I DON’T WANT TO GO TO COLLEGE
By Melissa L. Webb
Julian sat up and yawned before throwing the covers off. It was the last day of summer. Tomorrow was the day he started his new life. A life of responsibility. No longer would he have his parents to lean on for every little thing. He would have to step up and be an adult. It wasn’t like you could take your parents with you to college.
He had so much to do today. He needed to finish shopping. He needed to finish packing. He basically needed to finish everything. There were so many loose ends still laying around. He couldn’t possibly leave without getting them all done.
Hell, who was he kidding? He just wasn’t ready to go.
He had lain awake all night trying to come up with some excuse not to go. He couldn’t come up with any he thought his parents would buy.
He knew they were ready for him to leave the nest. They wanted him in college, embracing a bright future. They would never let him waste his life in this rinky-dink town. The best he could look forward to here would be the manager’s position at the local Speedy-Mart. He knew they would never let him become that.
Showering quickly, he threw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. If only he could come up with a way out of this whole mess. Maybe it was immature of him, but he just didn’t want this life his parents had set out for him.
Heading down stairs, Julian wondering why he couldn’t smell his mother’s famous French Toast. Surely she would send him off with his favorite breakfast?
“Mom?” he called. Where was all the commotion mornings usually brought around the Campbell house? His father’s news? His mother’s insistence he turn it off and eat breakfast? His younger brother and sister fighting as usual? Where were all the things that made this house a home?
Silence was the only thing that occupied the chilly house around him. The TV sat there, dormant. A black pool of nothingness. The stove sat there; cold to the touch. No one moved or even breathed; the house was void of the life Julian would miss.
Where was everyone? Had they gone out without him? Were they already getting used to the fact he wasn’t going to be a member of this household anymore?
Trudging his way through the house, he knocked on doors, calling names. It was true. No one was home. They had gone somewhere and left him to his last day, alone.
Sadness pulled at his heart as he went back to his room, grabbing his wallet and keys. He still had things he needed to get done, whether his family was with him or not. Maybe they planned a big lunch for him before he headed to college this afternoon.
Getting in his car, he hurried down the street, glancing nervously around him. The town was eerily quiet. No one on the streets this sunny morning. No one walking their dogs. No one hurrying by in their car late for work. It seemed he was the only living soul out this morning.
Julian pulled into the parking lot of the main supermarket. It seemed the only place to have any lights on in town. But then again, it never closed. He walked up, the automatic doors opening silently before him.
Stepping inside, he squinted at the harsh florescent lights overhead. When his eyes adjusted, he realized there was no one in the check stands. In fact, the place looked deserted.
“Is anyone here?” he called, peering down the aisles. No one answered. All that greeted his eyes were shelves and shelves of food. The store was empty.
Turning around, Julian slowly headed out of the store. Standing still for a moment, he stared as the morning sun kissed his little town. Something was very wrong. It seemed as if the people had just walked away, leaving everything as it was.
Getting in his car, he started the ignition and looked out at the deserted street in front of him. It looked as if his life might have changed. He strongly doubted he would make it to college today after all. He pulled out of the parking lot, heading south out of town. He would just drive until he got some answers.
Mrs. Campbell hummed merrily as she hurried up the stairs. Today was a big day. Her baby was leaving for college. It was a little sad, but the future he had in front of him made it okay. Baby birds had to leave the nest before they could soar on their own.
She knocked softly on her son’s bedroom door. “Julian,” she called, “it’s time to get up. You have a lot to get done. I made your favorite breakfast.”
There was no movement from the inside of the room, so she opened the door. “Come on, sleepyhead . Time to rise and shine.” She froze in puzzlement as she realized his bed was empty. She glanced over at the open bathroom door. There was no one up here.
Turning around, she headed back down stairs, yelling absently at the twins as they bickered at the kitchen table. Where was her eldest? Didn’t he want to spend time with his family before he left?
She looked up from the griddle as her husband walked into the kitchen carrying the newspaper. “Do you know where Julian is?” she asked as he sat down at the table.
He looked up from the newspaper. “Isn’t he upstairs getting ready?”
She shook her head, flipping a piece of French Toast. “No. He’s not up there. I don’t know where he is.”
He shrugged and went back to his paper. “Well, I just saw his car in the driveway as I was getting the paper. He’s here somewhere. I’m sure he’ll turn up as soon as he smells your delicious breakfast.”
Mrs. Campbell sighed, yelled at the twins again, and went back to frying French Toast.
© 2012 Melissa L. Webb
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