My freshman year in college I had a roommate who stayed out late, went to fraternity parties, flung clothes all over our tiny dorm room floor, and watched loud soap operas in the middle of the day.
Can you imagine.
We had a falling out that culminated with (me) screaming, (me) sobbing, (me) throwing things and (me) – god, this is so embarrassing – packing the television set up in my car and driving it back to my parents’ house several weeks before finals. I showed her, man. No more soaps for her (and no more X Files for me).
Poor thing. While she was busy being a normal college freshman, I was clinging to my goody two shoes. (I hate to say I also mean that literally. I only recently tossed out the pair of penny loafers I bought in junior high school and continued to wear through most of college.)
We were not two girls thrown together randomly by a campus housing computer program. We had grown up together. Our mothers were close friends who taught in the same elementary school. We spent countless nights at one another’s houses with my younger brother and her younger cousin. She was the first to know of my long-held secret crush on another teacher’s kid. I always knew of her myriad not-so-secret crushes, little childhood “relationships” she (unlike me) always had the courage to reveal. We drifted in and out of each others’ inner circles during junior high, growing closer again in high school. We thought we would be compatible roommates.
Close but not clingy. Complementary, but clashing.
But college freshmen are not so circumspect.
What I regret most about that year is how my exhausting self-riteousness not only prevented me from having any fun, it cost me a friendship and stopped who knows how many others from blossoming. Worst: it blinded me to how smart, giving and perceptive my roommate was.