"Dorm 8" I read aloud I struggle with the lock for a few seconds before managing to get through the door. I look around and familiarize myself with my new home for the next nine months. It was bigger than I expected but smaller than what I am used to. The dorm didn't seem to appear as a dorm rather as a very small apartment. It had a small living area that consisted of a long couch and a small sofa facing a small tv. A kitchen if you could consider it one. There was no stove which thinking of makes sense. With college students partying and getting drunk I wouldn't want a stove in their hands either. There was only a counter under the cabinets which was perfect for me. It gave me access to them I wouldn't have to buy a stepladder when I could just climb. I guess due to the lack of ability to heat the food they put it in a microwave. There was also a mini-fridge.
The bathroom was in a concerning condition. You could see the mold growing in the corners. But other than the growing bacteria that will probably kill me in my sleep it was fine. The space that mainly took up the place was two rooms. As I checked both of the rooms I decided to claim the smaller one. I have never been a fan of huge spaces I wouldn't know what to with it.
I dropped my luggage onto the twin-sized bed and began unpacking. This would be my first time being away from home I'm relieved that I'll finally have some privacy. No parents to pester me, no siblings to annoy me. Just me, myself, and I. After putting away most of my stuff into the small dresser that was in the room, I kicked my suitcase under the bed leaving only some private essentials that I don't want in the open. My movements stopped when I hear the jingle of keys and the sound of the main door opening. I feel my stomach turn.
"Quit that you knew you were gonna have a roommate so you've already prepared yourself for it so deal with it. You just have to get used to living with a stranger for a year'' I whispered to myself looking at the door praying he doesn't come into this room. Of course, God has other plans than answering my prayers. I watched the knob turn and a guy walks in.
"Oh hi I'm Jayden looks like we're gonna be roommates" the guy-er Jayden sticks out his fist a common greeting amongst guys that I have failed throughout my life to return I hesitantly bump it making the whole situation now awkward and proving my point. "And you are..."
"Oh um my name is uhh... shit'' I stammer and his eyes widened a bit. God, I'm weirding him out. Damn it what was my name again.
"Joshua?" He raises an eyebrow at my answer. "Are you asking me what your name is?" He says sounding rather amused.
"No, I know what my name is, it's Joshua sorry bout that" He nods and says how it was nice meeting me and leaves to the other room leaving me in the disaster that is well me. Locking my door silently thanking the school for putting one I take out the suitcase I had just kicked under my bed and began looking through it. As I felt my fingers brush along the familiar plastic I curl them around the object pulling it out. It was a baby blue pacifier with glitter on it and my name spelled out in tiny blocks. Shoving it into my mouth I began suckling on the silicone piece silently sighing as my nerves washed away. If any guy my age were to walk in I'm sure they would be weirded out, disgusted even. And I wouldn't blame them. Guys my age aren't supposed to find comfort in pacifiers. But using it brought a sense of serenity that managed to calm my nerves than anything I've ever known. The more I used it the smaller I felt. Reaching back into the suitcase I pulled Dumbo my small grey-stuffed elephant. I pulled it close cuddling it. Liking the way the soft material touched my skin. Something the way small objects that were meant for little kids always brought a sense of peace that no other hobby or meditation session could. I smiled to myself cuddling Dumbo even more squishing the poor thing as I hid in a small corner between the bed and wall. I was so deep in my mind I almost didn't hear the knocking at my door.
"Hey I'm gonna order some pizza do you want any?" I felt my heartbeat increasing as I spit out the paci and hide Dumbo. I yanked myself out of my headspace and tried to calm myself down. The door was locked he couldn't come in anyway.
"Uh yeah sure that sounds awesome" I cringed at the pitch of my voice. Puberty wasn't kind to me. Rather than making my voice deep and manly, it left me in a state that I wasn't speaking as if I was on helium like little kids tend to sound but it also didn't sound the same as other guys my age.
"Great do you want any toppings or anything?" he asks through the door.
