peeled my apple slowly, concentrating on taking off as little of the inside part as possible. I kept my eyes on my hands. It was easier to talk to them this way.
“So he told you?” Crystal asked, leaning over my shoulder as though the answer was in my lap.
“He really told you?” Naima leaned in as well, pulling her jacket closer as a cold breeze pushed our hair and the leaves in the trees around us. Today was one of those rare November afternoons where it was still warm enough to sit outside in the sun, and Crystal, Naima, Rebecca and I had left our notes in the library and come out to the steps for some air.
“He told me. Probably not everything, but enough.” I handed the apple skin to Crystal who promptly ate it. She hated waste of any kind. Especially food. “He told me about MaryAnne’s cousin. And at least what he remembered about that night.”
“Wonder why he told you” Crystal mused, her mouth full. “He must really like you.”
As a friend, I thought, almost slicing my thumb with the knife I had stolen from the dining hall. I’m a great friend. And that’s all.
Whenever a guy comes into your room at night, sits on your bed, and proceeds to tell you about a girl he almost hooked up with, he sees you as a friend. A non-threatening, no strings attached friend. He had told me I was the only one he felt would understand. One of the only girls he felt he could trust. One of the most solid people on campus. Solid. That had been his word. It’s a great word, but there’s nothing sexy about it.
“But he still doesn’t know what happened completely, right?” Naima leaned closer, and I could tell she was trying to get me to look up. To look her in the eye. “Because if he did…”
“Sasha doesn’t know. If he says he doesn’t know, then I trust him. He doesn’t seem like the type of guy who’d lie about this sort of thing.” I handed my last spring of apple skin to Crystal and set the knife in my lap. “He says he was really drunk and must have passed out before anything really went down.”
I really liked Sammy, Sasha had told me that night in my room. I’d been trying to get her attention all night. When it finally happened we only hooked up a little bit. Just kissing. I think we were both super drunk.
MaryAnne’s cousin Sammy was a freshman on the girl’s soccer team. Of course Sasha would really like someone like her. Tall, lean, blond, a smile that was even brighter than his with a cute personality to go with it, people watched her wherever she went. At least until that night. Since then, Sammy seems to have disappeared. I hadn’t seen her in History 113 for two weeks.
“Did he go into details?” Now Crystal was leaning in and doing her best to get me to look up. “How much did he tell you?”
“He told me they hooked up for a little while, that it was kind of awkward because they were both smashed, and the next thing he remembers is waking up on a couch, alone. He says some people were still around, but that the party was pretty much broken up. Then he passed out again and woke up the next morning.”
“So why does he have so much guilt about what happened to Sammy?” Rebecca, sitting on the step above ours, leaned in far enough to be heard, but kept some room between her head and mine. The better I got to know her, the most it seemed like there was something in Rebecca that understood my emotions better than I did. She just knew when I wanted space and when I didn’t.
Now was one of those times when my body ached to be left alone.
“I don’t know.” Holding my peeled apple awkwardly in one hand, I realized I wasn’t hungry at all. “He just said he felt somehow…connected to the whole thing. Especially because it happened at his house.”
“Other people live there too.” Naima leaned back, finally moving her gaze from my face to the leaf-covered quad. “I still think it’s weird that he felt so compelled to tell you what happened.”
“Maybe he thought I blamed him or something, since he hangs out with those guys.” Realizing I couldn’t stare at my hands forever, I looked over at Crystal and held out the apple. “Want this? I guess I’m not hungry.”
“Sure!” Grabbing the apple, Crystal took a bite and kept talking. “I agree with Naima. Are you sure he told you everything?”
“I mean, I’m not sure. I’m close to sure, but I guess I don’t know him as well as I thought I did.”
The sun slipped behind some clouds and the breeze picked up again, signaling the end to our little breather. Feeling the cold at the same time, we all stood up and headed back into the library.
“Maybe I just thought I knew him because I liked him so much.” Rebecca held the door as we filed back inside, catching my eye as I passed. “I could have been wrong about everything.”
“I don’t think so,” Rebecca said quietly as she squeezed my shoulder. “I think he’s a good person. There’s just something…”
“I know.” We sat down at our small corner table. “There’s something.”
Turning a few pages in my history book, I tried not to think about Sammy, and whether she was just staying away from class for a few weeks or had dropped out of school altogether. MaryAnne had said she wasn’t sure what she was going to do.
I tried not to think about Sammy, because when I thought about her, and what had happened, and the possibility of Sasha holding back some kind of information, I felt awful. But I also felt something else. Something really, really disgusting.
I felt jealous.
How could I feel that? How could I be so weak, especially after my friends’ reaction cemented my own doubts about Sasha being less than truthful?
How could I still care about someone I didn’t even really know?