I woke up early to the sounds of a stranger’s snores filling the air. You could tell it was early in the morning because the birds weren’t chirping yet. Crumpled paper hearts and record covers were peppered around the walls of the room, blue LED lights lined along the ceiling and a stolen stop sign stood as a trophy by the door. I looked down to discover myself wearing a t-shirt that read “Best Ex-Boyfriend” in big chunky letters and a pair of someone’s highschool basketball sweatpants. I shimmed out of the navy blue duvet I was tucked under, climbed over overlapping limbs, and tiptoed over dreaming bodies until I reached the door. As I descended the staircase, I saw what could only be described at the Island of Misfit Toys sprawled around a fraternity living room. People slept on couches, curled up on the floor with bathroom mats acting as blankets, their arms as makeshift pillows. I noticed a coat rack full of jackets by the front door. I quickly grabbed one of those oversized shearling corduroy jackets and slung it around my shoulders, completing my treasure trove of borrowed clothing, before closing the door silently behind me. At first it’s very still and quiet, the usual weekend visitors that had once crowded the streets have now vanished into their little boxes with windows that shine inauthentic colors of yellow, pink and blue. Quietly and quickly, snow begins to wrap the streets in a blanket of white. You could believe that this specific moment in time mirrors the winter wonderland trapped inside the snow globe you had in your childhood bedroom. I watch as the wind scoops up the flickers of snow with its nurturing hands and drapes them around the sky, making them appear to be a herd of flying insects taking part in a syncranative dance above me. I walk down the six blocks alone before I manage to clamber back inside my own home. The smell of apple cinnamon welcomes me with a warm hug, as I abandon the stranger’s jacket on the little hooks stationed by our door. Ramona’s ex-boyfriend sleeps soundly on our couch, drool dripping onto our couch. I hurry up to my room, letting sleep take me again.
The laughter from my three roommates stirs me awake as they discuss the events from the night before. Ramona’s flipping pancakes when I arrive, her makeup from the night before still smudged along her eyelids.
“Joalie! You’re here. Whose clothes are those?” Eloise asks. Eloise looks like a mermaid. She has blonde wavy hair that hangs along her back like dwindling ivy that cuts off at the small of her back. She’s wearing a chunky sweater that shows a snippet of a scene from Vermont and gray sweatpants she stole from Brandy Melville when she was 15.
“They’re Doonie’s aren’t they?” Natalie asks.
“Yeah they’re Doonie’s,” I nod.
“I knew it,” Ramona calls.
“Hey Ramona, Joshua owes us a new couch. There’s a little drool splotch that still hasn’t dried,” I say.
“Wait, Joshua was here? Ramona, no!” Natalie says with dramatic disappointment.
“What happened with Doonie?” Ramona asks, avoiding the subject.
“Well, we kissed, and then I told him I had to use the bathroom, then I fell asleep in his roommate’s bed.”
“Which one?” Eloise asks.
“Was it the dumb blonde one with the freckles? He’s cute,” Ramona says. “Oh my god did you sleep with the dumb one? I tried talking to him once but it was like the lights were on and no one was home,” Natalie says.
“God no, Doonie actually was asleep next to me.”
“In his roommate’s room…” Natalia says with a quizzical look.
“Where’d his roommate sleep?” Ramona asks.
“Oh don’t worry, he was still in his room. He just slept on his floor, with the girl from our philosophy class cuddled up beside him actually,” I say.
“I don’t know why you are avoiding Doonie, he’s perfect for you,” Eloise says, scooting her chair closer to mine.
“He’s got the most beautiful hazel eyes, and that hair, Joalie. You could get lost in those curls,” Ramona says.
“And he loves Phoebe Bridgers. Not ironically either. I think he may even love her more than you do,” Eloise says, elbowing my ribs.
“Fuck off,” I smile.
“I am serious, Joalie. You are totally smitten with him too. Don’t even try and deny it,” Eloise says.
Ramona places a stack of pancakes in the middle of the table before she sits criss-crossed on the chair across from me. I stare past them at the snowstorm camouflaging our home in snow.
“You’re endgame. I know it,” Eloise sighs. “Now eat your pancakes,”