“This is it,” I said, placing the last of the boxes on the empty bed in room 415. I heard my father sigh behind me.
“Are you sure that’s everything?” he asked, looking around the room. “It doesn’t look like enough.”
“I’m sure Daddy. It’s everything that I packed,” I told him, looking at the 15 boxes containing my life. Clothes, CDs, books, all of the possessions I had packed were there.
“Do you need help setting up your room?” my mother asked, looking around the room. “I could help you put things away and decorate.”
“I can help her set up,” a perky brunette answered, entering the room. I guessed her to be my roommate. “Hi, I’m Jo Briant. You must be Raine Monroe.”
“I am,” I replied, extending my hand to her. “It’s nice to meet you.” I looked to my parents, pleading silently with them to leave. My father caught on first.
“Come on dear. We need to give Raine her space,” he said, looking around the room. “Besides, we’ll see her for breakfast tomorrow.” He looked back to me and I nodded.
“Goodnight,” my mother said reluctantly, with tears already sprinkling her eyes.
“Night mom. Night dad,” I told them as they walked out the door.
“Now, time to celebrate,” my roommate said, pulling out two wine glasses.
“Celebrate?” I asked, watching her clink the glasses together as she sat them on the little bit of desk that was clear.
“Our parents finally being gone,” she replied, looking around. “At least your mother didn’t burst into tears on you.”
“She came close. There were tears in her eyes.”
“Did you bring anything to drink?” she asked, looking around the room. “I brought dishes, but no food or drink.”
“I don’t have anything. My parents are taking me grocery shopping tomorrow. We could always use water.”
“Or,” she said, reaching into her pocket. “We could try the vending machines.” She brought out a smattering of coins in her hand. “Are you game?”
I nodded and followed her out into the hall. We wandered to the right, looking into open rooms as we went. Girls were in various states of setting up their rooms. Some had families with them, others didn’t. Some were giggling, others were crying. We passed ten rooms before hitting a dead end. Jo promptly turned around and I continued to follow her, peering in the rooms again. This time, I was looking at the layouts to get ideas for our own room.
“Jackpot!” Jo shouted when we had passed another ten rooms. I looked ahead of her and saw the shiny coke machine waiting. We hurried up to it and Jo put in the correct change. She selected Dr. Pepper and it tumbled to the slot. “Does this work for you?” She asked, holding it out. I answered positively and we returned to the room once more.
She grabbed the glasses off the desk with one hand and opened the soda with the other hand. I watched as it fizzed out over her hand onto the carpet and she laughed, letting the cap drop to the ground. She poured the soda into the two glasses, letting it stream out as she moved it back and forth. When the glasses were full, she handed it to me. I held it very carefully, trying not to spill any of it.
“Here’s to starting over,” she said, raising her glass into the air, sending soda sloshing out.
“I’ll drink to that,” I replied, putting on a happy face. I had no idea how I was going to live with this girl for the entirety of my freshman year.