“Thought she’d be here,” Dad says as we enter my room.
“Who?” I ask.
“Your roommate, hon.” Mom shuts the door. “Wow, it’s bright in here.”
The reek of mothballs and disinfectant almost knocks me over. At my mom’s urging, I push past the smell. Wood paneling lines the wall, which unsettles me even though the whole building’s interior is wood. It’s not a big dorm room by any means, with just enough space between the twin beds to prevent awkward touching in the night, two dressers and two desks that have seen better days, and a gray-brown carpet. Beside the door sits a sink with a tiny mirror above it. Still, the room looks clean, and the big window lets in more light than I expected.
“Where do you want to start with these?” Dad asks.
It took half an hour to haul up the boxes. Unpacking is a brand-new hell I’m not prepared to face.
I walk toward the window. Livingston Academy is so sprawling, I doubt I’ll ever be able to find my way around. Even my residence hall is massive. Though there’s still a day before classes start, the lawn outside Meyer Dorm ripples with activity. A few girls sit on the stone steps leading up to the front doors. Others lean against the wrought-iron fencing or the building’s brick exterior, make small talk by the rose bushes, and stretch out on the browning grass.
A pang of yearning knifes my chest. I have to turn away.
I don’t have friends. All I have are my parents—only then, just barely. And once they go home, I won’t have anyone.