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The first thing Trixie Mattel noticed upon arriving in Chicago was the sound.

People talked into cell phones and each other, cars passed by with honking horns or squealing brakes, the train above her clattered and rattled, metal against metal that no one else seemed remotely bothered by. Even the wind had a voice, blowing the hot summer air through her blonde ponytail and across the bridge of her freckled nose.

Trixie wasn’t a fan of unnecessary noise, just generally speaking she was always more comfortable in the quiet. But this wasn’t the kind of noise she was used to, something about the sounds of the city had an energy that settled into her skull softly and comfortably.

The moment she stepped out of that bus station and onto the street, one large suitcase, a backpack, and a worn out guitar case in hand, she could feel everything change. It was a cliche to say the least, and Trixie knew that she was the classic farm girl who had hopped on a bus from Milwaukee to Chicago with big dreams and little to no idea how to make them reality.

She was running, both towards and away from the things she loved most, the things she was most afraid of.

It shouldn’t have been surprising that Trixie Mattel got lost in the streets of Chicago almost immediately. With a dead cell phone and a few dollars in her wallet she was trying to save to buy dinner later, she was relying on the address on the paper in her hands. It was creased, having been folded and unfolded many times over and as she looked between it and the street signs high above her head she got increasingly frustrated.

Her worn out sneakers chugged along the sidewalk and she got more than a few dirty looks from pedestrians who had to dodge her suitcase. Trixie was sweating in the heat and overwhelmed by the sheer size and fast pace of everything.

She stopped abruptly in front of a small coffee shop, the pale pink skirt of her dress swinging around her knees and the man who had been walking behind her grumbling something about tourists . Trixie mumbled an apology that she was sure he didn’t hear and dragged her suitcase into the shop.

It was bigger than it had looked from outside, with a rustic aesthetic that looked like it was trying to be country chic . Trixie snorted, knowing that whoever had designed this place had never actually been to the country, at least not the country that she was used to. She looked around anyway, hoping to find someone who could tell her where the fuck Plymouth Court was in this godforsaken maze of a city.

“You need something, hon?” a woman asked from where she was filling a display case with fresh muffins. She was wearing more jewelry than Trixie had ever seen on one person. “Or are you just planning on standing in the doorway?” Her accent was thick, country but more southern than the nasally Wisconsin drawl that Trixie was used to.

“Oh, um, I was hoping--” Trixie rushed forward, stumbling as her suitcase got caught on the leg of a wooden chair and knocked it over. “Shit,” she mumbled to herself, face heating up with embarrassment more than heat at this point.

“Just leave it, I’ll get it later,” the woman motioned for her to join her by the counter and leave her suitcase behind.

Trixie obliged, pulling the deeply crinkled paper out of the pocket in her dress (all dresses should have pockets and if they didn't already she was going to add them, goddammit).

“I’m trying to get to Plymouth Court?” Trixie said, placing the paper on the counter between them and pointing to the address, making eye contact with the woman’s name tag instead of her actual eyes. Her name was Alyssa.

Alyssa took the paper from her and looked at it closely for a minute before she let out a breath of understanding.

“First time in the big city, college girl?” she asked, pulling a pen out of a nearby cup and beginning to draw on the Columbia College stationary.

“I--Um--Well, yeah,” Trixie said, embarrassed that this woman could read her so easily. She watched with confusion as Alyssa continued to draw, not quite sure how to go about asking her what she thought she was doing.

“I know the feeling,” Alyssa nodded. “I accidentally rode the train to the opposite side of town I was trying to get to on my first day here.”

“I guess it’s a good thing I don’t have my train pass yet,” Trixie attempted a joke, startled when Alyssa let out a boisterous laugh in response.

“Probably is, sweetheart,” she grinned at Trixie. “Where you coming from?”

“Wisconsin,” Trixie said, smoothing down the front of her dress self consciously.

“Cheese Heads!” Alyssa exclaimed enthusiastically. Trixie couldn’t help but laugh at that.

“That’s the one,” she responded, feeling more and more comfortable here with each passing moment.

“Okay, here,” Alyssa capped her pen and turned the paper around to face Trixie.

“You drew me a map ,” Trixie said in understanding.

“What’d you think I was doing? Entertaining myself?” Alyssa joked and Trixie shrugged sheepishly. “Alright, kiddo, so this is where we are,” she pointed to an X on the map. “And this , is where you’re goin’ with that big college brain of yours,” she directed Trixie’s attention towards a big star. “So when you leave here, you wanna turn left and go four blocks, then turn right and go three more blocks. Make sense?”

