by Pauline Campos
I followed a boy to college. I met this boy, who would eventually become referred to as Monkey Boy amongst my little circle of friends, when he took part in the presentation group during my high school tour of the campus) and promptly decided that he would ask me to marry him just moments after officially graduating, ring in one hand and his diploma in the other. The families in attendance at the graduation ceremony would clap and cheer and my friends would sigh dreamily and then glare at their boyfriends who would be pretending to be suddenly fascinated with the graduation program in their hands, and we’d all live happily ever after.
What actually happened went more like this: I returned home from that day’s college tour, threw away the pile of college applications I had been filling out, and instead applied only to the university I knew would accept me because of that whole “minority” thing. (Politically correct? Nope. But it makes for a ready-made punch line.) Monkey Boy and I instantly became “a thing” and he accompanied me to my senior prom, which turned out to be probably The Second Worse Decision Ever Made. I don’t remember all of the details, but friends tell me he was a total Insert Inappropriate Word Here and I walked around most of the night with a face The Husband usually takes as a sign to head for the hills and wait until the dust has settled before returning.
Monkey Boy, it seemed, felt my little high school dance was beneath him and had probably only agreed to come with me for a reason to flaunt his ego for the public. There was no dancing to be done and the corsage I wore on my wrist was only there because, well, I bought it. I have no idea where it is, but somewhere in my collection of Photos Before Digital there is one of me glaring at my date, arms crossed over my chest, and hip cocked to one side, while the smart people in the group backed away. Monkey Boy was too busy making crazy faces while hamming it up for the camera to notice the fact that I was trying to light his hair on fire with my eyes.
I saw him one more time after my prom (and before my freshman year officially began), and I’m thinking it was mainly for me to confirm that he really was an Insert Inappropriate Word Here and that I was Too Good for him. Both turned out to be true statements. And I arrived on the grounds of the campus I had selected based on a daydream and a promise a free woman just in time to witness Monkey Boy’s academic swift academic demise. I’m not sure where he is now, but I can’t blame him for being the Insert Inappropriate Word Here that he was. It wouldn’t be fair.
I am who I am and where I am right at this very moment all because of the fact that I followed a boy to college…and then chose my own path.