I suppose I could live by myself, but the thing is, even though I’ve been a self-proclaimed hermit my whole life, being alone right now scares me. Living with Ana lets me concentrate on my studies and my novel, yet whenever I need a break and a chance to escape from my head, she’s right there, ready for a laugh or a lecture on how to prepare for the apocalypse.
At the moment though, she’s at her beauty school and I have to shower and change and get ready for my writing class. When she’s not here, I can usually get out the door in ten minutes. If she’s here, I usually end up being sucked into a random conversation about pickles or rifles or uncircumcised penises (all of which came up over breakfast this morning).
When I’m done in the shower, I pull on some leggings, a long grey sweater that covers my ass (which hasn’t shrunk from my running like I thought it would), and slick on just enough makeup to say I tried, then pull my wet hair back into a bun, put on my glasses, and head out the door.
I have a car, a Mini Cooper (a high school graduation present from my parents), and though I don’t drive to school often because I feel like a douche, today I’m running late so I’m zipping over, hoping I’ll be able to find a parking spot near the classroom. That’s one of the reasons I don’t drive—the time it takes to find a spot is about the same amount of time to take the bus, plus on the bus you’re staying green, and it’s a great excuse to listen to music and people watch. I think most of my best characters have come from dealing with Victoria’s public transportation system.
Thankfully, I find a parking spot right by the building. My teacher, Professor Marie Dumas, may be carefree and encouraging and all sorts of weird (which I personally love), but she’s a stickler for tardiness and academic excellence. When you’re late, or you half-ass an assignment, she takes it personally. I’ve seen her tear up over giving a low grade before. But Writing Fiction 200 is one of my favorite classes and I give it everything I’ve got. After all, the writing program is my future, and a way to still get an education and my parents off my back while doing what I love. It’s like a piggy bank for my dreams, ensuring that no matter what happens in my future, I’ll always have this to back me up. It’s a reminder that I’ve fought to stay true to myself, even if my life doesn’t go to plan.
After I park and run into the building, I pass my classmate Ali on the stairs, though she’s running away from class instead of going to it.
“Where are you going?” I ask her.
She pauses on the stairwell and gives me a sharp look under her razor-cut bangs. “I’m not feeling well,” she says, even though she sounds more pissed off than sick.
I watch her go and then shrug to myself before reaching the top of the stairs. My friend Rio is hanging outside the door to class texting someone, leaning against the wall and twirling her curly dark hair around her finger like someone out of a John Hughes film.
“Thought you weren’t going to show,” she says as I approach, snapping her gum between her teeth. “I just texted you.”
I pull my phone out of my suede saddle bag and glance at the text blazing on it.
Where you at? We’re getting our final assignment today. Also, I lost my bra last night so I’m wearing Saran Wrap instead.
You’d think I’d be shocked by a text like this but not when it comes to Rio. I glance up at her, my gaze going directly to her boobs. “Uh, what?”
“She’s giving us our final assignment.”
“Yeah, but more about the Saran Wrap in place of a bra…” I point out.