By Mackenzie Rossero, For The Miami Student
Gabby opens her bright pink planner and the month of April is littered with big “X”s from her purple felt marker, which she’d used to cross off one day at a time as the year progressed. There are only four boxes left for this month, and then only 13 after that.
There’s just half a month left and she is not ready to leave.
She’s not ready to leave her dorm on MET quad, with her second floor room and off-white walls and she’s not ready to leave Anne, the other occupant of the room.
Suddenly, she remembers to go to Walmart. Her decorations left the walls mercilessly scraped and she has to buy some touch-up paint before moving out. It’s added to the to-do list.
Taped to the back of the door is a crude caricature with the title, “Block Party 2015.” It’s from move-in day, or maybe Welcome Week. She can’t remember.
The drawing is of her and Anne, their faces bright with Sharpie-sketched smiles and their names written in block letters across the top. The sketch was hastily drawn and doesn’t even resemble them — but they left it up all this time.
Anne moved in first. She beat Gabby by four days and chose the side of the room that didn’t have pipes weaving through the closet. Anne was gone on the scheduled move-in day, leaving time for Gabby to get settled in. She only dropped by briefly to say hi.
Gabby knew right then that Anne would be a good match, and she was right.
Listening to friends tell nightmare stories about their horrid roommates, Gabby knew she lucked out. Anne never turned the lights on during a nap and loved to listen.
They coexisted well together, but Anne did have her flaws. Or one flaw, primarily.
She had never seen “Titanic.”
They made plans to watch it one night and Anne, too impatient for movies of any kind (let alone three-hour rom-coms), opted to keep her eyes closed but her ears attentive. Gabby was pretty sure she was just looking for an opportunity to nap. It was rather disappointing and, now, their favorite joke.
They had so many jokes.
Like Anne’s hometown best friend that everyone thought she was in love with.
Like their first night at Brick Street, when they forgot their Miami IDs and were rejected from the bar. They teetered home on thin heels only to realize that they were locked out.
Like the time that Gabby was caught in the rain and Anne came to the rescue, meeting her at Maple Street with an umbrella to share.
Or like Anne’s obsessive love for queso and the first time she was caught smelling a bag of Tostitos.
They are getting to the “lasts” of everything. The last midnight at Pulley. The last spontaneous dance party. The last of the late night talks. The last of approving each other’s makeup before leaving in the morning. The last time going out together and stumbling home in a cloud of giggles. The last time in room 225. The last night as roommates.
More and more, they seem to say, “Will your roommate next year do this for you?”
In the next 17 days, all of these “lasts” will come and go and this year will be over.
Gabby isn’t ready.
She is experiencing something strange, something she can’t identify because it feels like she just moved in, but at the same time, she can’t remember a life before Oxford.
What will the summer be like? What will next year be like? Who will she share her mindless thoughts with before drifting off to sleep?
Next year, she will not live with Anne. They will live in different places, farther apart than the five feet between their beds now.
Will it change them? When they see each other, will they actually see each other, laugh and tell stories and not watch movies like they used to? Or will it feel like the obligatory lunch dates of friends who have history but are no longer close? Their schedules are so busy, so opposite — could their friendship possibly last?
But then, how could it not?
In the past eight months, Gabby and Anne have become closer than any of their friends at home. They know each other inside and out, are able to identify each other’s moods from their body language when they walk in the door.
This year, they became best friends.
And she has to hope that next year, that won’t change.