Our playgroup met today at a cool, new play garden at our local mall – a play garden situated just outside of a gaming store that happens to employ a certain someone I once knew really well.

His name is Troy. (I used to call him Squiggy Piggy Power Hour. Just because.) He was my housemate during my sophomore year in college.

Ah, my sophomore year in college…

Sophomore Year Sorority Picture

I had applied to live in The Science House on campus with two of my sorority sisters and a girl called Melinda who, bless her physics-loving heart, was really living there for the purpose of communing with other science-lovers. Don’t get me wrong, I loved science, but that wasn’t why I was living in The Science House. I was living there because it was a house, not a dorm, and I could party like a rockstar day and night with two of my best friends. For this, Melinda hated me. And her hatred was justified as I spent the entire year exhibiting behavior that forced her to hide in her room. Mid-year, she found the courage to stage a sit-in in the bath tub so my drunken friends and I would have to pee on the abandoned bike in back yard during one of our rowdier get-togethers. Sadly, her protest didn’t have the impact she was hoping for. Peeing on a bike is just about the funniest party trick ever, when you’re wasted. I’m happy to say, that by the end of the year, I had finally coerced Melinda to take part in our partying and on the last day we lived in the house, she actually said to me, “I should have done this with you sooner. You’re not evil at all. In fact, you’re kind of fun.” So, don’t feel too bad for Melinda.

But this isn’t about my abuse of Melinda. This is about Troy.

Troy was my friend Kitty’s boyfriend. J.T., the man that would later become my husband, was mine. Since Kitty and I lived in an area on campus that wasn’t well monitored, our boyfriends moved in with us and we became an inseparable foursome.

We had a great time together. There was a lot of drinking and laughing and bare-your-soul kind of talks at 3 a.m. There were games of fire tag with aerosol cans and lighters. There were sled rides down the staircase. There was mass consumption of pizza and macaroni and cheese. There were many nights spent curled up together on the floor – some because we passed out there, and some because we were helping a friend grieve the death of a grandmother and later, a father. We were close.

Near the end of the school year, Kitty and Troy broke up, which meant our group broke up. I only saw Troy a few times after that. Until I moved here.

It wasn’t all that long ago that I caught a glimpse of him at the mall, still working that second job at the gaming store. He looked just the same. I was in too much of a hurry to walk in and say hello the first time, at least that’s what I say to cover up the fact that I wasn’t brave enough to do it. Since then, when I’ve walked past the store, he hasn’t been there. Until today. But I still didn’t go in. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because J.T. and I aren’t together anymore. Maybe it’s because I know Kitty got married to someone else. Or maybe it’s because our friendship fell apart when she couldn’t stop drinking. I guess it’s because I don’t want to spoil the great memories I have of that time in my life.

When my sophomore year of college ended, it was as if the four of us put all of our experiences together in a box and locked them away. We’ve never stopped to look back, talk about it and reminisce together. I think I’d rather keep them in that box, perfect and untouched, for I fear bringing them out into the light would only make them disappear.