Trixie studied the map quietly for a moment and bit her lip, trying to make sure she knew exactly where she was going before she left this place.

“I think so,” Trixie nodded with determination, looking up to see Alyssa smirking at her.

“Well, get going then,” she said and Trixie nodded, turning around to retrieve her suitcase. “Oh! Wait,” Alyssa exclaimed.

“Yeah?” Trixie turned around to see Alyssa pulling out a small paper bag and a muffin from the display she’d just been filling.

“Take this,” Alyssa held out the brown paper bag and Trixie hesitated.

“I don’t have… I don’t have any money,” Trixie said sheepishly.

“Girl, I know. It’s free,” Alyssa cocked her head to the side and rolled her eyes. “Just take the stupid muffin.”

“Thank you,” Trixie said, a small grin pulling at her lips as she took the muffin and headed towards the door, suitcase now in hand.

“Good luck, Cheese Head!” Trixie heard her call as the door shut behind her and she was overtaken once more by the sounds of the city.

With Alyssa’s map in hand and a newfound sense of comfort in her chest, Trixie was able to make it the rest of the way to Columbia College’s dorms relatively seamlessly. For instance, she was only startled by a pigeon once and barely even squealed when it flew towards her face, so she was going to consider that one a win.

The building was massive with a classical architecture exterior and a far more modern lobby. Trixie had to weave through crowds of students and parents who were moving in more boxes and bins of things than Trixie had ever owned, just to get to the front desk so she could pick up her key.

Being alone made it pretty easy, however, to slide by unnoticed and slip into the elevator behind what she determined was probably the loudest family in all of Chicago at that moment. Trixie inserted her newly acquired key to be taken to the sixth floor, and clutched onto the handles of her suitcase and guitar case as a bickering father and son jostled her around.

To say she let out a sigh of relief when the doors opened and she could stumble out into the hallway was putting it lightly.

Rows of doors stretched out in both directions as she looked around, people bustling about as they got situated in their new living arrangements, meeting roommates and moving furniture. Trixie bit at her bottom lip in discomfort, feeling suddenly a little out of place amongst all of the chaos, just wanting to find her room and unpack.

She was looking at the slip of paper the receptionist downstairs had given her, looking for some clue as to where she needed to go, when her thought processes were interrupted.

“Can I help you find your room?”

Trixie’s head shot up in surprise to find a short, red-headed girl standing in front of her with a Columbia College t-shirt and a clipboard. Trixie was caught off guard for a moment as she wondered why everyone she had encountered in Chicago so far seemed to have a vaguely southern accent. Weird.

“That would be nice,” Trixie glanced around the crowded hallways, clearly overwhelmed.

“I’m Ginger, the RA for this floor,” the girl said with an understanding grin. “What’s your last name, doll?”

“Mattel,” Trixie said hopefully as Ginger scanned the clipboard in front of her.

“Beatrice?” Ginger asked, glancing up from the papers. Trixie felt her shoulders tense and her lungs tighten. She cleared her throat.

“Trixie,” she said, looking down at her shoes briefly. “Trixie is fine.”

“Mmhmm,” Ginger hummed absentmindedly. “Looks like you’re in room 612 with Kim. Right down that way past the mom who decided to wear heels for move in day.”

“Thank you,” Trixie smiled genuinely, grabbing the handle of her suitcase once more and moving to leave.

“You have family meeting you up here?” Ginger stopped her to ask. “They’ll need your key to get up.”

“Oh, um,” Trixie looked over her shoulder and floundered. “Nope. Just me,” she gave what she hoped was a reassuring smile, the kind of smile that convinced someone they didn’t have any more questions about the matter.

“Okay,” Ginger nodded. “You need help bringing up the rest of your stuff?”

Trixie really hated how kind Ginger was being, it was making it increasingly difficult to dislike her nosiness.

“This is it,” Trixie motioned to her suitcase and Ginger raised her eyebrows. Trixie thought she was going to get a scoff, some sign of judgment at how little she had both familially and materially. She braced for it.

“A minimalist. I like it,” Ginger chuckled before turning to help the next freshman who exited the elevator.

The first thing Trixie saw when she arrived at room 612 were the names plastered on the door, laminated print-outs screaming “KIM” and “BEATRICE.” She tried to ignore the bile that rose in her throat when she saw her legal name and just barely resisted the urge to tear it down immediately before she even opened the door.

