March 4, 2013 by Caroline Leland
How Not to Make a Friend
This is a story of how I almost threw up on a girl that hates me.
After waking up from a nap seven minutes before I needed to be on a bus to UNC, I realized I had left my wallet in my car— a 10-minute walk away. The bus leaves every hour on weekends, so it would not be okay to miss this one. As my wallet contains my bus pass and my money, I desperately tried to think who I could beg for the $2.50 fare.
I madly dashed from my room and down the halls of my dorm, banging on doors of friends who weren’t home. Two panicked minutes later I sprinted back down the way I had come, clutching a borrowed bus pass.
As I screeched around another corner, a neon-colored bulletin board on the wall suddenly brought me to a sliding halt. It was a landmark I used to find my friend Brenna’s room. And Brenna lived farther away than the friend from whom I had borrowed the bus pass. I was lost in my own dorm.
I groaned and then started running again, gaining speed down the long hallway as I reoriented myself in the maze that is Few Residence Hall.
Back in my room with only seconds to spare, I dumped my laptop into my backpack, slinging it over my shoulder as I leapt over my startled roommate and ran down the hall again. Down the stairs, out the door, across the quad, to the bus— just in time. I slumped in my seat, gasping for breath.
“Hi,” said a girl sitting across from me.
This girl hates me. I have no idea why. We met at an orientation program freshman year and barely spoke then, but our mutual friends have told me she hates me. I have no tolerance for petty drama so I have never bothered to investigate, but I generally try to be extra friendly around her to make up for her rumored dislike of me.
“Hi,” I said, smiling.
She looked back to her phone.
As my breathing slowed and the bus pulled away from the curb, I realized with dread that I felt deeply nauseated. I had woken up feeling a little sick this morning (thus the afternoon nap). The laps around my dorm had made the nausea much, much worse. I groaned and closed my eyes, trying to focus on something else. Every lurch of the bus was matched by a lurch of my stomach.
After a few minutes of this internal misery, I was distracted by the girl across the aisle whispering my name. She leaned toward me, holding out her phone for me to read something on the screen.
I turned and leaned back toward her. I have no idea what she said next because just then a wave of nausea overwhelmed me and I jumped up with both hands clamped over my mouth, the classic “I’m gonna be sick” move.
She recoiled, horrified as I leapt away.
I was vaguely headed in the direction of a trash can propped at the front of the bus, but luckily I didn’t have to go that far. I sat down hard on a chair near the trash can and focused on breathing slowly and evenly.
The girl was still watching me, the horrified expression frozen on her face.
“Sorry,” I mumbled. “Carsick.”
If she had somehow overcome her rumored aversion to me and had had just then been reaching out in friendship, wanting to start fresh and start building a lasting relationship, I had doubtlessly permanently reversed said decision.
I guess you can’t miss what you never had…