The move to college was uneventful. As expected, Lora’s mother cried and her dad gave her a stiff hug. Her classes kept her busy all semester but were relatively easy. Thanksgiving break quickly approached and still Lora had no one she could call best friend. She liked her roommate well enough, but the girl was rarely in their dorm, spending most nights with her boyfriend at his off-campus apartment. Lora kept her eyes and ears open, waiting for an opportunity to save someone’s day, to be the hero, to make someone realize what an awesome best friend she could be.
In September, she happened upon a girl sitting outside the campus post office, crying. Lora sat down beside her.
“I’m f-f-fine,” the girl managed between sobs.
“You don’t seem fine. Need to talk? Can I help?”
The girl drew a breath and sharply looked at Lora.
“I said I’m fine. Please, just leave me alone.”
Lora stood up and took a few steps back. The girl buried her face in her hands. Lora began walking away. She was about fifteen feet from the crying girl when she heard a voice say, “Oh my God, Julie, what’s wrong?”
She turned to watch a petite brunette envelop the crying girl in her arms. The crying turned to sobs, but Lora caught a few words.
“Deployed… a year… so scared…”
I guess she didn’t need a new friend, Lora thought, frustrated.
Over the next few weeks, Lora focused on finding a best friend more than she focused on her exams. Whenever she saw someone who seemed remotely sad or bothered, she made a point to ask if they wanted to talk or if there was anything she could do. Each time, she was rejected, sometimes quite rudely. One girl literally ran away from her.
Lora was turning a darker shade of green each day. And she was growing darker in an entirely different way, too.
With each rejection, Lora grew more and more resentful toward those around her who were enveloped in the bliss of best friendship. She daydreamed about throwing mashed potatoes in the hair of the two friends who sat near her at lunch. She imagined unplugging the computers of two girls in the computer lab who giggled and gossiped as they worked on research papers. She fantasized setting fire to the sorority house she passed on the way to her morning classes, a coven of sisterhood and friendship.
Yes, she was certainly growing darker.
Christmas arrived. Lora went home, disappointed that an entire semester had passed without her finding a new best friend.
She went back to school in January with a new resolve. She just had to believe that in a place full of hormonal, fickle college students that there was someone, anyone, who could use the services of a best friend. The first month passed. Not only did she not find a friend, she didn’t even see anyone in need of one. Everyone around campus seemed happy… except Lora.
One Tuesday evening, Lora was in her dorm room watching television. While she was in the kitchenette during a commercial break, she heard the front door slam, then another door. Lora peeked around the corner, curious about the commotion. She crept over to her roommate’s room and put her ear against the door. At the same time, Felicia opened the door. Both girls let out a startled yelp.
“What do you want?” Felicia practically snarled.
“I, I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“Well, I’m not, okay? I’m pissed off and I'm not talking to you about it. I just came back for my cigarettes.”
Felicia stormed by Lora, headed toward the door.
“I’m sorry, Felicia. Really. I didn’t mean to intrude. I…”
Before she could finish, the door was being slammed again. Felicia was gone.