It’s me jane, back again to continue catching you up on my voyage.
As I am telling you this, tear drops can’t stop falling from my eyes.
I ask myself daily, why must life go the way that it does?
Why do we go through the things that we do? Is it to make us stronger? Is it to keep us on our toes? Are we supposed to be better people for it?
Well I suppose that is a story for another day, as I will fight these tears to tell you what you have missed for it is why you are here.
When I followed the sign to the streets, I went up these stairs that were about as filthy as you could imagine. So many freaking people walking up and down with as much pace as I have ever seen. I tried to make my way up as calmly as I could, with my two suitcases looking about as out of place as could be. A thousand years later when I finally reached the streets, I was in awe of what I was seeing. You would not believe how beautiful the architecture in New York is when you first lay eyes on it. Coming from Bedford I could never fathom such a city could ever exist, it is as if I have lived in shacks all my life. I did not realize that I have not moved for minutes, I was oblivious to everyone around me, but they were not. When I finally got my mental back, I noticed people just staring at me. like I was a newbie (which I was).
I think people from New York can tell when someone is not from there, so I stuck out like a sore thumb. I felt like a complete stranger however, I needed to get moving. My final destination was straight to Saint John’s campus so I did what any 21st century tourist would do, I pulled out my phone to my google maps. After the map received my location, it told me to take two different trains and in about an hour I reach my destination.
I followed my map to the first train station; I have to tell you having to juggle two suitcases with a phone was not the best idea I ever had. I still kept moving forward until I reached the station, went down some steps and hopped on train letter E.
As you well know I have never been on a train before, I felt so claustrophobic that this tube-like structure was supposed to take me somewhere. Seeing a train on tv and being in one were two completely different things, the speed in which it moved was almost sci-fi like. The sound it was making as it built up speed was so horrendous it felt like my ears were going to bleed.
Diary you know that feeling when your ears feel so stuffed all you want to do is pop them, well multiply that by 10. I also could not find a seat, for such a large built structure it sure does not have enough room for everyone in New York.
Well I am straying away with these tiny useless details, let me back to the not so boring parts.
After the E train brought me to another station, I had to leave that station to walk about a minute before taking the R train at a different station. I have to tell you, to say that I was exhausted would be an understatement. I did not think just going to my new school would be such a damn hassle, little did I know that would be just the beginning. The R train took about nine minutes before reaching 169 street station, I stepped out and headed to the streets again walking for about a minute before reaching hillside avenue. From hillside I took the bus Q31 that took about 5 minutes and 7 stops before reaching Utopia Parkway. This whole travel took one hour and 30 minutes, add to that the 12-hour bus ride and all the time I took just looking around. The result was a girl who was ready to pass out for days if not years, my shoes were making my feet ache so bad that walking barefoot was something I contemplated.
I can complain for days about the travel, but it was all worth it when I finally reached-
8000 Utopia Pkwy, Jamaica, NY 11439.
The campus that would change my life forever, the place where I learned all the ugly and beautiful things this life has to offer.
But before that
Dairy can I tell you how my suitcases fell out of my hands because I could not believe what I was seeing. I wish you were there to see it with me for the first time. The most beautiful place I had ever seen; I could not believe this was a school. It seemed more like a palace or a castle, it was so huge and so artsy. I thought to myself no way I will figure this out this is too big of a place, I thought I would be lost for days. I could not believe people were just walking by without taking in what a magnificent creation this was.
I pulled out my phone to try to take as many pictures as possible, but sadly my phone was at five percent from all the usage. I Managed to snag one picture of the entrance, which I still hold on to today as it reminds me where the second stage on my life began.
I had two issues at that moment. For one I did not know where to go and two I did not know what to do. I remember in the acceptance letter I was instructed to find the admissions office, then ask for offices of new admissions. I started looking around trying to find a map to guide me, after about five minutes of walking around looking like a homeless woman with suitcases, I found one. It looked so complicated, it looked like a map of a country or of the whole city of Bedford. I whispered “this is ridiculous” how can this be a school, no freaking way this had to be a map of a whole city. I saw this guy walking by, so I ask him for some help “excuse me for interrupting you I just need help finding the admissions office” I was so nervous I don’t even think that was English. He chuckled before explaining to me how to get there, he made it seem so easy to find.
Before I moved, I thought to myself “why did he chuckle?” I said nothing funny, I thought maybe it was because It looked like a train hit me, I looked like shit at that moment. I just shrugged it off before getting a move on.
I followed the way he told me to go, admiring the decorations as I walked on. The flowers were blooming making the walkway even more beautiful, people sitting on the benches talking and eating, birds flying beautifully. I thought to myself “this is going to be awesome, I can’t wait to meet people and just explore”. I finally reached the entrance to the main building and I noticed something strange, the doors had no handle to push or pull which puzzled me. I thought it was because the offices were locked or they did not want anyone in, I walked up and down trying to find a handle and could not. I stood there like “no this cannot be happening, how the hell am going to know where to go now?”. While I stood there looking hopeless and lost, this girl walked up and gave me the strangest look that made me cringe a bit. She looked at me for a few seconds before walking up to the doors that automatically opened, before she walked inside.
I was like “HOLY FUCKING SHIT THEY HAVE MAGICAL DOORS THIS IS CRAZY” so loud that the few people around me stopped whatever they were doing just to stare at me. They all had a good laugh before getting back to what they were doing, but I was so amazed that they had automatic doors.
