Orientation, or Freshers Week, was only three days. Naturally, Reno felt slighted.

Even so, Reno did his best to follow the other groups of first-years whenever he left his dorm; the orientation events themselves always gave him anxiety since, for some reason, it felt like going to confessional. At this point in the semester, there was only other freshman on campus. While that was a blessing since he wasn’t singled out if he became lost— an easy thing to do in a campus this large— it didn’t exactly help since sometimes when he went out, it felt like a ghost town with just the new students and skeleton crew of faculty and custodian members to populate the place. Several times, Reno left his dorm to try and go to an event only to find that he had no idea where to go.


Consequently, he spent a lot of time aimlessly wandering until he found a directional booth or someone from the support staff. Nevertheless, he prided himself on only missing a single unimportant orientation event.

For the most part, Eric and he were together throughout it all. Over the three days, they attended a variety of events— tours, informational lectures, seminars on alcohol abuse and consent, all that and the general jazz newly quasi-independent late teens are exposed to when they are leaving the den for the first time. The basic flow designed to hopefully keep the social chaos to the minimum. Eric deftly paid attention, sometimes making note of a particularly helpful detail. Reno, meanwhile, did his best to just get through it. He was more interested in classes starting.

For the most part, Reno got along with Eric. But, Reno knew that this was just the “honeymoon” period. The real test of whether or not they hated each other would come a couple months later.


“I exist. I existed. I am existing. Reno and Eric must have been like me long ago; an indistinct mesh of ill-fitting shapes that managed to gain sentience. Dramatic enough, sure, but that was why functioning alongside another kaleidoscope kid was so hard; you both were coming of age just when your angles seemed to be smoothing and that coming of age re-sharpened your edges.”

If Reno was honest, he didn’t know a whole lot about Eric. He knew that he was a Geology major and that he liked comic books. Other than that, Reno knew precious little about the person he was going to be sharing his abode with for the better part of the year. Eric’s family was pretty conservative but he himself was as apolitical as Reno ever saw going as far to avoid people who talked about politics. Reno didn’t know if he was religious.

Physically, Eric was nondescript. He had quite a few acne scars from his early teens and blond, bowl cut hair. His hair was the most distinctive part of his appearance. Other than that, though, nothing about his choice of clothes would make you think he was a hipster or cutting-edge or wanted to gentrify some Othered culture. Like many young people, he simply existed.

As Reno lied in bed on the final night of orientation, the next day the start of his first class as a newly minted college student, he wondered if he was truly cut out for college life. He thought he was— he knew he was smart, otherwise, he wouldn’t have earned that waiver. But, still… sometimes it nagged at him, the general anxiety. He didn’t want to disappoint his parents. He didn’t want some menial job. He wanted this, this life of the average college student, to fit in and party and study. Reno wanted it to be like in the movies.

He didn’t know it yet, but his college experience would be far from the movies. Still, it may be cinematic but it will be historical, dear reader.

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