I had just moved into my dormitory room. I was looking around and noticing my roommate’s things didn’t look like stuff she would have. Too much, too girly. I’d also just read a flyer about a tree-planting social in the courtyard but for some reason avoided it, knowing that I’d regret missing it.
I was pulling smiley nightlights out of my bag or box and putting them on the bed when a friend arrived with my birthday present — a pumpkin smiley nightlight. I was hoping she didn’t notice the others, although I kept thinking that my birthday really couldn’t be at this time of year. More girls burst in, and one insisted on making my bed, although she mixed together my flowered sheets with hideous grey-striped ones that matched the ugly mattress, despite the fact I told her I had sheets and a bedspread. She covered the bed with an ugly red blanket, so I had layers of blankets and sheets although I like to sleep with nothing over me when possible, or very little.
I discussed the mystery of the roommate with the friend, who agreed that it didn’t look like my roommate’s things — then I realised I may not have remembered to ask for her as a roommate. I also noticed I’d forgotten hangers. And that there was a curved wooden bar with mismatched wooden chairs.
Just then I heard my parents say something, the girls in the room laughed derisively and whatever it was they’d said, and then I saw them walking away, my dad in sock feet and shorts! They were so unlike anyone else’s parents.
Then I woke up, wondering and not knowing if my mother had ever traveled beyond central Pennsylvania and western New York.