Diary I swear you would have been as amazed as I was, to make it worse I was so amazed that I kept walking in and out. Like a complete weirdo I would walk up to the doors, wait for them to open, walk in then wait for them to close, get close again then walk out. I did it so many times that a lady took notice, she came to me and said
Lady: excuse me, are you like ok?
My only response was
Me: they do not have these where I come from
Lady: they don’t have doors where you come from?
Me: not ones like these
I said. She stared at me for a moment and then said
Lady: well how exactly can you be helped? Seems like you really need it?
Me: I’m looking for the admissions office, I’m new here
Lady: must be your lucky day I work in the admissions office; you can follow me if you like or you can just stay here playing door tag
I was beyond tempted to keep playing with the doors, but I picked up my suitcases and followed her.
I must mention I did whisper to the doors “I’ll be back for you” before I left, I hope she didn’t notice.
I followed her through a long hallway full of offices, one nicer than the last. They were full of people on the phone, reading documents and typing on computers. She looked back to see if I was following her and noticed that I was lagging behind.
Admissions lady: you seem really excited to see offices?
Me: I have never seen so many offices
Admissions lady: so never seen sliding doors, never seen offices…where exactly do you come from?
Me: I never said I have not seen an office, just not nice ones like these. Not a lot of nice things where I come from.
Admissions lady: again, I ask where exactly do you come from?
Me: Bedford Virginia
Admissions lady: oh!
Me: you don’t have to pretend like you know where it is
Admissions lady: oh, I was not going to
Before I knew it, we reached her office, this gigantic office that had plaques all over the place. You could tell she was a big deal by the way she dressed, a no-nonsense crisp business suit with a big diamond ring. The way she spoke was direct and stern, just like the way she dressed no nonsense.
Admissions lady: please take a seat, you can put your suitcases by the door
Me: you have a very nice office
Admissions lady: eh it’s alright, have some fixing up to do
Me: it has more space than the room I use to sleep in.
Admissions lady: oh my, that is unfortunate
Me: I guess I did not realize it until now
Admissions lady: well hopefully you will like your new room, we have plenty of space in our dorms.
Me: anything feels like a palace coming from where I am from
Admissions lady: you sure do talk differently
Me: what do you mean?
Admissions lady: I mean your accent
Me: what accent?
Admissions lady: the accent you speak with
Me: I have an accent?
Admissions lady: you mean to tell me no one has ever told you, that you have an accent?
Me: I think I talk just like you
She laughed for a second
Admissions lady: I honestly do not think we talk alike. Have you ever spoken to anyone outside of Bedford?
Me: I actually never have; well wait I did ask a guy how to get here and he kind of chuckled before he answered me.
Admissions lady: well either way I am Tiffany Johnson, I am one of the admissions coordinators here. Probably should have introduced myself earlier but we met under, um interesting circumstances.
Me: yeah sorry about that, this is still all new to me
Tiffany: and you are?
Tiffany: you have a name, right?
Tiffany: do they have full names in Bedford?
Me: people just call me jane
Tiffany: well I kind of need your full name to pull up your file
Me: Mary Jane Thompson
I realized this was the first time I have said my full name since I was 10 years old. It felt so strange, like poison was in my mouth. Never did I want to say that name again, I just wanted to split my tongue in two.
Tiffany: oh, Mary jane like the girl from spider man!
Me: I think more like the one you smoke
Tiffany: ohm interesting
Me: my dad was a fucking idiot
Tiffany: was? Did he pass away?
Me: I sure as hell hope so
Tiffany: well ok, um let us try to get you situated
To say I caught her off guard would be an understatement, I can only imagine what was running through her head.
As she was trying to look up my profile, she kept making these faces, I couldn’t tell what they meant.
Me: is everything ok?
Tiffany: well I am not quite sure how to ask this, but have you showered lately?
Me: well not for like 24hours. I came a long way
Tiffany: I can tell, looks like you got hit by a train
Me: I took a train, and a bus and walked
Tiffany: did the train or the bus hit you?
I did not want laugh, but I did, I liked her sense of humor it seemed so honest. We shared the laugh, and in a weird way I think she was trying to ease me in.
Tiffany: So, Mary Jane Thompson
Before she could finish, I interrupted her
Me: please don’t call me that
Tiffany: Is that not your name?
Me: well no, I go by jane
Tiffany: that is fine I will call you Jane, if that is what you prefer
Me: it is what I prefer
Tiffany: so, jane, can you please tell me a little bit about yourself?
Me: what is there to tell?
Tiffany: well judging from what I have seen so far, a lot, but you do not need to go into detail. See the issue is you came way too early for it is July first, and the thing is people usually do not start moving in until about mid to late August. This usually gives us enough time to get the living situations finalized, and see who is rooming with who. There has been paperwork that were sent to your address for you to fill in about yourself, which would have arrived this week. However, here you are and before you can move in, we have to fill those out. Assuming by the hurry that you came here with, I am assuming that you have nowhere to go and that means you know no one here. I can speed up the process, but we have to get started, beginning with who you are and your background. Would you like to proceed?
At that point dairy
My heart dropped
For no one has ever asked me who I was or even cared
Not even myself.
Mary Jane Thompson