Sorry if I’ve misspelled your name, Corey. I know you won’t mind, you’re too sweet to complain.
Corey had gotten off the bus at the Citgo where we got on. The Greyhound rule is to mark your seat with something when you get off so those getting on know which are the empty seats. Corey returned and squeezed by me into her worn space by the window. I’m sure we said hello and how are you, but the first thing I remember her saying is, “18 hours.” Eighteen hours on the bus and she couldn’t sleep the whole night. Her parents recently divorced, and she was moving back from her mom’s place in Kentucky to North Carolina to be with her dad. She’s going to be a senior in high school, and this summer she’s starting all over. “I’m worried about getting a job and having to meet people,” she later told me. She never said why she was changing places, but it doesn’t matter because she is, so she’s more worried about the whats of it all than the whys.
Whatever happens, I told her, please work hard senior year fall semester. It’s so much easier to slide out the spring if you had a strong fall semester. “Well, I always do better in the fall,” she said, “because when the spring comes things are harder and more complicated.” Besides, I told her, in the spring of senior year you have so much going on, with prom, graduation and all that. She said she wasn’t going to bother with prom, because she went as a Junior this past spring already. I showed her a couple prom pictures of students of mine, including one whose dress I helped buy, and Corey liked them very much. Then she showed me a couple pictures of her own prom. She was proud that she spent only twenty dollars on the dress, which she bought new at a store, and it looked great. But the experience was tough for her. She intended to go to prom with her girlfriend, but they broke up. So she got into a group that rented a limo and went by herself. I asked if her friend bugged her at the prom. “She asked me to dance, but I turned her down.” Her tone was firm with that one, which betrayed a strong side to her. Glad to see it.
We talked music a bit. She likes country, I don’t. But my wife does. My phone had Cheryl Crow listed as country, which is ridiculous, so I tried to log on to Pandora to find her some country music. Didn’t work, so I fell back on my phone’s Xbox music store, which has a “DJ” function to find music. Corey told me to look up Scotty McCreery (? I think ?), and when I found it she was excited. “Play that one!” It took a while to load, and then the DJ thing got hung up until Corey told me that the bus has wifi. Much better, and off she went into Country music land on her headphones off my phone. At the end of each song, she gave thumbs up or down for the next one, and it seemed to make her very happy.
Corey’s family has many kids. She is the second to oldest, which means a lot of her family situation falls on her (my words not hers). It’s a big step she is taking, similar, I told her, to what my daughter did in moving with me from her mom’s house during her Junior year. I truly wish Corey well. I wish her a happy summer, and I hope she works hard and does great Senior year fall so that the spring is easy and happy. Maybe she will meet someone who makes her happy and go to prom again. I’m sure she’ll find a nice dress that doesn’t cost too much, also. Go Corey!