Chapter 4 – Eighteen Years Old
I won’t say much about Benjamin Button’s life in his teenage years. They were normal years for a person who grows backwards. When Benjamin was eighteen, he looked about fifty. He had more hair and it was a dark gray. He walked confidently and his voice was strong and deep.
He decided it was time to enter university.
His father advised him to go to Connecticut State and take the entrance exam to Yale. Benjamin passed his exam and was accepted into the school.
He received a letter from the school. He had to meet with Mr. Hart, the university advisor, to arrange his class schedule.
On the day of the appointment, Benjamin looked in the mirror. He decided that he needed to dye his gray hair again, but he realized his bottle of brown dye was empty!
What a dilemma! His meeting was going to start soon. There was nothing he could do. He must go to the meeting with gray hair. He did.
“Good morning,” said the advisor politely. “Have “you come to talk about your son’s class schedule?”
“Actually, my name’s Button—” began Benjamin, but Mr. Hart cut him off.
“I’m very glad to meet you, Mr. Button. I’m expecting your son here any minute.”
“That’s me!” burst out Benjamin. “I’m a freshman. This will be my first year of university.“
“I’m a freshman.”
“Surely you’re joking.”
“Not at all.”
The advisor frowned and glanced at the paper he was holding. “Well, I have Mr. Benjamin Button’s age down here as eighteen.”
“That’s my age,” asserted Benjamin, blushing slightly.
The advisor eyed him. “Now surely, Mr. Button, you don’t expect me to believe that.”
Benjamin smiled nervously. “I am eighteen,” he repeated.
The advisor pointed at the door. “Get out,” he said. “Get out of this university and get out of town. You are a dangerous lunatic.”
“I am eighteen.”
Mr. Hart opened the door. “Nonsense!” he shouted. “A man of your age trying to enter here as a freshman. Eighteen years old, are you? Well, I’ll give you eighteen minutes to get out of town.”
Benjamin Button gathered his pride and walked out of the room with his chin high. Five or six freshmen were waiting in the hall and they followed him curiously with their eyes. After he took a few steps, he turned around and shouted, “I am eighteen years old!”
He left the school campus, but he couldn’t escape the embarrassment. On the way to the station, he glanced behind him and noticed a group of students following him. More and more students noticed and started following, too. The gossip had spread quickly: There was a crazy old man on campus pretending to be a teenager.
More and more students joined. Students ran out of their classrooms and football players abandoned their practice to join the crowd.
“Look at the old man trying to join college!”
“He thought this was a retirement home.”
“Is he here to pick up his grandson?”
Benjamin walked faster, and soon, he was running. No, he wouldn’t let those boys bully him. Instead of Yale, he would go to Harvard. Then, they would regret making fun of him.
Once he was safely on the train, he stuck his head out the window and yelled, “You’ll regret this!”
“Ha ha!” the students laughed. “Ha ha ha!”