We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney
I’ve always gone by that quote when I’m in doubt. The night before I left for college I couldn’t sleep. I was awake all night with anticipation so I watched Aladdin. This is one of my favorite Disney movies, like EVER. I aced my art class final by studying while listening to “Arabian Nights”.
I always felt a lot like Aladdin. On my own with no family…..free to do what I wanted but feeling like I wasn’t good enough to actually GET what I wanted.
Kevin always scolded me for feeling that way. He always taught me to keep upbeat, look at the silver lining of things…..and it’s worked for me since they passed away.
Did I mention how cool it would be to have a pet monkey, though?
“Today’s the big day, isn’t it?”
Why must he interrupt me when I’m eating my Fruity Pebbles? He’s not gonna get all philosophical on me now is he? I haven’t even had time to eat before the cereal gets soggy! You’d think he would learn by now. Nothing is worse than soggy cereal.
Oh shit, he’s still talking…isn’t he?
“Yeah?” I said, not realizing milk was dripping down my chin. Way to keep it classy, Carter.
“I can’t believe I’m driving you to college.” he continued, motioning at my chin and handing me a napkin. Jeez. I’m 19, not 5. Well….on the outside.
“Well, I had to grow up sometime.” I told him matter-of-factly.
“That’s not what I meant. Your parents wanted you to have this.” Kevin replied, handing me a package wrapped in Mickey Mouse paper. It was a photo of the three of us at Disney World when I was just five, me on my dad’s shoulders in front of Cinderella Castle.
“Wow. I haven’t seen this before.”
“Your dad said give it to you when I felt you were ready. This is why you’ve had a mild obsession for anything Disney…..your parents used to take you there a lot.”
I held the picture the whole way to the college. We drove from Orlando to Tampa without blinking an eye, away from the happiest place on Earth and into a place where I didn’t know anyone.
“Is this your dorm?” Kevin asked when we reached the campus.
“Yeah, I think so. My room should be….um…here.” I said, opening the door. There was a guy about my age with sandy brown hair sitting on the bed by the wall….hanging up a picture of a goat.
A goat? Really?
“Brian? Is that you?” Kevin laughed, and the guy smiled.
“Brian? Is that you?” Kevin laughed, and the guy smiled.
“Hey, there cuz. Long time no see.” Brian replied. I lugged some boxes in and set them down on the floor, pulling at my Mickey t-shirt.
“Well, at least I will have you to look after him. Nick, meet my cousin Brian from Kentucky.”
To be honest, I wasn’t all that interested in him, he looked like he walked out of an episode of Hee-Haw. He had on jeans and a plaid shirt, and a thick country accent. I shook his hand but I moved to start unpacking.
“Nick, are you going to be okay or do you want me to stay for a bit?”
See how well I pay attention?
“I’m taking off, behave yourself.” he said with a laugh. I went over and hugged him, my eyes tearing up. I’d never been away from him for more than a day, so this would be hard for me. We embraced for a bit and then just like that….he was gone.
“So you’re Nick. Kevin’s told me about you before. You’re Bob’s son, right?” Brian drawled. I blinked at him, not sure how to take this.
“Yeah….Nick Carter. So….um…don’t take this the wrong way, but what’s with the goat?” I asked awkwardly.
He beamed with pride and took something from a box on his bed.
“This is Bella….my prize winning goat. I raised her from a baby. First place in the county fair. I’m studying agriculture, I’m gonna run the farm with my dad when I’m done with school.” he said happily. He had some blue ribbons in the box as well.
“Oh…that’s cool, I guess.” I said, trying my hardest not to laugh. He talked about that goat for another hour, telling me how they milk the goats and make cheese out of it…I was kinda disgusted. Someone who loves a goat that much just isn’t natural.
“So what are you gonna be studying?” he asked suddenly. I was almost finished unpacking. I hung up some pictures and placed the picture of me and my parents on the night stand next to my bed, smiling at it. This place didn’t feel like home yet, but I was sure it would soon.
“I want to get into animation so I am taking a lot of art and some computer classes.” I replied, flopping down on the bed. He looked at me and raised his eyebrow…..geez I haven’t been here even a day and I’m being judged.
“I guess that’s why you have those drawings on the wall, huh?”
Brilliant observation. I rolled my eyes as my stomach growled.
“Where do we get food around here?”
Brian ended up being pretty useful after all, he showed me an awesome pizza place after I got myself registered.
“So what do you do for fun back home in the sticks?” I asked, mocking his accent without thinking.
“We have too much work to do to have fun.” he said blankly.
“Come on, man. You have to have fun sometime. What do you do when you’re not working?”
We turned to see a group of guys cheering on what looked to be an eating contest, they were all wearing red shirts with yellow lettering.
“We race lawnmowers and-”
I ignored him, watching them.
“Who are they?” I asked, taking a gulp of Coke.
“They’re in a frat….Phi Kappa Alpha….or Pikas. You don’t want to be mixed up with them. They’re known for partying and causing trouble on campus.” Brian commented. I nodded, this was my first semester and I didn’t need to get involved with anything like that.
However, part of me was really curious. How could having a little fun be so bad?