"Um, no thanks just regular for me" I replied as I paced around my room counting down from ten it calmed me down enough to open the door and face him. He greeted me with a smile and asked if I wanted to watch some movies with him. Saying that way we get to know each other but I declined and said some other time.
"Alright I'll hold you to it" he walked away making the phone call to place the order and I went to the bathroom. Splashing cold water in my face helped stop the headache I felt was coming. I looked in the mirror and saw myself looking back. I stayed there for maybe a minute just staring at myself.
Not only was my personality weird but so was my appearance. My hair that resembled my mother's being black and wavy was tangled into knots from the lack of brushing. I had freckles littered across my face both of which my parents didn't seem to have. It made me question where I even got them from. I had blue eyes like most of my family but instead of it shining bright like my sisters they appeared dull and washed over. The one good thing I could say about my face was my shape. It was normal in the fact of not being too round and not being too square. I had a visible jawline and all the fatness in my cheeks that I had to deal with in high school were gone.
My mini staring contest with my reflection was cut short when I felt a vibration on my thigh. Reaching into my pocket I pull out my phone and answer. "Hello"
"Hey Joshie, how is everything you are doing fine right you know all you have to do is call and I'll be right there — stop smothering the kid that's why he's is the way he is you need to let go, woman"
"Hi mom everything is fine I met my roommate he seems cool and I finished unpacking." I walked around messing with the hem of my shirt. My mother has always been overprotective of me. My dad on the other hand doesn't even spare a glance at me. I could care less my mother provides enough love to fill in his place.
"Oh that's wonderful sweetheart, I know school starts tomorrow so make sure to get a good night's rest, and don't forget your appointment this Thursday alright," she says reminding me of my weekly appointment as if I'd forget.
"I know mom I'll talk to you tomorrow I'm gonna — is that Joshie I wanna speak with him" I was interrupted by the voice of my little sister.
"Joshie guess what!" Jessie is my polar opposite. She got more of Dad's genes than I did. She had curly red hair and green eyes that lit up like Christmas lights and she was extremely loud and hyper.
"What?" I reply with amusement.
"My birthday is in two days!" I could hear the thumping through the phone and can only imagine that she was jumping up and down which became a habit of hers when she learned how to walk.
"Really? But I thought your birthday was next year?" I hear giggling on the other side which brought a small smile to my face
"Joshie my birthday is every year, I'm gonna be six years old mommy says I'm a big girl now soon I'll be your age"
"Sorry, but you'll never be my age I'll always be 12 years older than you" I hear a grunt on the other side and some chatter that I couldn't quite pick up.
"Mommy says I have to say bye so bye" I then hear my mom's voice telling me bye and re-reminding me about the appointment.
"Hey pizza's here" Jayden calls. I hang up exiting the bathroom my nose filling up with the smell of hot pizza.
"Thanks, how much do I owe you?" I say grabbing a slice taking a bite before spitting it out and burning my tongue.
"Careful it's hot and you don't owe me anything consider it an apology that you got me as a roommate" he took a slice and ate it with no problem despite it being hot.
"Why do you need to apologize?" I asked and took another bite slowly enjoying the taste I feel like I haven't had pizza in so long.
"Well I have some friends who can be pretty loud and they like to come over even when they aren't invited, my roommate from last year didn't like that and ended up moving into a different dorm," he says looking ashamed as he reached for another slice.
"I don't mind, I have a lot of siblings so I'm used to loud"
"Really you look like the type who wouldn't like loud noises" I tilt my head in confusion what does that mean?
"I don't know you just have this look" I mean he's not wrong I don't like loud noises they give me headaches and scare me to death but with loud noises in every corner of my home, I just got used to them.
"You said you had a roommate last year so that means you're not a freshman right?" I asked and he nodded.
"This is my third year what bout you?"
"It's my first'' I cringed slightly as my voice cracked I suddenly feel like a high school freshman encountering a senior. He then wrapped an arm around me.
"Aww don't worry freshie just stick by me and everything will be alright"