Every so often in life, there comes along those special kindred spirits who are first impressions last an eternity.
“Okay, so who’s next?” I asked, turning towards my partner.
“Morgan Robinson,” he said. “Let’s hope she’s better than that last girl.”
“Yeah, those last two were not great,” I said. “I think they would make good additions to Alpha Phi Omega, but no one has been exceptional so far. The Spring 2018 pledge class might be lacking this year.”
I took a heavy sigh and looked at my watch. One more hour. My stomach rumbled. I looked around at the ten or so other tables of interviewing teams: two interviewers asking questions to one prospective new member at every table.
“Everyone quiet down please,” said the Recruitment Chair. “The next round is coming in.”
“Alright, Morgan, let’s see what you got,” I whispered to myself.
A line of people filed in one by one. My partner and I stood up to greet a thin, cool and confident Morgan who strutted towards our table.
“Oh my gosh I love your pants,” she said. I grinned.
“Are you kidding me? I was thinking the same thing about yours. Actually I love your entire outfit,” I responded.
It looked exactly like something I would wear: black and white plaid trouser pants with a solid black turtle neck, fitted closely to her athletic build and glasses with a tortoise shell frame. Clearly, a set of frames crafted by Warby Parker. She topped off the look with a simple necklace with a round “M”-engraved pendant. I admired it as she took her seat. Her smile glowed. And I still grinned too.
Ding, ding. I opened my eyes slowly, waking up from the voice of a man talking over the intercom: “Ladies and gentlemen, as we start our descent, please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full and upright position.”
I pushed the little silver button on the armrest next to me, bringing my seat straight up. I shuffled in my seat and yawned.
“Oh man, I can’t wait to stand up,” said the woman sitting next to me as she pushed her tray table into its full and upright position. I paused the music blasting through my headphones.
“I know right, nine hours on a plane is rough. I’m glad I was able to sleep a little bit though.”
“So, are you flying alone?” she said.
“Yeah. This is actually my first cross-country flight by myself.”
“Oh, that’s great! Are you visiting family?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I said. “You could say that.”
I pressed play to continue my music again and closed my eyes again. I wanted to fall back asleep but we only had another half hour before touch down. Plus, the butterflies in my stomach prevented me from falling asleep anyway.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Manchester Airport where the local time is 6:15 am. Please remain seated with your seat belt fastened until the Captain turns off the Fasten Seat Belt sign.”
After a nine-hour flight and months of careful planning, I couldn’t believe I finally touched down. When the plane came to a stop, I stood up to stretch my legs and yawn. I quickly reached for my suitcase from the overhead compartment. As I pulled it down recklessly, the man standing up in front of me gave me a hand to keep it from crashing to the floor.
“Woah, careful there,” he said.
I tapped my foot as the crowd filed off the plane slowly. At last, the single-file line down the aisle began to move. Slinging my backpack over my shoulder, I started off the plane. I hustled to the exit, following the signs to exit towards the bus stop. Everyone walking in front of me walked too slow, so I sped by.
Finally, I turned one final corner towards the exit.
On the other side of the railing, Morgan stood huddled in her winter jacket. Even though I hadn’t seen her for four months, her grin flashed familiarly back at me. I ran over to greet her with a much-awaited embrace, and as I did, my heart rate slowed for the first time in hours. When we finally let go of each other, I saw a simple circular pendant hanging from her neck.
“I always loved that necklace,” I said.