Go up in the tower.
Continue down 4 Main.
"So, it's Friday afternoon, 1994. Early in September. I'm looking forward to an afternoon lounging on the grass, smoking a little of it, then who knows that night? On my way back to my room, a young guy with blonde hair comes up to me. 'Scuse me. Do you know where ___'s room is? (I forgot the guy's name. Could care less about protecting the innocent)
"Sure," I say. It's right here. I take him to the guy's room, who wasn't in. The kid, whose name I later learn was A.J., was carrying a weekend bag with him.
"Do you want to toss you bag in my room while you wait for him?"
I had naturally assumed the kid was up from his own college, to visit Redstar's roommate.
"So, what brings you to Cornell?"
Answer: "I got tired of being treated like a robot. I'll show you some of my poetry. Then you'll understand."
Alarm bells start ringing in my brain.
It turns out that A.J. was 16 years old, and had just run away from boarding school. The kind of boarding school where you send troubled kids before they really fuck up and they have to go to Juvie hall.
He had met Redstar's roommate on a bus ride up to that school, told him his story. Redstar's roommate felt sad for the kid, exchanged info with the guy, the way you do when you say you're going to keep in touch with someone but never do. A.J. ran away from boarding school 2 weeks later, and showed up on this guy's doorstep without warning. So I split a bowl with the kid, listen to his god-awful poetry. Corbin comes back from class. Hears what's going on. "Dude, he's not staying here."
The kid spends the next three weeks in Risley, on various floors. He was charming, in a naive sort of way. I'm 16, and the world's my oyster. At least one girl hooked up with him, because, lets be honest, who doesn't want to hook up with a good-looking, naive 16-year-old?
He never saw people going to class or work. All he saw was kids hanging out after school and having fun. "This is college????!!! I'm going to stay here forever!" He tried getting a job sweeping up behind college bagels (back before it was college bagels, it was a bar). Finally, the guy in charge, Matt (before Dave), a tall queer guy with a blonde crew-cut who never tanned, just got red, said to him,
"Either you call your mom, or I will."
So he did. His mom hadn't heard from him in 3 weeks.
Mom drives up Sunday afternoon, as he's playing hackeysack on the front lawn
"A.J. Get in the car."
"In a second, Mom."
He showed up 3 years later. Married. About to go into the military.
And that is the story of A.J.
He of the bad 16 year old poetry."