If I look outside my window, I can see the bus stop. Normally the buses just run in a circle around campus, but today is different. Every hour the bus comes to take a crowd of students to the airport. They start showing up nearly a half hour early, tote bags and suitcases in hand, ready to go board flights and be whisked away to whatever part of the world the came here from.
A cloud of exhaust wafts upwards as the bus pulls away from the stop. I was on that bus last year, and the year before that. I’d sit on the plane with its engines roaring in my ears trying to pretend to feel something other than dread. Even from the air my hometown feels wrong, with its endless billboards and strip malls built up and abandoned side by side and suburbs fanning out in every direction from a collapsing center.
But I'm not there this year. There's a little slip of paper on my door that says “Approved for Extended Stay” and a little mark. I'm going to stay here, read my books, go for walks, finish my assignments.
The dorms feel weird being this empty. It's never really loud here, but it’s also never this silent. It's getting late and nearly everyone is gone. It's spooky, but I kind of like it.
I think I just saw someone else who’s staying here over the break. I saw her go into her room, and the door had the same slip mine does. I wonder if she's here for the same reasons I am. Maybe I'll get to talk to her sometime this week.
I'm back in my room now. It's just a little space with my desk and bed. The glow of my laptop screen reflects off the window. It's getting dark outside. The sunset is really pretty. Maybe I'll read or watch something. I haven’t quite decided yet.