West End

imagesI was 18 years old in 2008, the year I spent at Virginia Tech in the most exciting/fun/confusing/heartbreaking phase of the quarter century I’ve been alive. Man, I miss it.

I’ve written several times that long distance relationships can work, it just requires an extraordinary amount of love. I really believe that. In the same vein, there isn’t a doubt in my mind I could have made VT work; it just would have required an extraordinary commitment that I clearly was not prepared for at that age.

That’s what may get lost in translation with me: in the end I came home, and fell out of love, which seems to reflect the theory that long distance relationships don’t work, that I wasn’t mature enough to handle being 3,000 miles away from home. The thought of eventually going to school on the east coast was very normal to me. It was my dream since I was 9 or 10 years old. What I wasn’t ready for was not being in Virginia; it was dealing with the emotional consequences of falling in love two months prior to getting there.

That was seven years ago. The more time goes the more I think of how much of a kid I was then, how unbelievable it is that I spent so much time out there. It probably doesn’t help my cause that I’ve grown disenchanted with college in general — now viewing it more as a major sham — but I never regret going to Virginia Tech. I only regret my 18 year-old mind and the thought process it chose to operate under.

West End was right across the road from my dorm room at West AJ, and it was the best of on-campus dining. Within one structure there were, like, five different restaurants. So if I wanted pizza, a cheeseburger, some steak, I could get it whenever I wanted. My friends and I — a group of maybe 5 of 6 — regularly ate dinner there before my depression sapped my appetite and I lost 30 pounds. As freshmen, we were all in the same boat.

I don’t remember what we used to talk about, but it was generally a very happy time.

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