We met one morning in late summer / early fall. I was starting my freshman year at Longwood College in Farmville, VA and so were you. I arrived earlier in the week to get settled and properly orientated to my job as a dining hall employee (I had big goals and aspirations…). I was sleeping peacefully (similar to how you are now) when someone opened the door with a key and walked on in. It was you, your mother Karen, your father Gerard, and your younger brother Ryan. I met you at the door, looking absolutely stunning….in my pajamas.
I’m not sure what happened in that moment, it could have been the pajamas or the anticipation of life after high school, or a fresh start, anything really, but in that moment we met and I knew we’d be great friends. You had pretty blonde hair at the time and you were the skinniest girl I’d ever seen (we raise some hearty girls in Mathews County) – but you were so friendly, you hugged me as soon as you walked in and introduced yourself as “Kim Hasenfus”. I thought to myself, “this girl is pretty cool (I’ll never be able to remember or spell her last name) – one down and two more to go”!
I woke up and shook off the sleepy and got excited about helping you move your stuff into our new “home” – mind you this “home” was split with two other girls, for a total of four; along with a bathroom split with four more girls, for a total of eight. The only way to arrange our room so that it was suitable for four people was to have bunk beds. I had claimed the bottom bunk on the left side of the room (I don’t like sleeping in front of doors – you’d later learn that about me) and you thought the bunk above mine would be a perfect place for your navy blue comforter that had glow in the dark stars on it. (I had glow in the dark stars on the ceiling in my bedroom back at my mom’s – so that was other reason for me to instantly befriend you).
That day was exhausting, two other girls moved in, we had to split a closet (ouch!) unpack our clothes, setup our email accounts, laptops, and workspaces (in the shared study) and say goodbye to life known as “BC” (Before College).
That night we ate dinner together, and we continued to do so every night after that for the next four years…