She did resist it though, so that was another win, right?

There wasn’t anyone else in the room when she opened the door, but it was clear that someone had already moved in. Her roommate had already claimed a bed and the doors of her laminate-wood wardrobe were open to reveal a colorful assortment of fabrics hung neatly side by side.

Crumpled sheets sat in a pile on top of her bare mattress and artful posters hung on the wall next to a desk, messy with school supplies and makeup. Trixie felt a little bit like she was intruding on someone else’s space, like she was an outsider in what was supposed to become her own home.

She tried to push the feeling away as she unzipped her suitcase on her bed and began to unpack, hanging up clothes and tucking away her homemade sewing kit. Trixie had never shared a room with anyone before. She had Tyler of course, the older brother whose room was next door to hers growing up, but her little bedroom back in Silver Cliff, population four hundred and eighty-three, had always been pretty much hers .

It had been home for so long, pink and frilly (and featuring the false bottom she’d added to her sock drawer while her step-dad had been out of town one weekend when she was fifteen). Trixie knew that house like the back of her hand, could distinguish what door was being opened by the creak of its hinges down the hall or who was walking up the stairs by the way the floorboards squeaked.

But now the idea of living with a complete stranger was starting to hit her. The uncertainty of it, the not knowing what kind of person she’d be or if she’d even like Trixie was starting to weigh down on her chest with an all too familiar heaviness.

She was trying to remind herself how much she wanted this, how much she’d gone through just to get this far, when the door opened to reveal two girls. They both stopped in the doorway when they saw her, still holding a pajama top mid-fold on the other side of the room.

“Hi,” she said awkwardly when neither of them had spoken. “I’m Trixie.”

“It says Beatrice on the door,” the girl with more meticulous daytime makeup than Trixie had ever witnessed on a human person said as she motioned to the door.

“Right, legal name,” Trixie cleared her throat awkwardly. “No one calls me that. Trixie is good.”

No one she wanted to have to think about anyway .

The girl nodded, as if to say fair enough , before moving forward and holding out her hand.

“Kim,” she said, seeming friendly enough with the slightest lisp to her voice. “I’m your roommate.”

“Nice to meet you,” Trixie shook her hand enthusiastically in response.

“And this is Shea, she lives across the hall,” Kim motioned to the girl leaning in the doorframe.

“We were some of the only ones here yesterday, but it seems to be filling in now,” Shea said glancing out the door at the slowly diminishing bustle of move in day.

“I love your dress,” Kim said, plopping down onto her bed and kicking her shoes off as Shea came in and sat in Kim’s desk chair.

“Oh, thank you,” Trixie said, smoothing out some of the creases that the bus ride had left in the pink fabric. She glanced up to see Kim looking at her with expectant amusement. “What?”

“That’s when you’re supposed to tell me where you got it so I can track down that store,” Kim laughed. It didn’t feel like she was laughing at Trixie though, just at the awkward nature of the situation in general.

“Oh!” Trixie exclaimed, chuckling along with her. “You won’t find it at a store,” she tucked a loose piece of hair back behind her ear.

“Why not?” Kim asked in confusion.

“I made it,” Trixie said self consciously, going back to folding her clothes and putting them away neatly in her drawers. She had gone to public school in rural Wisconsin, she knew what it was like to have anything that pointed her out as the farm girl mocked.

“You design clothes?” Shea perked up at that, sitting up taller in her seat as a grin crossed her face. “I’m majoring in costume design!”

“Oh my god, me too,” Trixie spun around to face her, mood suddenly shifting as she beamed at the other girl. “I wonder if we have any classes together?”

“I've only got a couple design classes this semester because of gen-eds but girl, I'm so glad to meet someone in my major already,” Shea smiled at her genuinely, seeming excited at the prospect of having a new friend with similar goals and aspirations. Trixie could understand that.

“Yeah, rub it in why don't you,” Kim snorted, deadpan but clearly joking.

“What's your major?” Trixie asked, sitting down on the edge of her bed to face the other girls, muscles relaxing as she grew more comfortable with them.

“Visual Arts,” Kim shrugged. “But I think I want to become a makeup artist.”

“I think you might already be one,” Trixie raised her eyebrows and motioned vaguely to Kim's carefully painted face that somehow hadn't melted despite the summer heat.

“You have to promise as my roommate you won't spill all my secrets to the mere mortals of the makeup world,” Kim joked haughtily.

“You have my word, madam,” Trixie bowed low from where she was sitting, making both of the girls burst out into peals of laughter.

