This scene was originally intended to be the last scene in Book One. I think’s its going to be the prologue of Book II, at least for now. It’s backstory, mostly, and I may just incorporate into the book in some other way, but for now it’s the prologue with a little cleanup needed.
Welcome Freshman was written in bold green script, the colors of the school, yellow and blue. She and Mavis had started the drive early yesterday morning, and fourteen hours of driving later, they’d reached their destination, the place where Sydney would spend the next four maybe five years of her life.
Mavis was behind the wheel, where she spent most of the trip, smiling, and pointing out sights along the way. She had talked Sydney into allowing her to accompanying her. She didn’t have kids of her own, she said, and this would do her heart good to see a young woman she thought of as her daughter settle. Losing Baby Brian had seemed to impact her too. She’d also persuaded her to leave Shelby’s car behind, and give a year of being a true freshman a shot.
Sydney gaze was turned to the activities outside of her window. They were driving past the gates now, spread open to welcome her and the many others that would join her on her first adventure alone. It was a beautiful day, and way cooler than Texas by a long shot. Green was the color of summer here, green grass, green trees and she smiled at the sheer size of the people moving around outside of her window. So many freshman, just like her were walking, running, in all ways moving their loads of suitcases and tubs filled with college supplies to their new homes. She had her on tubs in the back of the van, Mavis had rented for the trip. They needed the extra space for all Sydney’s stuff, both new and old, mostly new.
It was still hard to believe she was here, and for once, she let herself her feel a little bit of happiness, and satisfaction at getting here, the result of her hard work and the many hours spent studying, preparing for this moment. Her grandmother would be proud.
“I see you smiling over there,” Mavis said, chuckling. “You have every right to be here. You have a right to be happy. I hope you know that. I hope you remember that. I hope you throw yourself into the mix Sydney, and drink it up, as much as you can. Promise me you’ll try to enjoy your life here. You can do it and work hard. Okay?”
“I promise,” Sydney said, her gaze darting from sight to sight, trying to take Inas much as she could while searching for her dorm. “Over there Ms. Mavis. My dorm is this way.” She said, pointing to the tall poster someone had placed on the corner with a list of the dorms and signs pointing in every direction. “Turn left here,” Sydney said, her eyes widening. “It’s huge,” she added, taking in the three-story labyrinth of a building that was Marion Hall coming into view.
“Over there, to the right,” Sydney said, on the lookout for that as well.
“Lots of handsome boys, huh. You could try to forget Graham. And if not, if he’s who your heart’s set on, you can use the time to get some experience under you belt. I pretty sure he’s doing the same,” Mavis said, smiling at her.
Sydney laughed, “Ms. Mavis,” she said, pretending to be shocked. It was a thought and maybe a good one, cause there were a lot of handsome young men here. A break from Graham. It was an interesting thought. A chance at new guys, one that might replace him in her mind? It would be hard, given all he’d done so far for her. The latest and the largest was money. She was the recipient of the Graham Garrison scholarship. He set it up, or set it aside for her before he left for his college.
Graham, in his way, had made sure that she didn’t give up her dreams and he hadn’t said one word. Who did that? People who cared, that’s who. Just as Mavis had done, continuing to help and encourage her and like Graham, she also forked over money for the Sydney cause, supplementing what Sydney’s savings, and earnings, and G’s scholarship didn’t.
Mavis laughed. “It’s what I’d do. Give those young men a run for their money,” she said, chuckling, bringing Sydney’s thoughts to the present.
Sydney laughed, and just like that her tears started. At all she lost, from the beginning of her time here in this life, it seemed, she was always losing something. Her dad, mother, grandmother, her home, her friends, both B and in a different way G. No not Graham and the biggest loss of all was Shelby and her nephew.
She took a breath and gave into her tears. No way around it really, this sadness that dogged her heels these days. Mavis reached for her hand and squeezed it. It was both happiness and sadness that was the source of her tears. She was going to college. It had been a dream, and in spite of all she’d gone through, she was here, reaching for it. Yes it was a year later than she’d initially planned, but she was here just the same. Two years of dogged searching for her sister and nephew, only to come up empty had left her one depleted soul.
Maybe Mavis was right. It was time to focus on herself for a while. She was far enough away to not have to worry about anything beyond classes and whatever else she wanted to do. She could be a student for a while, thinking only of herself for a while.
“You’re excited,” Mavis said, squeezing her hand.
“I am,” Sydney said smiling, feeling the weight of everything leave her. Her smile widened a little bit more, because she meant it.