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My name is Cassidy, I’m a college student… and I’m only one year ahead of my dad there. Yeah, I know there’s nothing surprising nowadays when older people go back to school. But when your old man turns out to be more interesting for your college peers than you are, that’s lame.
Everything started when I was just a freshman. At first, everything for me was like it was for everybody else – a little bit scary, a little bit annoying, but overall exciting. Even though it had always been hard for me to get close with people, I managed to make friends with a couple of girls and we’d even decided to try and join the most popular sorority.
But then I found out that my mom had gotten a very serious disease and she was about to die soon. Of course, I wanted to be with her during her last few months. Besides, my dad needed some help. So, I had to drop out of college having barely completed my first semester there and, you know, take my mommy on her final journey. I don’t want to talk in detail about how hard it was to accept her death. The only thing about her dying that relates to this story right now is that my dad was completely devastated, so much so that he couldn’t sleep or eat well, and I ended up having to take care of him. And to make matters worse, we had some problems with paying our mortgage, so I had to find a job for myself.
What I’m trying to say is that I didn’t even have an opportunity to continue my studies at college for the next year and a half. But time passed and life with just my dad had gotten better and at some point he began insisting on me going back to school. I have to say that it was even harder to become a freshman for the second time. Everybody else seemed to be very young and really different from me even though I was only two years older. I felt like there was something, like a generation gap, between me and my classmates. Of course, there were a few people who I’d talk to during lunches or group work, but I can’t say that we had really become friends. I was pretty much on my own.
This is why I really wanted to get my degree as soon as possible, so at some point I decided to stay in college through the whole summer and take some extra classes. I knew that this news would make my dad really upset, ‘cause he missed me a lot, especially now that my mom wasn’t there anymore. Imagine how surprised I was when on the very first day of the summer semester, in one of my first lectures, I noticed my dad sitting in the last row.
We locked eyes and he acted like he didn’t know me. I was completely speechless. I checked my phone and found a text from him where he said that we should meet after class and that I’d better not be looking stupid with my face full of bewilderment. An hour later I’d gotten an explanation for everything.
Dad told me that had actually planned to cheer me up and take the two of us on a fancy vacation to the islands. It was supposed to be a surprise for me. But when I told him that I wasn’t coming home for the summer, he got really upset because he had already made all the reservations. Suddenly he remembered that his boss at work had once told him that, if only he had a college degree, he would definitely be promoted. By the way, dad hadn’t gotten an opportunity to finish college because I was born and he had to work and everything. So dad thought, “Why not?” and called my college and found out that he could join a special program for former students and get his diploma in one academic year, summer included. He returned the tickets, canceled the reservations, and packed his stuff to study here with me.
Was it shocking? Yes. Was I surprised? Definitely. But was I happy to have my dad here? I dunno. First of all, I was already feeling like the black sheep and I definitely didn’t want the whole college to know that my dad was here to study. That’s why we’d decided to keep our relationship to each other a secret. You see, even though my dad was not old yet, he still had some trouble with college procedures. Apart from that, almost a two decade long break in studies had had its effect. So, I had to help my dad from time to time, but secretly, so that no one would see us.
Apparently, we were not very good at being secretive because very soon my dorm neighbor Alice, who was one of those know-it-all nerds, noticed once that my dad was leaving my room. Obviously, he had been there to get some of my notes that could be useful for him. But Alice had come to a pretty compromising conclusion and the next day, I heard a rumor about me having an affair with an older student. So, in no more than a week I turned from a “nobody” to “a very interesting subject” for my college peers.
Music by Epidemic Sound: