Flash Fiction – Welcome to College

Being homesick was bad enough but college wasn’t shaping up to be what Billie Butler had bargained for. She had been to a few parties in high school so she wasn’t totally naïve about what would be happening. But for heaven’s sake, it was move-in day! She was still unpacking her things away.

Her roommate had disappeared approximately twenty minutes after her parents had left and Billie hadn’t seen her since. Or maybe she had and she just didn’t recognize her. It wasn’t like they were well acquainted.

Billie turned up the music from her laptop. The highest volume couldn’t drown out the party three doors down (and spilling into the hallway). She put her clothes in the dresser but there wasn’t enough space for everything she brought. Her mother had been right about needing hanging shelves for the closet. Billie put what wouldn’t fit into a duffel bag and shoved it under the bed.

Classes wouldn’t start for two days. Billie didn’t know what she’d do to pass the time in between. She hung posters and thought about how the orientation she attended two months earlier had failed to prepare her. Freshmen hadn’t been given their room assignments at that point so she didn’t know where to find anybody she’d met during those two days. She and her roommate hadn’t even been put in the same group.

One of her professors had emailed a syllabus ahead of schedule. Maybe she should study and get ahead? But then she realized it was one of the classes where she was still waiting for the book to come in. She’d look at the school store the next day to see if the price difference between ordering online and buying textbooks through the school was really as great as everyone said. She hated waiting and the feeling of being unprepared that she was experiencing.

After a few hours, everything she’d laid out on her bed had been put away or hung up and all that was left was an empty pile of plastic storage boxes. She would be going home in about two weeks. The noise level that seemed to seep from the very concrete walls of the building was making her nervous. She wasn’t comfortable with the idea of going outside until the next morning to put the boxes in her car.

The sweat and grime from moving was starting to annoy Billie. She grabbed her bathrobe and a few toiletries, careful not to forget the key to get back into her room. She crossed the hall to the communal bathroom and took a deep breath before stepping behind the double curtains that were the only things separating the shower from the rest of the bathroom.

As she stood washing the shampoo from her hair, she heard one of the partygoers stumble through the door and fumbling with the door to the toilet stall, pulling down one of the “Welcome to College” fliers, before the unmistakable sounds of hurling commenced.

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