Taylor comes home from work to find the room a complete mess. The floor is littered with red solo cups, dirty clothes, and papers from one of the two desks that occupy the room. Her roommate, Ashley, is face-up on the bottom bunk.
“Ashley,” Taylor says, “are you awake?”
Ashley doesn’t respond; she steps closer, intending to wake up the passed out college student. That’s when Taylor notices her shirt is wet and smells of alcohol. Taylor shakes Ashley, calls her name, but there is no response.
“Ashley! Ashley!” Again, no response- Ashley’s eyes are closed, and her breathing is slow and constant. Taylor spins around- panic settling in. Shakespeare’s Literature by Professor Highland starts in one hour, and it’s a class both she and Ashley share. It also takes at least five minutes to get across campus to this class. What can she do? Prof. Highland doesn’t like students who are late. What is she supposed to do?
I need to get ready, at least, Taylor thinks and wades through the trash to get to her dresser. She opens the drawer and pulls out a pair of jeans and a hooded sweatshirt. It’s not the most fashionable, the jeans are stained and torn, and the logo on the sweatshirt is fading, but it’ll do.
Taylor rushes out of her dorm room and down the hall to the community bathroom. She tries the door, but it’s locked; behind it, she can hear the sounds of two people having sex.
She groans and rubs her nose with two fingers, suddenly tense. Taylor wracks her brain, thinking- there’s a bathroom located in the senior quarters on the second floor. Okay, she can do this. How much time does she have?
Thirty minutes, twenty when factoring in travel time.
“Fine,” Taylor runs a hand through her short blonde hair, grumbles, and takes off running, down the hall, to the common room. She passes a couple of sophomores sitting on the couches, textbooks in hand. They chuckle as she flies by towards the set of stairs. She rolls her eyes and takes the steps two at the time. When she gets up them, she can hear a radio blasting cheesy pop songs and cheering.
What’s there to celebrate?
She could care less, as long as the bathroom is open. Unfortunately, it’s down the hall to the right, past all the noise of seniors throwing a party.
Fifteen minutes- she definitely doesn’t have time to care. Again, she runs down the hallway past open doors and shouts of Chug! Chug! Chug! reach her ears. Taylor travels quickly, like a shadow, and gets to the bathroom without a single disturbance.
Thankfully, it’s unlocked. Taylor slips in, throws off her work uniform, slips into the clothes, and faces the mirror. She pauses, takes a deep breath, and faces the blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl with dark circles under her eyes and tense shoulders. She doesn’t have time to do her makeup, but does it matter? There’s no one she’s trying to impress. Every day, the thoughts cross her mind; between working a part-time job and going to college full-time, she barely has time for herself, let alone another person. Besides, relationships can be so demanding- especially in college, where the gossip mills run as wild as a snake in the Sahara. In the pocket of her jeans, her phone alarm goes off, alerting her to the fact that the class starts in five minutes. Taylor will make it- if she runs.
She sprints down the hallway- practically jumps the stairs, and flies out the door.
There, standing outside the exit of the dorms is Ashley. She’s dressed in a similar outfit as Taylor, but wears heavy makeup and is carrying a purse. Impatiently, she’s tapping a heeled boot and spinning a set of keys to the motorcycle parked on the street.
“Taylor, come on! We don’t have much time!”
“Seriously?” Taylor says breathlessly and follows her roommate, who somehow manages to run in heels, to the motorcycle. Ashley throws her a helmet, which she barely manages to catch, throws on her own, then hops on the cycle, patting the seat behind her.
A dozen thoughts go through Taylor’s head as they speed towards their class. One, in particular, stands out:
Since when did Ashely own a motorcycle?