The only thing worse than spring semester
Violently slashing May 5, 2017 from my planner was a beautiful, blissful feeling. Until that day, I didn’t have enough free time or leftover brainpower to even recall the existence of the fourth season: summer. Packing boxes with my textbooks and clothes felt like preparing for a vacation… until I remembered where I was going. Suddenly, distant memories of darker times began to loop through my mind. Potholed roads surrounded by farms, embarrassing encounters with high school classmates at the local gas station, pleas from my parents to get out of bed before 4 PM… oh no. I was going home.
This is my personal account of a summer spent in small-town Michigan. If you’re reading this, I probably didn’t make it to the end.
Day 1, Saturday May 6th, 2017
With dread, I loaded my car with boxes, hugged my roommates goodbye and held back tears as I drove to the place where I’d spent too many unmentionable years. I passed the hour-long drive wondering how to hide the box filled entirely with alcohol from my parents; maybe I should drink it all before I go inside? No, I thought to myself. The dog shouldn’t have to see me like that.
Day 2, Sunday May 7th, 2017
Today, Mom asked me to go to the grocery store to pick up food for dinner. Anticipating the worst, I donned my hoodie, sunglasses and heavy makeup. Regardless, I was spotted by a classmate who definitely hated me for all 12 years of grade school. “Oh no way, Danielle! It’s been so long since I’ve seen you! You look terrible, are you sick?” he asked. “Sick,” I lied. “Yeah, I feel awful.” I decided to wear a bigger hoodie next time.
Day 3, Monday May 8th, 2017
When I finally rolled out of bed at 1 PM to search for food, I saw a note taped to my door: Danielle, please empty the dishwasher and vacuum your room today. Love you. -Mom. Still disoriented from sleep, I searched the room, waiting for my roommates to offer to split the chores with me. But only one pair of eyes was staring at me from the floor, begging to be taken for a walk. The stress was too much. I went back to bed.
Day 4, Tuesday May 9th, 2017
A quick Google search told me that no, a Chipotle had not in fact opened in this town since I last checked (Monday, May 8th, 2017, 4:54 PM).
Day 5, Wednesday May 10th, 2017
Last night I dreamt it was Welcome Week. I woke in a sweat, reaching for the Advil and water, or maybe still the bottle of vodka. I caught a glimpse of the calendar hanging on my wall and my hopes were crushed. Only 77 more days til I move out, I told myself.
Danielle Schwartz is a junior studying English and professional writing. When she’s not writing or taking pictures of her dog, you can usually find her eating a veggie burger or drinking English Breakfast tea. See her dog pics on Instagram at @danielleeilleen.