It was a good sound. Trixie thought she could get used to this.

The three girls spent the rest of the day together, all trying to pretend they were more comfortable with the incredible newness of dorm life than they actually were. Shea and Kim helped Trixie unpack, although she had done most of it herself before they'd even arrived, and Kim determined she was going to make it her mission to help Trixie properly decorate her half of the room because it just looks so empty and sad .

Trixie wasn't going to deny her.

They spent some time in Shea's room and Trixie met Sasha, her roommate who seemed to be majoring in about four different subjects, all of which she was already an expert in.

“Oh my god you have your own sewing machine?” Trixie gasped when she caught sight of the Singer poking out of Shea's wardrobe precariously.

“My mom got it for me as a graduation present,” Shea grinned with pride. “I used to use hers but since I was moving here she figured I'd want my own.”

“I used my mom's too, but it broke when I was fifteen so I mostly just used the one in the home ec room at school,” Trixie said, remembering how she had managed to get on Mrs. Davis's good side and had been allowed to stay late at school to sew to her heart's content. It was always better than sewing at home if Trixie was being honest, at least Mrs. Davis never reprimanded her for how loud the machine was.

“If you ever wanna use it just let me know,” Shea shrugged amiably.

“Are you serious?” Trixie’s eyes grew comically big at the mere suggestion.

“Yeah, of course,” Shea laughed, amused by Trixie’s eternal, bright eyed enthusiasm.

“You're the best, holy shit,” Trixie beamed at her.

“You’re so easy to please,” Kim commented with snort of amusement.

“Well, you’re just easy. Period,” Trixie shot back with a sarcastic head wobble. When Kim didn’t laugh immediately she froze, thinking that maybe she had crossed a line or they didn’t know each other well enough to joke like that yet. Her face fell and she opened her mouth to apologize but just at that moment, Kim burst out laughing.

“You bitch !” Kim cackled as Shea chuckled and pinched the bridge of her nose in what appeared to be reluctant amusement.

“You excited to live with me yet?” Trixie teased, a grin growing on her face once more with the knowledge that she hadn’t entirely fucked up her relationship with her roommate on day one.

“Excited to cut up all your pretty dresses while you sleep,” Kim joked in return. Trixie let out a high pitched scream of a laugh, doubling over dramatically.

Trixie wasn’t completely used to people getting her humor right away, wasn’t used to being so fully accepted for who she was without any need for convincing that she was worthy of the time and energy it took to be her friend.

She watched shows on television and read books about groups of friends that just got each other to their core. It was an obsession of hers, living vicariously through the love and support that fictional characters had for each other, and she was deeply envious of it. Friends like that were eternal, friends like that stood up for each other and looked out for each other and laughed at jokes that weren’t funny just because they knew it was worth the smile.

She had always dreamed that the day she moved out of her mother’s house would be the day she found her way to her people.

Maybe these were her people.

Later that night they were scheduled to attend their very first floor meeting. Trixie was excited to start putting names to faces and getting a rundown of what living in that building was going to be like. Kim grumbled as the two of them walked down the hall towards the communal lounge where they were meeting, fully uninterested in having to sit through what she was certain would just be a list of rules they were required to follow.

Trixie wasn’t bothered at the thought of rules though, more just giddy at the thought that her new life was finally getting started. This could be her new life. She was going to make it a good life.

Her and Kim were some of the last people filtering into the room, and they took a seat on the floor against the wall as it was already crowded with chattering freshman exchanging names and room numbers.

Ginger was leaning against the wall at the front of the group, laughing at something that a girl with dark blue hair had said. Upon seeing the brightly colored hair Trixie decided once again that she liked art school. No one in her home town would have ever been caught dead dying their hair a color like that, but this girl was wearing it with the confidence of someone who didn’t care what anyone thought of her look. She liked it, and that was all that mattered.

Trixie was about to mention something about potentially dying her hair pink to Kim when Ginger clapped loudly and got everyone’s attention.

“Shut up!” she cried out, effectively, well, shutting them all up. “Thank you,” she grinned, holding her clipboard casually as she glanced down to check her notes. “My name is Ginger and welcome to Columbia, children.”

There was a chorus of whoops and clapping in response to that. Trixie grinned and clapped and Kim rolled her eyes good naturedly beside her.

“I’m going to be your RA this year,” Ginger continued. “I’m a junior in the theater arts school and I’m basically here to make sure none of you die before you move out in May. Some RA’s may say they’re here to help you adjust and answer any and all of your questions ,” she said in a mocking tone. “And yes, I will answer your questions, so long as they’re not stupid .”

