It was the night before it was all going to change and I laid there thinking of everything that had happened over the last year to get to this moment. I knew that sleep wasn’t going to come easy tonight if at all. I turned to face the wall and closed my eyes, but the gut wrenching anticipation wasn’t going anywhere, so I shifted and turned in the hope of finding a comfortable position, finally sitting up and checking the time on my phone; 2:46am, “great” I thought. “Moving in to my dorm tomorrow and along with the anticipation, hesitation and fear I’m going to be super tired”. I glanced over at the boxes I had packed to take with me, and for the third time that night anxiety hit me that I hadn’t packed everything that I needed, so against better judgement I got up and starting rummaging through; mentally listing off the likely things I would need and the things I knew I would need.
“Bedding… check, laptop and charger… check, make-up… check”, the list continued, pointlessly I knew. I had already done it twice that night and my mother and sister had helped me pack so I had everything, but I couldn’t stop myself from running through everything in my head, over and over.
When I finally got back into bed, the time on my phone flashed 4:12am and that added to my list of concerns. Was I ever going to get any sleep before tomorrow? We were leaving at 8 in the morning to get to Penn State early, so I could get settled before the mass rush of students arrived and the chaos began. I turned on my side and forced my eyes shut, thinking over how things have been over the last few years and what awaited me over the next three years.
I woke to my alarm buzzing 7am and sighed slightly, “at least I managed some sleep” I said with some relief. The morning routine was somewhat difficult this morning, I had only left myself minimal toiletries and make-up out and had overlooked the fact that I would need my robe after showering, but, I glanced over at the pile of boxes, I was not going to start going through all of them; after all I didn’t even know which box it might be in.
After showering and applying basic make-up, I pulled my hair back and tied it into a messy braid; I was way too tired to put the effort in and with all the other things I was worrying about, this was very low on the list, although, later I wished that I had taken the time.
After dressing in a purple vest top, with a loose fitting black T-shirt over it and black skinny jeans, I walked through the house to the kitchen, where my mother had made coffee and was quietly listening the radio as she turned pancakes. I took a seat at the table and poured myself a cup of coffee. My mother turned at that point, “oh good, you’re up…” she glanced at what I was wearing, and my hair and raised an eyebrow; “Is that what you’re going with?” she asked with the hint of a smirk on her face and a chuckle in her voice. “Yeah” I replied, monotoned “way too tired to care that much and have other things to concern myself with; like everything”. She came over to me and handed me a plate with three chocolate chip pancakes, then sat down at the end of the table and poured herself a cup of coffee. “Make sure you eat something. I know you don’t like eating in the mornings, but you are going to need the energy and it will help with the butterflies”, I glanced at the pancakes, then to her, “okay I’ll try”. It was at that point that my sister bounced into the kitchen, full of giddiness and immaculate, as she always was; “Ryelle!” she exclaimed “You can’t wear that on your first day of university, you need to make an impression, and what’s with your hair?”. Exasperated, I replied, without turning to her “What’s wrong with this? And I will make an impression-“ she stopped me before I could finish, “yeah, a homeless girl has wandered on to the campus. At this our mother laughed from inside the rim of her cup, but said nothing. “Urgh, I don’t have time to go through my boxes to find the perfect outfit, besides it’s only moving in day, it’s not like I start classes today”, I knew this defence was pointless and would get me nowhere, but to my surprise, the response was only “let me at least fix your hair for you, can’t have my little sis’ going to university with bad hair, plus It will be my last chance to do it for you for ages…” she trailed off as she finished saying it. She moved to behind where I was sitting and began working out the braids I had hastily tied and neatened them and clipped them when needed. “Thanks Dani” I said, turning to face her as she finished. “No problem”, and she wandered out of the kitchen.
I finished as much of the pancakes as I could and was just downing my coffee when a thought dawned on me. “Mom?” I said quizzically, “Why is Dani up so early on a Saturday? She doesn’t have work or anything.” My mother glanced up from the newspaper she was holding, “Oh I forgot to tell you, your sister is going to come with us to see you in to your new home”.
My eyes widened with shock, like a deer in headlights, “She’s what!?”