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Freshman English

PUBLISHED September 21, 2012

The girl woke unwillingly into a strange feeling of regret. She followed her curiosity, in the form of her hand down her side, and realized that, just as she had suspected, she wasn’t wearing any pants.


Struggling to find balance and ignoring the wooziness, she slid as dead silent as she could out from under her thin sheet, and dashed on hushed tiptoes into her bathroom. The person in the mirror horrified her. Last night, the three layers of mascara lit up her eyes. This morning, caked in the bags and creases of a bad night’s sleep, they mummified them.


She popped a finger full of toothpaste into her mouth, raked a brush through her hair, made a few hurried attempts at cleaning the makeup and finally slid on a baggy t-shirt from the bottom of her hamper. The smell of the t-shirt nearly made her gag. It stung of sweat, but not her own; a memento of another guy just passing through.

The body in the bed was still motionless when she returned to her room. His gaping mouth and occasional snores made him seem more human than she had regarded him up to now, and she mourned her own fantasy. She assessed her options. She could disappear, which was certainly the only thing she felt like doing at the moment. She could make a pot of coffee, light up a cigarette and cozy herself into a chair with a book so that when he awoke he would think, “Wow, she really is mature for an eighteen-year-old.” In fact, she could be reading his book, a sentiment that would flatter him. Or, possibly, creep him out.


Just at that moment, as she was standing uncomfortably on the opposite side of her room, his body choked itself to a start and found its way to wakefulness. His eyes peeled open, slow realizations setting in on an otherwise stern and composed face. She imagined what he would be seeing.

First, the midmorning sun would cause him to squint. The bedroom window faced East and the sun always shined bright and hot through the white, fluffy drapes at the start of the day. Next, she imagined, he would be confused by the white, fluffy drapes. He didn’t have white, fluffy drapes in his own apartment. The only people he knew with white, fluffy drapes were the daughters of some of his older colleagues. Why, then, was he staring at God damn white, fluffy drapes? Panic would set in as the fragments of the evening found him. The posters hanging around the room would confuse him. He didn’t know these people, these quotes, and these movie references and would in contrast feel much older than he ever had before.

Finally, after taking in his surroundings, he found her face.


She had apparently not prepared herself for the immense amount of awkwardness that became this morning. The man in her bed lifted the sheet and assessed his own nakedness.


His lack of composure made her feel, suddenly, empowered. A few sounds from the other side of the door signaled the activity of her roommates. She wasn’t sure how the rest of this day was going to play out. She didn’t know how to digest the night’s events nor their implications for the rest of the semester. All she did know was this: She was sure as hell going to get an A in Freshman English.

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