February 14, 2019
Homeschooler “Leaves the House for the First Time” and Meets the Love of her Life
Burgundy Bug and XtaSeay holding handsSource: Plant Pals | Penelope Peru Photography P³
The following is a short essay written in Dec 2018 detailing the night I met my partner, XtaSeay.
Being a “homeschooler” means something a little different to just about everyone who was homeschooled.
Some of us spent our entire K-12 education with our mom or dad at the kitchen table with a stack of books, while others were only homeschooled for a portion of their education. It’s also not uncommon to hear of home education students who still participated in clubs, sports, dances, or even attended classes part-time at their local public schools.
Without failure, “Who taught you?” is always one of the first questions I get asked upon telling folks that I was homeschooled from sixth grade onward due to stress-induced vertigo. While most of my friends who were also homeschooled had attended part-time classes or enrolled in an online charter school, this wasn’t the case for me.
My mother oversaw my education, which consisted of subjects that fascinated me on top of the state-required curriculum. Thanks to my interests in pre-calculus, psychology, and computer science, among other things, I was able graduate two years early.
In an inexplicable rush to grow up at 16 years old, I attended the orientation at my community college by myself. I fully expected to be the runt of the liter. To my understanding, community college was “for grown ups”; mothers going back to school to finish their degrees, part-time working-class students, and undecided 20 year olds.
As I looked around the room, I was shocked to find the auditorium swarmed with students just like me – fellow homeschoolers, dually enrolled students, kids fresh out of highschool – all sitting side-by-side with their parents. If anything, it felt more like I was going into the 13th grade opposed to my freshman year of college.
Just before the speakers arrived on stage, the silhouette of a young man in an “artist’s hat” ca
tught my eye. Impressed by the formality of his outfit – contrasting with the rest of the upcoming student body – and intrigued by his Cafe-au-lait beauty mark, I knew I had to speak to him.
As they divided the audience into groups mentored by tour guides, I sat with my fingers crossed behind my back and practically tapped a hole through the ground.
“Please,” begging towards the heavens began within my head. “Please let us get grouped together.”
By a stroke of luck, the universe took kindly to my request. There, this mysterious young man stood, leaned against the wall with one leg up.
“He’s… beautiful,” the thought almost slipped between the parting of my lips. Butterflies swarmed within my stomach and tickled my knees. I couldn’t speak to him just yet. I needed to gather myself.
Our tour guide attempted to break the ice among us with a game of “conversation bingo” yet I still didn’t feel ready. I practiced socializing with others among our group until I felt I had enough control over my tongue to approach the boy with the beauty mark.
After writing each other down on our bingo boards for “wearing cool socks today” and neither of us winning, we began touring the school.
“I like your hat,” the shaky words sounded foreign, spewing from my mouth an entire octave higher than my regular speaking voice, “Are you an artist?”
“I’m actually a musician,” laughed the young man, flashing a million dollar smile. “I’m majoring in Multimedia.”
I proceeded to ask him about his favorite music and biggest inspirations. Every time we brushed shoulders, I secretly hoped he would take the bold leap of interlocking his fingers with mine. I couldn’t risk losing this connection. I absolutely had to get his number.
“Umm,” I began again in that awfully high pitch, “I-I know we just met, and this might be kinda weird ’cause we’re strangers, but do you wanna exchange numbers?”
“We’re all strangers at some point,” he reassured me as he melted my heart with another one of those smiles. The jaw of the boy behind us – who had attempted to cut into our conversation multiple times prior – dropped.
We parted ways, but not before he tapped my shoulder to say goodbye one last time, with his father visible out of the corner of my eye. According to the young man with the artist’s hat, his father joked about his son getting a girl’s number before the semester even began.
“Our homeschooled daughter leaves the house for the first time and brings home a boyfriend,” my parents often joke.
Over a year later, him and I have been living together since our second semester. We’re practically inseparable.
Although I only attended my orientation because I mistakenly thought it was mandatory, it was among one of the best decisions I had ever made. I encourage anyone going into their freshman year of college to attend theirs. You never know who you might meet.
Burgundy Bug and XtaSeaySource: Maddie LeMarquand
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