For the past year, if you asked me, Andy, most of our friends, our parents, and on out, about college, we'd all make some sort of groaning noise, like uuuggghhhh. Obviously, the two of us had bigger things to consider about our futures, but even aside from wanting to put off anything that we could really mess up for each other, it's just such a pain, and both our parents and our friends with older siblings say it's more messed up than it was in their days, with Covid making campus visits and taking SATs and Achievements more of an effort, although they're apparently not so important for a lot of places.
Enough still look at them to be a pain, though. Andy says he wants to major in something like history or pre-law, and those aren't really things I'm going to test well for when I show up for the test with his driver's license; my ideas for my future are even more vague - I don't know if electrical engineering with a minor in theater is a thing you can do, but Andy's scores are not going to get me into a good program for that, no matter how terrific my essays are.
(We both can kind of write, but a lot of our teachers who had us for freshman and sophomore years raised eyebrows at the beginning of last year about how, while our homework assignments seemed the same, our in-person essay tests were odd, with "Andi" turning in better-structured arguments while "Andy" had regressed but had what they called "a livelier style" when I was writing but signing his name.)
Anyway, we talked about delaying, making plans to take a gap year, and I think that still may be the best idea, but Shawna, Cyndi, Len, and a few other people said that sounded nice, but also talked about how we were all planning to apply to some of the same schools and being roommates, and so didn't want us to be a year behind. And it's not like we want that either. So we're doing a lot of what we've been doing for the past year, trying to set things up so that we're acting normal and can jump back in when we switch back, although we're doing more to acknowledge that things can go wrong like our friends wouldn't believe and planning for that as well.
So in the meantime, we're kind of trying to split the middle or find some overlap. We visited a few in-state places the week before our senior year started, both state schools and others that have decent programs in science and what they call "the humanities", and nobody seems to think it's particularly weird if your twin tags along for every stop even if it doesn't seem to be their thing. Exceptions were made for the place that had separate boys' & girls' dorm buildings, rather than mixed ones, and it was kind of a relief that this was still kind of weird for us - we've been in and out of locker rooms and other spaces where there isn't much overlap, and they were mostly empty with just a few summer students hanging around before the next semester, but it was still something like 10% of the smell of a locker room permeating the entire floor.
All that makes it sound awful, but Andy and I were really excited! We met some cool people our age on the tours, there were real labs in the science departments as opposed to just a few things in the back of a classroom, a couple places had cool sports arenas, and okay, being in a boy's dorm was kind of weird, but the ones where there were co-ed floors seemed awesome. You've got your own place, but there's also the cafeteria and the quad and game rooms and quiet rooms and it all feels like yours. I mean, I love Mom & Dad & Andy, but especially for the last year-plus, we've had so much "you should be doing this!" even as they're supposedly trying to let go makes it feel really appealing.
Mom & Dad have also been pretty good about giving Andy and I some space on this sort of thing. Like, I know Dad wasn't really going to go to bed at 7pm while we were at the hotel back on the 18th, but just giving Andy and I some time to sort of hang out and talk about stuff that most folks were just pondering themselves but which we really couldn't. We weren't really super-serious about it - we had spotted a place that had weird Mexican ice cream flavors and decided to stop there before wandering around downtown, but we didn't wander long. It's partly my fault; back when I was shorter than him, I'd sort of developed a tendency to walk fast when we were together to keep up and I haven't quite shaken it, so he has to try and practically jog to keep up with me. Anyway, we wound up sitting by the hotel pool, crossing our fingers that nobody was going to show up and be weird.
I admit, I took off my shirt/socks/shoes and jumped in for a bit, because it was still hot even at 9pm. Andy didn't, but he'd conceded to the heat a bit with a tank top and shorts that didn't get close to his knees, and sat by the edge sticking his feet in. "You're going to miss going topless, aren't you?"
"Nah. I mean, a bikini's not that far off, and I do feel kind of naked like this, still. And, like, watching guys walking around between their dorm rooms with their shirts off and having conversations while one is at a urinal with the restroom doors open is a good reminder that you can take this sort of thing too far."
He stuck out his tongue. "Ew. Was I that gross?"
I shrugged. "Sometimes? I mean, you could be, but if the last year has shown me anything, it's that a lot of guys don't have sisters telling them something isn't cool."
"Well, sorry for what I did do." He laughed. "If it's any consolation, I think some of the girls on the floor I visited were sort of doing a skit where one ran into another's room wearing workout clothes and asked if she had a spare tampon, to show how on your own you were and that there was nobody around treating you like a kid. Worse actors than Shawna."
"Hey, not cool! I don't talk shit about Len!"
He didn't respond right away. "You can, if you want. I think that I'm going to break up with him before he can invite me to Homecoming." He paused again. "He's not a bad guy, but you know how he was trying to talk his way onto this trip, right, like he's got some sort of duty to scope out where his girlfriend might go to school?"
"I don't know that he thinks I'm going to hook up with someone while you're not looking or anything, but he whines whenever I'm doing something with Shawna where he's not invited, and had a lot of opinions about our classes for the fall, and, you know, always tries to sit a little bit closer."
"Duh, he's a guy. No offense."
"None taken, but I don't think I'd be like that, and not just because I've got you to slap me upside the head." I must have looked kind of concerned, because he backed off a bit. "Hey, I don't think he'd attack me or you or whatever, or try to make us do things we don't want to do, but he needs to learn some boundaries, and maybe it should be an actual girl teaching him. I dunno."
I pulled myself out of the pool and gave him a side hug. "Hey, it's okay, but I wish you'd told me. I know we've never done the 'defend your honor' thing, but we always stuck up for each other, even before this!"
He playfully pushed me away and irritably pulled at his top, trying to shake it dry so it wasn't clinging to his right boob where I got it wet without taking it off. "Cut that out!"
"Sorry." I scooted over and turned my head. "You're not worried he won't want to be friends with either of us if you do that?"
He shrugged. "Yeah, I am, but it's not like we're turning back before graduation, and after that, who knows when we'll see each other again after that? We may not even get accepted into the same places, so maybe we shouldn't worry about anything from high school carrying over."
I nodded, thinking of Shawna and Cyndi and a few other folks. "I guess."
It had gotten dark, so I tried to scrape as much water off me with my hands as I could and got dress so we could go back to our rooms. The next morning, Dad asked what we talked about and we told him the tampon story, and that was enough for him to look like he regretted asking.
Then, the next Monday, we started Senior Year, which so far is a lot like Junior Year with a little extra "hey, this might be our last..." to it.