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Where He Parked

The double doors to the hallway were closed and locked. They always are after school, to reduce the chance of students wandering around. As I walked up, a young student was coming up from the other side, which was odd.

I opened the doors. He motioned as if he were going to walk through.

“Who are you looking for?” I asked.

He mumbled something about going outside.  

“You can go out those doors,” I said, pointing to the nearby exit.

He said something about his car. I asked if he was parked outside. He said yes. I asked if he was parked “over there”, pointing to the parking lot just outside. He looked confused and mumbled something about getting to his parked car so he could go home.

“Well come on,” I said. “I’ll walk with you.”

So I turned around, and we walked back into the math area, heading to the doors he seemed to want to go out.

He had just taken his final, it seemed. He was a freshman, I think. He had just enrolled in school that day, maybe. It was hard to figure out what he was saying, because his voice was so quiet, and he seemed frightened. (Wouldn’t you be if it was your first day on campus and you just got out of an after-school test and the building was dark?)

“Are you sure you’re parked out here?” I asked, pointing to the faculty lot.

He looked disoriented. 

“Did you park in front?” I think he was saying yes, but he was clearly confused.

“Come on,” I said. “I’ll walk with you.” I patted him on the shoulder.

We walked along the science wing in the grass. It was windy and cold, and he only had a short sleeved shirt. But it wasn’t far, and we rounded the corner quickly. 

“How about over there?” I asked. 

I think he said yes. Maybe he nodded. At least he had started to walk in that direction.

“Good to meet you, Victor,” I shouted after him.

“Good to meet you, too,” he said. 

It was the first thing I had clearly heard him say.