During a rare afternoon nap, I went back to college, was victimized by an administration prank, pushed flatboats that were underwater further underwater, noticed I had nothing with me, realized that skipping a year I would be graduating with strangers, listened to the agony of a boy in love, and horrified my mother with my apparent lack of underclothes. Busy afternoon.
I was back at college for a fifth year, this time because I had skipped a year. A couple of boys and I were waiting in a small Gothic-style room, where we heard strange voices and witnessed strange movements. At last a door opened behind us, and a dart flew past us and landed with a hard thwack in the opposite wall. Although it had come from behind, I knew it was no supernatural agency because somehow I had seen the dart thrower—a boy from my high school. Even more odd, the college boys who couldn’t have seen him either and who had never been to my high school recognized and named him. As we tried to open various doors, all locked, to escape, they told me this was all an administration ploy to see how stressed we would be about filling out forms. Forms?
I finally forced one door open and found another door beyond it. To my relief, it opened to the outdoors. Water flowed down the steps, and a flatboat passed and disappeared under the flow as it went downstream. Tiny voices from another boat, girls from high school, implored me to push them under and over as they were stuck. Without seeing them, I did, and felt guilty.
I wondered why I was here and had taken a year off. I would graduate with strangers, I thought, which I regretted.
In a hallway, I encountered a boy from college who was a year behind me, standing in front of a door. Although he talked to me, it was as though I were not there. He poured out his affection for some worthless girl who would never notice him, while expecting comfort from the invisible. I had little to give as I had none for myself.
I found myself in a room with a long table, where the scene looked like an elaborate 18th-century banquet. At a sideboard, I bent slightly to pour coffee and heard a gasp behind me. Without looking, I knew it was my mother, horrified by what she perceived as my lack of underclothes under my skirts.
I wasn’t wearing skirts.