Trixie snorted. She had a specific image of what a traditional college resident assistant was like and Ginger was the complete and utter opposite. It wasn’t a bad thing though, Trixie thought she was pretty funny, and she wasn’t planning on needing an RA all that much this year anyway.

“Listen up, I’ll tell you what a stupid question is,” Ginger pressed on, raising her eyebrows at the dozens of freshman looking up at her, some with fear, some with confusion, but mostly with a certain level of disinterest. “A stupid question is anything you can google. Do not ask me google-able questions or I will find a way to get you evicted.”

“You can’t do that,” a girl snorted from the back of the room.

“Try me,” Ginger called back with a smirk. The whole room laughed at that one and Ginger looked pleased. Trixie was thinking more and more that she wasn’t actually a hard-ass, she just liked pretending to be one for the schtick.

Ginger continued for a few minutes, going over floor regulations and making more jokes about how if you bothered her when she was trying to sleep that she would find a way to open the suicide-proof windows to force you out of them.

Right as Ginger was explaining for the third time that she was in no way, shape, or form your mother , the door to the lounge swung open and bumped into a few students that had been sitting next to it.

“Oh shit, sorry,” a blonde girl hissed as she entered and shut the door behind her, some sort of antique camera clutched in both hands.

She was petite in both height and weight with shoulder-length hair that was styled into messy waves with bangs that looked vaguely like she might have cut them herself. She grimaced with bright red lips as she stepped around and over the mass of freshman girls sitting on the floor, holding up the hem of her long peasant skirt that looked like it belonged to Laura Ingalls Wilder herself. Her black boots were scuffed and the laces were knotted haphazardly and Trixie didn’t notice how closely she was staring until Ginger spoke once more.

“What the fuck are you doing here?”

“Capturing memories,” the nameless girl shrugged as though it was obvious, motioning to her camera before holding it up and pressing down the trigger as she pointed it at Ginger. The motor whirred and Ginger rolled her eyes.

“Katya, can you maybe save this new bullshit you’re on for when I’m not trying to instill fear into young minds?”

“Bitch, you’re always instilling fear into young minds,” Katya retorted, lowering the camera and cocking one hip out to the side as if to punctuate her point.

“I’m gonna instill my fist into your fucking face if you don’t put that stupid camera away,” Ginger shot back. Katya glared at her and Trixie thought she might actually be mad for a moment until she watched the blonde girl break into a grin and wheeze with laughter.

“You stupid cunt, I’m trying to make art! ” Katya cackled and the freshmen in the room had begun talking quietly to one another, tuning out the conversation at the front of the room. “And this camera is not stupid, thank you very much--Super8 was very popular in the seventies.”

Trixie was enthralled--intrigued? She wasn’t sure exactly what she was, but she was certainly captured by the scene in front of her. Katya seemed to be made of energy from head to toe, buzzing with a thousand possibilities as to what she’d say or do next. What surprised Trixie is that this didn’t put her on edge, instead just making her feel as though the air in the room was lighter, her heart a little more free.

“Do I look like I give a shit about what kind of cameras they used in-- You know what, no. You don’t even live on this floor ,” Ginger laughed. “You’re a sophomore now, I thought you’d have matured over the summer.”

“Don’t you dare ever accuse me of maturing, bitch,” Katya gasped in mock horror.

“Don't worry I won't be making that mistake any time soon,” Ginger rolled her eyes. “What are you doing anyway? Other than disrupting my work, of course.”

“All that I do, I do for the Union,” Katya stood in a stiff solute, her voice taking on an accent which Trixie assumed was Eastern European of some sort. She wanted to say Russian, but she honestly had no concept of what a real Russian person sounded like.

The scene was comical though, and Trixie couldn't help but to let out a loud, high pitched laugh. She covered her mouth as soon as she realized Katya had turned, but the blonde was already beaming at her from the front of the room.

“See?” She said, turning to Ginger and motioning broadly to Trixie, accent still in full effect. “The Barbie gets it. They would like this one very much in Moscow. Just look at all that blonde hair.”

Trixie laughed louder at that one, startling a few of the girls around her in her outburst before responding. She vaguely noticed Katya point her camera in Trixies direction and hold down the trigger without looking through the viewfinder.

“Oh Lordy,” Trixie said, accentuating her Wisconsin accent just enough to sound satirical. “The Russians wouldn't know what to do with my country ass, little lady.”

