In fourteen years of school, I have slowly overcome my test-taking anxiety. I’ve never totally freaked out before tests, but I hate the pressure beforehand, and I love the release after I hand the pages in. That’s the main reason I handle tests better these days. Time and time again, I walk out, and I am no worse for the wear. I’m fine. More than fine – I’m free, alive. No matter how bad I botched the dates or the calculations or the guessing, life goes on and no one cares. All this to say, yes, I got through my medical evidence midterm. It was not fun. But guess what? Spring break has officially begun, and in mere hours, I’ll be headed to the Charlotte airport, all studying abandoned.
Here’s how these plans began.
When I was home over winter break, I went out to lunch with my sister, a friend, and Hartley Watlington. He is a family friend from Bermuda, and he loves to take jaunts to Charleston for a few weeks every once in a while. For those of you who have been to Sugah Cain, he is also the architect of the Pond Pavilion. He is brilliantly intelligent and quite the conversationalist – you don’t have to say much for Hartley to tell a story. He has always said we were welcome to visit him and his lovely country, which apparently rivals Charleston. We’ll see about that. Sitting in the comfortable, homey atmosphere of the Village Bakery, I realized that my next break need not be so familiar. Though I will forever be strangely attached to Charleston and my family, I love an adventure. And it hit me. I am twenty years old. I have been living away from home for a year and a half now. I can be independent. I can go places!
I broke into the lunch conversation – “Hartley, can I really come to Bermuda?”
“Of course, of course, my dear girl! Come whenever you like.”
“Even in a few months over spring break? Maybe bring a friend or two?”
When I asked Mama, she said to ask Hoffa. Hoffa had the same response. Later, they both said, “We’ll see.” I know in a lot of families that response is a soft euphemism for “Absolutely not, but I don’t want to tell you that right now.” Not in the Compton family. “We’ll see” is about 10 percent away from a solid yes. It’s more a message of, “Keep on asking, and work out the nitty-gritty details yourself.” So, I did. I checked with Kayla and Meghan to see if they would be up for it. Week by week, everything fell into place. An official “yes” from the parents, friends nagging me until we had all met and bought our plane tickets. An expedited passport for Meghan, regular tropical pictures e-mailed by Hartley, and an official dorm room door countdown.
So now, I have plowed through midterms. Today’s exam only served to reaffirm my dislike for studying the sciences; I’m pretty sure it’s watered down science, too. I have carefully rolled patterns and florals into a carry-on suitcase, utilizing every bit of space available. I’m not sure how I fit it all, but I do know I’m saving $50 as my friends pay for their over-packing. The weather forecast isn’t optimistic. Even if it is raining, though, 69 degrees sounds way better than the ice flakes I’ve seen fall today, reminding me just how chilly a mountain valley still is in March. The pod is eerily quiet right now. My residents have departed, and soon, I shall too. Baby, I’m Bermuda bound.