I still have your towel.
I’m guessing it got mixed in with my laundry at the end of freshman year. Your initials and last name are written in Sharpie on the tag. It’s possible that your mom did that, though it may have been you. You were careful about your possessions and liked things to be just so. You’re the only guy I knew who brought a bathrobe to college.
We didn’t become friends. I mean, we were friendly enough. I was grateful at least to have you as a roommate rather than one of the Skoal-dipping, Confederate-flag waving yokels on our hall.
We went to Kmart that first week to purchase stuff for the room. We bought an answering machine, some Christmas lights, and a Marilyn Monroe poster. Neither of us was a Marilyn Monroe fan. To this day I haven’t seen a Marilyn Monroe movie. I think we were Scotch-taping proof of our heterosexuality to the wall.
Sorry about walking in on you and your girlfriend that time. She shrieked and hid under the blanket and you sort of smiled.
By the way, remember that photo of a girl I said was my girlfriend in high school? She was just a friend. I didn’t have a girlfriend in high school.
I knew you had a brother and that something happened to him. You never talked about it and I never asked.
For a while, you didn’t talk to me at all. Like, for weeks. Wanting to figure out why, I flipped through that notebook you kept. It was mostly quotes, including this from a Soul Asylum song:
Bought a ticket for a runaway train/Like a madman laughin’ at the rain/Little out of touch, little insane/Just easier than dealing with the pain
I visited our dorm recently. That’s apparently a common thing middle-aged people do. I explained to the staff person that I wanted to see my room and he buzzed me in. I walked down the hall and stood in front of the door for a minute or so feeling silly and a little sad. I didn’t knock.
The towel has served me well. I used it when I was living alone in Manhattan right after college, and when I moved to North Carolina, Texas, New Mexico, Maryland, then back to Texas. I got married along the way and my wife has used the towel. Five years ago we had a son and he’s used the towel, too
It’s a cheap towel, not particularly fluffy or absorbent, but for nearly two decades it has done the job.
I haven’t heard from you since college and I can’t find you online. I hope you are OK. If you want the towel let me know where to send it. It’s in pretty decent shape, considering.
your former roommate,