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Home from College

(You can listen to this piece on S2E18 of the podcast)

Kesha steepled her fingers atop her lap and pressed her lips in practiced patience. Another door banged shut. She had a paper to write, but she struggled to concentrate. Had her family always been this loud? Music blasted down the hall. No one cared that she asked for peace and quiet this weekend. Her first weekend back home during her freshman year. Kesha had turned the downstairs half bathroom into a study space. She just needed a few hours to work on this paper and then she’d relax with her family. She’d converted the closed commode into her seat. A folding TV tray table became her desk. On a sheet a paper she had written “Do Not Enter” and taped it to the closed bathroom door. The door flung open anyhow.

“Kesha! Did you see where Coco went?” asked her teenage sister.

Kesha shook her head no.

“Can you help me?” her sister asked, but Kesha gestured pointedly to her computer. She had work to do. Her sister clucked her tongue. “Since when are you too busy to find Coco?” her sister said before slamming the bathroom door shut.

Kesha massaged her temples. Was her sister always this demanding? No one demanded anything of her back on campus. And Coco was a Pomeranian. That yappy dog couldn’t be too hard to find, probably just blending in with the brown pillows on their living room couch.

Little footsteps stomped down the hall, and her baby sister’s voice rang throughout the house as she lamented about a lost doll. Had her voice always been so squealy? And as for the little girl losing things, this was typical. She’d probably lost it in the laundry basket after her usual game of hiding in the pile of clothes so that she could scare them as they passed.

In the kitchen pots and pans clanged as their father fussed with Saturday morning breakfast preparations. He knew it was his job to shop for and prepare weekend meals, yet he bellowed through the house asking whether they were out of milk. Was he always so helpless? All he had to do was look in the fridge behind the orange juice. Kesha had just seen it herself.

Her family was impossible. Had they always been impossible? Was it she who had changed? Kesha shrugged then blew out a deep sigh of frustration. Kesha then picked up her phone and opened it to the family group chat. The last message had been from her mom announcing how excited they were to have her back home. Her sisters and father had all joined in with celebration emojis. Kesha grimaced. It was more excitement than she’d bargained for. She drafted a message and pressed send.

<<Did you check the attic?>> the message said.

Kesha then silenced her phone, locked the bathroom door, and refocused on the open word document on her laptop. Maybe if they all went searching up there, she’d finally get some peace and quiet.


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