Katya stopped running the camera at that, flailing wildly with laughter that sounded somewhere between a wheeze and a scream but was one hundred percent joyful nonetheless.

She slapped her knee and it was the first time Trixie had ever seen someone do that fully without irony. She beamed and laughed right along with her, knowing that none of the words they had exchanged had actually been that funny but enjoying every single second of it still.

“What are you?” Kim looked at Trixie with a confused grin, chuckling at her new friends unencumbered enthusiasm.

“A Barbie apparently,” Trixie shrugged.

Ginger eventually managed to get Katya to sit down so she could finish the rest of the meeting and move on with her goddamn life , but Katya seemed fully incapable of sitting still for longer than a minute and a half at a time.

The blonde girl with her uneven bangs and denim jacket would change from one absurd position seated on the floor to another, sometimes pointing her camera up at Ginger or around the room and sometimes just fiddling with the knobs on the lens absentmindedly. She glanced over at Trixie once or twice, grinning when the freshman looked away hurriedly with pink cheeks.

The moment the meeting ended, Kim was practically dragging Trixie back to their room, comically exasperated on how long it had taken to get through the floor rules (most of which had not surprisingly had to do with what the punishment for getting caught with booze or weed in your room would be).

That night, after Trixie returned from her first shower in the communal, stall-filled bathroom, she curled up in an unfamiliar bed for the first time and sighed. Kim had fallen asleep quickly, but Trixie was wide awake, staring at the ceiling and thinking. Not necessarily thinking about anything in particular just… thinking.

When she rolled over she checked her phone which had been sitting on the stand beside her bed, the light of the screen making her squint after having acclimated to the deep black of the room.

There was only one message, but it made her heart feel lighter.

 

From: Ty

move in go okay?

 

Trixie smiled softly, quickly swiping the message to the right and typing out a response.

 

From: Trix

i got lost trying to find the dorm

but i made it and i’m all moved in!

my roommate seems nice

and i already met another costume design major!

art school is wild i already saw a girl with blue hair

blue hair ty! what would pastor harold say?

 

From: Ty

good to see college hasn’t mellowed you out at all, sis

pastor harold is like 200 and would be aghast that you, a woman, are going to college at all let alone meeting blue haired heathens

 

From: Trix

i’m a true abomination are you proud?

 

From: Ty

so proud

i’m sorry i couldn’t help you move

 

Trixie softened, scooting farther underneath the quilt she had made out of old baby blankets and dresses from her childhood despite the sweltering heat of a Chicago summer.

 

From: Trix

you had to work, i understand

don’t worry so much about it

i handled it just fine on my own i promise

 

From: Ty

you’ll have to send me pictures of your room

 

From: Trix

only once i’ve decorated

 

From: Ty

fair enough

 

Trixie watched as the three little dots appeared and disappeared a few times, signalling that her older brother was either typing out a longer message than he had ever written to her or that he was thinking long and hard about what he was trying to say next. She knew her brother well enough to know what was coming, but that didn’t mean she was thrilled by it.

 

From: Ty

you tell mom you’ve gotten settled?

 

From: Trix

not yet

 

From: Ty

kid, just send her a message to let her know you made it to chicago safe

 

From: Trix

i don’t live with her anymore so it’s none of her business

 

From: Ty

you don’t mean that

 

She didn’t.

 

From: Trix

i know i don’t

 

From: Ty

when she doesn’t hear from you she worries and i end up listening to her freak out on the phone for two hours

please text our mother

 

From: Trix

you’re the worst

 

From: Ty

only the worst for you

now go to sleep you have big college things to do tomorrow

 

From: Trix

i’ll text her

goodnight doofus

 

Trixie set her phone screen down on her stomach tapped her fingernails against the plastic of the case as she stared at the ceiling once more.

Leaving for college had meant leaving so much behind, and at first that had been terrifying for Trixie. As a young girl, she never would have imagined leaving Wisconsin, of living anywhere too far away from the mother she loved so dearly. But as she grew older, as she discovered so much about who she was and where she was from, the people that inhabited her town, she couldn't not dream of getting as far away as possible.

Trixie loved her mother, and she knew deep down that this had nothing to do with her, but she was so tied up in the middle of all of Trixie’s demons that sometimes it got hard to separate the two in her head. But Tyler was right, her brother was always maddeningly right, and so she unlocked her phone and sent off one last text before falling asleep:

I made it to Chicago. Promise to call soon.

Love you.