I pushed my feet deeper into the cushion, trying to avoid the morning chill that woke me up in the first place. I felt sunlight on my eyelids, but my head felt too heavy to move. The hard feeling in my stomach spread, the one you get when you haven’t slept enough and the grogginess is overwhelming. For a split second, I forgot where I was: but it all came rushing back, as it usually does.
I pushed myself off the couch, stepping over empty bottles and broken plates. Through the slits of my eyes, I saw somebody I didn’t know on the floor next to the staircase. The walls had been sprayed with some sort of liquid, and it smelled like fruit juice. Had we really tried to make smoothies last night?
On the ground floor, I looked around for the familiar bunch of bushy curls. I wanted to wake up Annie as fast as possible before anything happened…who knows whose house this was? Walking close to the large bay view glass window, I finally found Annie. She was curled up on a furry rug in the middle of the living room. Dodging something that looked strangely like baby food on the hardwood floor, I nudged her awake.
“okay, okay…I’m up. Grab my bag and let’s get outta here.” And with that, Anne Carey threw her hair over her shoulder and picked herself up off the floor.
I had been in Miami for almost a week now, staying with Annie at her small apartment right on North Beach. Anne’s parents were around, but working too much to notice if we were actually in the apartment or not. It was a well-deserved break from our regular reality of dorms and hawk-like dorm parents.
Spring Break was in full swing, and to be honest, I hadn’t remembered much of it. I left it up to Annie to show me a good time on Miami Beach, and I wasn’t disappointed. I knew that Annie could really show me what it means to live in Miami since she was a local, and we had done things that the spring breakers wouldn’t even dream of. From beautiful houses to posh clubs, Spring Break was shaping up to be something to remember.
I hadn’t thought about the Academy for a long time. Every night I would find myself around beautiful people with dangerous pastimes, eventually watching the sunrise over the Biscayne Bay. We would dress in our favorite outfits and pretend that life was one large event: no responsibilities or real goals for the future. The night was ours.
This is how we all lived, when we escaped the small town that surrounded the Academy. We all tried to forget that all of our live revolved around a stretch of 100 acres in the middle of nowhere. That every night we were asleep by 10:30 at the latest. That our social lives on Friday night included taking a trip to Walmart over two hours away or going to grab a smoothies from the local gas station. That at the end of the day, we sat alone and watched the frigid snow drift down on the cold lawn, wondering if our lives would be anything out of the ordinary.
Annie and I walked out of the house, leaving yet another mess behind. As we walked along the private beach in search of the main road, I wondered what would happen once I returned ‘home’ the next day. Sometimes, knowing that the quaint street in New England was waiting for me was comforting. Nothing would ever change there, or I truly believed that, anyway.