Sunday, September 12, 2004

Almost exactly 25 years ago, I packed a suitcase full of clothes, a stereo and an electric typewriter into my parents' sad little white Vega hatchback, and my younger brother drove me the four hours it took to get to university. It was time to become an adult, which I sort of did, but not right away.

I was horribly lonely in that vast dormitory those first weeks, stuck with an indifferent but vaguely boorish roommate and his indifferent and vaguely boorish friends, who talked about sex in sneering and smutty fashion, no doubt in part because none of them had ever managed to actually do anything more than a bit of frantic groping in a car somewhere. I was a skinny little wimp with braces still (I didn't get them removed until the end of the year), and unbeknownst to them a queer boy as well, but I was far more experienced than they were when it came to girls.

Within the first couple weeks, I found my friends and had little to do with my roommate, and by Christmas I no longer even slept in my dorm room but instead spent all my nights with a much older man - 27! - who had already taught elementary school for five years and was there at university just for a year, getting a masters in education degree.

My roommate was mystified, I think. However, at some point over the winter, he read some of the letters I'd gotten from one of my high school sweethearts (the one who was a guy, not the one who was a girl, natch) and figured the whole thing out. In a sort of revenge, he ruined my electric typewriter that my parents had bought me as a high school graduation present. I never said anything to him, but rather in passive aggressive fashion, I told all my friends what he'd done, and they more or less joined me in despising him.

The next year, Milena Maglic and I claimed we were married so that we wouldn't have to stay in the dorm and instead lived in a roomy and cheerful and dirty apartment where we walked around naked and laughed and fought like mad dogs.

It's been 25 years, but I still don't feel like I'm an adult exactly and all I can wonder is, where has the time gone and how long does it take?

The Swedish word for the day is utveckling. It means development.

- by Francis S.

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