CREDOS-Through the woods — I

In youth we learn;

in age we understand.

—Marie Ebner-Eschenbach

I remember running through the woods. My blue silk dress was getting caught in the brush as we made our way from the dance hall to the parking lot. Through the trees, I could see my father’s car racing up the school driveway.

I pulled off my shoes, which kept getting stuck

in the damp spring ground, and Billy (the name I

will use here) held my hand to steady me. Then we ran the remaining distance to his car.

I didn’t start crying until we reached the main road and was certain my father hadn’t followed us. Billy lit a cigarette and shook his head.

Neither of us could believe the night had taken such a wrong turn, that my senior prom had spiraled into a disaster that was, we knew, only just beginning.

It was a right of passage in the 1980s, getting a string of hotel rooms after prom. It was understood that we had all lied about where we would stay that night, that we would dance and drink and party together, sleep four to a bed then get up, go home, and face the last summer before college.

But my story was not that of the typical graduating senior, and how this night landed me in college still amazes me over twenty years later.

I met Billy the summer before my junior year. He was beautiful and irreverent and the attraction was as instantaneous as my parents’ concern.

They had high hopes for me to attend an Ivy League school. I was the straight A high performer, the competitive figure skater who had just given up the sport to pursue my education. I had two years to fill out my already glorious resume, ace the SATs and fulfill my destiny. —