I remember these images: hugging him goodbye in his dorm, snapping a photo of Sterling as she watched him register for his parking pass and entry codes, laughing as Aleksandra applied a Cedarville logo to his car... and then I remember the quiet drive away from that campus.
Stunned. Time has never felt fast to me, but the clarity of this moment is intense like a lightening strike. Flash... and gone.
Earlier in the day we stood in the bookstore for the fourth time. We'd walked and driven in circles for the past three hours, trying to figure out what to do next as we collectively remained calm and privately fought panic in our minds. Surely Caleb was the most sane of us all.
When Kellie asked him if he was "ok", he said something to the effect that, "the only thing that makes me nervous is all of you." I smiled. He was going to be just fine.
And then there was me. Something inside of me decided that I needed a Cedarville shirt. Not just the "Cedarville Dad" shirt that was on sale for $9.99, I mean seriously... are all Dad's cheapskates? I decided I'd look like a dork. And so I ventered over to the student apparel.
There has been a phenomenon that occurred since I went to college. Sizes shrank to "skinny" and materials changed from cotton to some nasty poly blend that is called, "wicking." Hello universe... polyester is cheap, we're all getting ripped off. Wicking only means that your sweat can't escape!
But I stood with three options and I squeezed into the first. It was too small. I had a t-shirt on underneath so I just grabbed the shirt tail and pulled up. The wicking shirt unexpectedly held onto my trusty cotton t-shirt and there I stood with my hands over my head and my chest exposed to my neck. I was inexplicably bound, both unable to remove the shirt or roll it back down.
To my horror... I looked up to see no less than thirty students, parents, and bookstore staff all staring at me in shock. There I stood... flashing them all. In desperation, I said to Kellie and Aleksandra, "Help me" because I was dreadfully stuck. I did a 360 so my back was to the audience as they rolled the shirt down my body and then helped me escape from its wicking clutches.
You should have seen the sideways glances when I approached the counter to purchase a hooded shirt... one size larger. I'm not a pot-bellied Dad, but I'm not a waif student either! I might have muttered, "sorry about the show" as I was handed my receipt.
Well... Caleb, I hope things are going well for you. I also hope my picture isn't posted along with the Campus Security warnings. Next time I visit, I plan to try on some pants.