The music plays on in her ears again. It’s loud and angry this time. She likes it. Probably because it drowns out the sadness and stress. In the moment though, it makes her happy. She’s literally bouncing, dragging her fingers through her hair, singing along silently and moving along with the music as best she could, taking the stairs in time with the beat.

Some skaters roll up ahead of her, looking at her as if she’s some foreign object, completely out of place in her surroundings. Like she’s the one invading their territory, instead of the other way around. They don’t know anything though. She can tell. It was obvious for the first few weeks. The freshman were generally self-evident.

She smiles at them and continues on her way, twirling the cord of her headphones in her fingers.

She can feel their eyes on her as they roll past.

She wants to laugh so badly.

She looks around her. She’s gone farther into campus than usual. New school year, new route, she supposes. It’s too busy though. People keep walking past, mostly alone or in pairs, scurrying around to parties or dorms. They all have backpacks, but it doesn’t fool her. That’s how you carry the booze around without getting in trouble. She thought on a Monday night people would know better than to party, but the freshmen still haven’t learned their lesson, so she supposes it’s normal enough.

Their backpacks clink as they walk by.

The whole campus smells like wine.

Usually it’s just weed smoke.

She finds it impressive, for some reason.

On top of that, the sprinklers across the street are on, creating a loud slapping sound every time they turn towards the pavement, interrupting her music, and therefore, the reverie of the moment. Not that there’s much of a reverie this time. Too many distractions, from herself and the people around her.

It does make the grass sparkle in the streetlight.

That’s nice.

She laughs at herself, out loud this time, for her foolishly artistic thoughts. She’s kidding no one. She has no artistic sense whatsoever.

The song changes, and suddenly so does the pace. It slows, and so does her thoughts.

Not good.

She flips through song after song, but nothing sits with her. Nothing is quite what she wants, nothing is loud enough, busy enough.

Everything feels boring tonight.

She knows why though.

She’d talked to him today before she went out, just like last year. About how much she missed him, and he missed her.

Lots of things got left unsaid, but they both knew most of it didn’t need to be out in the open to be heard. How dependent she feels, how each year of college draws them apart, how much better it is when they’re together, at least for her.

How much she loves him.

Because she does. She really loves that amazing, idiot friend of hers, the most insane human she’s ever met, one of the most wonderful friends she’s ever had. Ever will have, her mind adds. She owes him so much.

He’s probably one of the best things that has ever happened to her.

He’s never boring.

And now he’s five hours away.

He loves her too, she knows.

He tells her more often that she tells him.

Even his family loves her. She’s family in that house.

He’s part of her family.

Which is why she made sure that the last place she went before she left for college was his house.

Why she cries every time she leaves for college.

Why she misses him so much.

Loud thumping music comes on suddenly, drowning out her desire to cry.

She’s grateful.

She hates crying, probably because she does it so much.

She starts heading back towards her dorm.

She wants to explore the amphitheater again, scare the freshmen with her antics. It’s about time that she stakes out her territory.

How else is she going to try and make this place feel like home?

If it ever will.