My freshman year, I was matched with a sweet gal named Kristen and we got along great. She was so precious, a nursing student. But, because of our wildly different degrees and schedules, we never got to see each other or hang out. So, for our upperclassmen years, we both found other gals we had become friends with who also happened to be in our fields of study. Not that you have to room with someone with the same degree as you, but it helps having a built-in study buddy. So, Kristen roomed with Kristen (funny, huh) and I roomed with Rebekah. The whole Summer, I looked forward to rooming with Bekah...I knew it was going to be a lot of fun. We called and emailed throughout the Summer discussing who was bringing the TV, what kind of furniture we had, etc.
Late August, and we arrive back on campus. When we signed up for our room, Bekah and I were like, third in line, and heck yes, we got the biggest room. It was fabulous. So, I'm unpacking all of my stuff, making sure I only take half of everything...the drawers, the closet, the sink, the room itself. You literally could feel the invisible line running straight down the middle. Bekah never arrived that day, so I thought maybe she was coming in the next two days before class started.
She never came. I never heard anything...no email, no phone call. Classes started, still no Bekah. I called the Residence Life office and was like, "Dude, where's my roommate?" Because, at this point, I wanted to make sure she was okay. They told me "due to a family situation, she transferred to another school." And yes, sometimes I wonder if she called in and told them that just because she changed her mind about rooming with me.
A month came and went and I was on my ownsie. It was quite nice, I will admit. Then, I get a letter stating that I had to find someone else who was without a roommate and we had to pair up. I was super duper frustrated, because it was like freshman year again. Luckily, the first time around, I got someone pretty cool. I was afraid I'd get stuck with a lame-o. And they probably were afraid they'd get stuck with me. But, we had to find someone (they gave us a list of names) or we had to pay double the room.
So, I found someone...Cassy, a brand new transfer student. She lived just down the hall from me. Two rooms shared a bathroom. My suite-mates were Rebecca (my now sister-in-law) and her roommate Elizabeth. I loved suiting with them. They were clean and their room smelled nice and they were quiet and we all go along famously. Cassy's suite-mates were her two best friends from her home town. We had to decide who was moving into whose room. It was a doozie. I didn't want to leave my huge room with fabulous suite-mates. She didn't want to leave her slightly smaller room and the only two people on campus that she knew. The Residence Life office decided for us by saying since I had the bigger room, it made more sense for us to be there. Which, wasn't a 100% completely fair way of deciding, but hey, I wasn't going to complain. So, they let David and our friend, Mark, in and we all moved Cassy into my room. It was a very quiet, somber day. I was stoked, but I know it was hard for her. But, after a few hours of unpacking, we settled in for the night and I turned on the TV. A rerun of Cheers was on. We immediately became good friends. Every night from then on, we watched one or two episodes of Cheers before bed.
When you first meet Cassy, probably the first things you notice are her hair and her height. She has the type of blonde hair that most women (and some men) would dye to have. Ha, get it...die...dye...cuz you know, hair. Anyways. And she was super tiny. I don't consider myself a tall person...I'm 5' 3.5". That extra half inch is important. But, Cassy came to about my shoulder, I swear. She used to be a gymnastics teacher and she could launch herself into her bed with amazing ease. And we had our beds all the way to the top, so we could fit our fridges underneath. Cassy looked way younger than she was, but not in a bad way. Her face was perfectly round, sprinkled with freckles, her bright blue eyes always smiling. Yeah, she was super adorable.
Cassy was a pre-dental student, getting her undergrad in Biology. I love science, so I loved hearing all about the weird things she was learning. I helped her study, calling things out to her and helping her come up with mnemonic devices to memorize the insane amount of material that was required. She helped me with my art projects and proofread some of my papers. She always told me how fabulous my stuff was, even if I knew it was crap. She was a good friend.
She was always in a good mood. Even if she had had a bad day, she'd come in, throw her backpack–that weighed twice as much as her–onto the floor with a humphff!, leap into bed, scream a little into her pillow, and then say, "Let's eat some cake batter." And we did, sans egg. And she'd be laughing about something inappropriate one of her classmates said in her human anatomy class. She told me which biology and physics teachers to pick. I'd tell her who the easiest art teachers were.
We had a few core classes together, like English Literature, and we'd study for tests together. We'd roll our eyes when we talked about our super feminist professor and laugh behind our hands during class every time she mentioned how far she'd risen above the men that have held her back. She was on her 5th husband. This husband, however, seemed to be a keeper. She said he didn't talk much.
Cassy was obsessed with dill pickles. She had two huge jars under her bed at all times. I never knew when she replaced them, it happened so fast. If she ran out of the actual pickles, she'd still save the juice. And she would drink it STRAIGHT OUT OF THE JAR. Y'all, this was one of those huge jars you'd get at Sam's or something. And she'd prop up on her bed, watching a soap opera, and drink straight from the jar. All you could see was a distorted blur of a face, surrounded by a blonde halo, two hands clasping that pickle jar. Bleh.
It cracked me up, because she never washed off her mascara. Every night, she would spend about 15 minutes pulling every bit of it off her lashes. I was like, "Cassy, you realize there is make-up remover for that." "Yeah, no, I know. It's just easier this way." Whatever floats your boat, buddy.
Her family life was similar to mine. We were both really close to our families. Their dog, an English bulldog named Rocky, was one of them. I heard more stories about him than some of her siblings. She had several nieces and nephews, all of whose names started with a C. I could never keep them straight. One of the nephews, C-something, was an up and coming artist. I got him a solid graphite pencil and fancy eraser and he drew me a Japanime cartoon. I still have it.
She was an eBay fiend. She taught me how to use eBay and I bought my first item with her help, David's groom's cake topper. She wasn't as great with some other websites. I introduced her to Delia's and told her to check out their website sometime. Our school was pretty conservative, so a lot of web-related checks. I come in from classes one day and she's sitting at my desk, her face pale. I asked what was up. She said, "I went to a porn site." I laughed, thinking she was just making a joke, even if it was weird, and she said, "No...really. I tried to go to that Delilah website you told me about and it was a porn site." I said, "Did you try to go to DELIA'S?" Her eyes got big and she half-smiled and said, "Nope. I went to Delilah's." So, I called the web office and told them not to put a flag on my computer because it was an accident. And I gave Cassy my Delia's catalog instead.
She was such a good roommate and such a good friend. And we decided to room together the next year, too...her senior year, my junior. Rebecca and Elizabeth graduated, so the suite next to mine was open. Cassy's two friends, Erin and (for the life) I can't remember the other one's name, moved in next door. We were one big happy family. We both got engaged that Summer and we talked wedding plans all year long. She graduated in May and I knew I would never find another roommate like that, so I applied to be a Resident Assistant, and praise the Lord, I got the gig. ROOM TO MYSELF, WHA WHAAAAAAT!
I missed Cassy my senior year, but I'd rather be by myself than with a crazy person. We were bridesmaids in each other's weddings. She got married the Summer after she graduated and I got married the following Summer. I'm so, so thankful it worked out the way it did. I had two great roommates and college was a blast. I miss it sometimes. And every time I eat the last dill pickle out of the jar, I think, "Hmm...Cassy would like this."