I’m laying awake on the bed, on new scratchy sheets that don’t seem to stay on the foam pad that my college deems a mattress. The air is stagnant and hot in the small dorm room. I neglected to bring a fan for the overnight excursion that is freshman orientation. I can hear the party that is taking place downstairs, put on by the orientation leaders and program. The music thrums through the walls, all the way up to the fourth floor. On the fourth floor, it’s soft. I can’t imagine how much louder it is down a couple floors.
My head throbs in time with the music. I keep my eyes squeezed shut, trying to sleep. I didn’t have any pain killers. I had brought some aspirin along but instead of taking the bottle of aspirin, I spilled a hand full into a napkin and folded it up, tucking them into my bag. I put my frozen water bottle in the same bag. When the frozen water bottle began to melt, so did my aspirin. When I unwrapped them upon arrival, they were a pile of white mush in a soggy napkin. I had scooped a bit on to my fingers, putting the mush into my mouth and washing it down with a gulp of water. Desperate times, desperate measures. The aspirin had left a fowl taste in my mouth, I could still taste them on my teeth despite the whole day gone by.
The door opened and the light flicked on. I rolled over shielding my eyes from the light.
“Sorry!” my roommate for one night, for freshman orientation apologized. I had long since forgot her name from this morning. I mentally refer to her as my ‘single-serving’ roommate, a reference to Fight Club. My tattered copy lays next to me on the bed, I read for a little bit earlier until my vision became blurry and the overhead light too much. “You’re sleeping all ready?” she asks me.
“Yeah, I have a headache,” I tell her.
“I have Excedrin!” she tells me.
I roll over, almost off the top bunk. She’s digging around in her bag on the bottom bunk. I lean my head over, looking down as she rifles through her bag. Out comes the green bottle of Excedrin. She unscrews the cap and two tumble out.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” I chant, it becomes my mantra. She gives me the two pills and I clap my hand over my open mouth, the two pills tumble in, I chase it down with warm water. “Thank you.”
She turns the light off and crawls into bed herself. I roll over and close my eyes, sleep eventually comes.