Even though I loved having Leo home, it was so pitiful to see my baby looking so sick. When he was finally well enough that even I couldn’t disagree, my husband and I drove him back to school.
When I look back at that time, I can clearly see that there were massive, sudden changes in Leo right after he went back to college after recovering from mononucleosis.
When he would call home, he started talking about all these new friends he had made that were in a fraternity, and how he wanted to pledge next semester. He said he’d gotten really into working out and was going to the gym with the frat guys almost every day.
I didn’t know what to make of it since it was so unlike Leo. Our younger son Drew was always the athletic one when the boys were growing up, and Leo was the sensitive, artistic soul.
But it sounded like it was all going well for Leo, and it was good for him to be getting so interested in his health and being active. And of course, I was happy he was making lots of new friends and having success socially, even though it felt odd that there were all these new people in my son’s life that I didn’t know.
When Leo came home for the winter holidays, that was the first time he introduced us to Makayla. He had told us about her over the phone, saying there was a girl he really liked that was in one of the sororities, and he had met her at a frat party. I was glad his confidence was up, and that he was finally telling me about a girl he was interested in.
Makayla was not what I would have expected out of a girl for Leo to date. She had a dark spray tan, acrylic nails, carefully ripped jeans, and long, stick straight bleach blonde hair. She was definitely pretty, in high maintenance, overly-manicured way. She was polite to my husband and me, but I could tell she was uncomfortable and impatient, just wanting to get Leo alone.
She was also quite thin and fit, and very regimented about her workouts. She worked out twice a day, every day she stayed with us. She and Leo would go for runs, do workout videos from her laptop, or lift weights in the backyard. I thought I had figured out Leo’s sudden obsession with fitness; all along I thought he was trying to keep up with the guys in the fraternity, but really he was probably doing it mostly for Makayla.
Leo changed in a lot of other ways too, though. I should have seen some of the warning signs, but it all happened so quickly, and I didn’t know the extent of what Leo was going through. I will talk about the other changes I saw in Leo in my next post.