Racing Stripes

Mom, can you drive me into the city to meet someone I met online? It was an odd request, but she said yes. I was to finally see the person I met in a text-based chatroom nine months earlier. It was late summer and my friend was coming from out-of-state to attend college orientation. We were to meet within a particular building, but nothing more specific than that. Having only ever seen a childhood photo, I stood in the large open area of that building and waited, scanning the students walking by.

Finally, after some initial testing was complete, classrooms started opening up, more students were filing out. Wearing jeans with what appeared to be thin racing stripes running down the legs, was someone that looked kinda familiar. This person walked over to what appeared to be parents, spoke briefly, then proceeded alone down a hallway, possibly to the bathroom. The chase was on!

I followed, and when I got close enough, called out a name. It’s me, I said. A smile. It was exactly who I was looking for. We chatted briefly, but I don’t know about what. The father came around the corner and seemed slightly agitated and said to hurry up. My friend and I parted, but I was excited, happy. I went down the stairs and found my mother in the parking garage and we went home.

It wasn’t too long before college started and my friend came back to move into an apartment. Having spent hours and hours chatting and phoning, we were finally together, face-to-face. The couple of weeks before school started, we were inseparable, even spending one night in the car. We’d walk hand-in-hand on the beach at sunrise and get bagels at the nearby Dunkin Donuts.

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