Vermont was hotter than she expected. When Pam found out that her room was on the third floor, and there was no working elevator to bring all of her belongings, she was certain her father was going to have a heart attack. William Beesly wiped the sweat off his brow as he set what he was hoping was the last box of his daughter’s belongings into her room.
“Bug, is this everything?” he asked, his voice raising with hope.
Helene came in behind him, running her free arm against her husband’s, and set down a box of paintbrushes on the desk Pam had claimed, closest to the window, the mountain views are perfect she’d told her mother.
“I think so,” Pam smiled sheepishly, pulling her hair from her shoulders that was now dripping with sweat and into a bun on the top of her hair, securing it with a scrunchie.
“Thank you both so much,” she cocked her head to the side, feeling a bulge in her throat, that she swallowed down, remembering how much she wanted this
“Sweetheart, you’re so welcome, and hey, this room isn’t so bad,” she eyed the concrete walls surrounding them, and the metal bunk beds in the corner. Her lips pursed,
“It’s fine Mom, it’s just freshman year, next year, maybe I can live in my own apartment?” she teased the question, raising her eyebrows, her tongue sliding between her teeth.
“Maybe,” Helene smiled, and they paused, the three of them looking at each other for what felt like hours.
“Okay,” Pam’s eyes brimmed with tears, “I think you should go, I want to make a good impression on my roommate, and I can’t be a blubbering mess when she gets here,” She put on a brave face, putting her hands in the front pocket of her new University of Vermont sweatshirt. Her parents pulled her in for a hug, one at a time, reminding her to go to class, eat well, get some exercise, and call home at least once a week. She nodded furiously, making promises she’d soon forget to keep, and when they left the room, she shut the door behind them. It slammed harsher than she would have liked, but a sigh of relief escaped her lips as she took a seat on her mattress. She silently thanked her mother for making the bed before leaving, she’d told her it was the first thing you should do upon moving into your dorm room, so at least if nothing else gets unpacked she had somewhere to sleep.
She glanced at the sunshine poking through her curtains, and smiled thinking about how beautiful the landscape was around her. She had dreams of learning to ski come this winter, and so much painting. She wanted to paint anything and everything she’d seen, and she had only been on the campus for about four hours. Her thoughts were quickly dismissed when she heard noises outside of her door. She listened to the key slip through the doorknob, and she quickly pressed her hands against her khaki shorts with nerves. Who was this person she’d be living with for the next year, Would she be like Pam? Somewhat reserved, interested in art, passionate, and sometimes a little stubborn. Would she want to throw parties in their room? Would Pam be okay with that? Before any more questions could fly through her mind, she glanced up at the girl entering her room, no parents in tow, with just a few boxes. Pam smiled at the tall brunette, with beautifully sun kissed skin, and dark eyes, and immediately placed her hand on her own hair, trying to soften the frizz she knew was sticking up from her untamed curly bun.
“Hey there,” the girl spoke, setting her suitcase and the lone box down on the floor in front of the door, “I’m Karen,” she smirked, moving across the tiny room to shake Pam’s hand. Pam wondered how many opportunities Karen had before this in shaking hands because she was certainly practiced at it. She studied her attire, and in stark contrast to Pam, she looked as though she’d been planning her outfit for weeks. Her tight dress fit snug in all of the right places, and her chunk sandals matched perfectly, Pam couldn’t pull her eyes away from her, she was striking.
“Pam,” she grinned back at her, “Are you um,” she paused looking at Karen’s belongings, “do you need help getting any more of your stuff?” Karen looked down and laughed,
“I’m from New York, everywhere I’ve ever lived was about this size, I packed light, plus, all of this was on a plane,” her voice was smooth as warm caramel.
“The city?” Pam asked, intrigued.
“Yeah, I’m from Brooklyn, born and raised,” she pointed to the top bunk, “this one mine?” she asked with a knowing smile.
“Oh yeah,” Pam bit her lip, immediately regretting choosing a bed before her roommate arrived, “but we can switch I really don’t mind,”
Karen smiled, “Oh my God, it’s totally fine, I like the top,” she placed her pillow above Pam and sat at the desk chair facing her.
“So where are you from?” she asked, her hands folded in her lap. Pam noticed her perfectly manicured nails.
“Um, Pennsylvania,” Pam glanced down at the floor, feeling utterly inferior to the city girl before her.
“Cool! My family goes to the Poconos all the time for vacation, Where in PA are you from?”
“Scranton?” Pam raised her voice, almost in question,
“It’s not that exciting,” she laughed, nervously.
“Well,” Karen started, “neither is Brooklyn,”
“I doubt that,” Pam gave her a toothy smile,
“Trust me, you get really sick of the cars, the smell, and the pizza really quickly,” she laughed,
Pam raised an eyebrow in suspicion.
“Okay, well maybe not the pizza,” Karen smirked, “Speaking of which, I haven’t eaten since I got on the plane this morning. Do you want to check out the dining hall? I heard it’s right downstairs in this building?”
Pam’s stomach turned, and she suddenly realized she was hungry herself and absolutely parched.
“Let’s do it,” she slipped her white Keds back onto her feet, and stood up, the two girls moving to the front door and opened it.
Pam stopped as she locked eyes with the person staring at her from directly across the hall. He was tall, extremely tall, and his basketball shorts and white t-shirt clung to him from the August heat. He was spinning a basketball in his hands, and laughing with what she presumed to be his roommate, a shorter boy with sandy brown hair, and glasses. He stopped moving the ball for a moment, and smiled a toothy grin at her, his brown hair falling into his eyes. She smiled, but quickly looked down, averting her gaze.
Karen immediately looked back after realizing she was a few paces ahead of Pam. “Are you coming?” she asked, turning back.
“Yeah I just um,” she brought her hand up, motioning to the boy from across the hall.
“Jim,” he put a free hand out in front of her, and she felt her stomach flip in place. Not only was this the second person to shake her hand today, but there was something else. Something in his eyes that caught her attention. They were green, but gold flecks surrounded his pupil, and she felt he was already telling her a story with them.
“Hi,” she replied, shaking his hand, waiting a moment before dropping it.
“Hello, Hi,” he laughed,
“Oh, um, I’m,” she stammered, and he glanced at the door tags on the door behind her.
“Beesly,” he smirked, raising an eyebrow, looking at the two name tags,
“Oh no, it’s Pam, they just, um, they made a mistake, that’s my last name,” her cheeks burned for a moment, she couldn’t take her eyes off his gaze.
“Well Beesly, I like the mistake,” Was he flirting her mind began to race.
“C’mon Pam, I’m starving,” Karen dropped a hand against her thigh with slight frustration.
She looked to Karen, “We were just going to eat, but it was nice to meet you, Jim,” she managed to form a sentence. He smiled at her as she walked away, admiring the paint streaks across her calves, just above her perfectly white sneakers.
“Catch you around,” he started, her back was already toward him “Beesly,” he finished, and she stopped, turning quickly to flash a shy smile in his direction before catching up to her roommate.
Maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to meet people here after all, Pam thought as she moved down the hallway passing parents and students moving around in shades of all colors, but the only one that stayed in her mind was that green, that beautiful golden green.