College Series: “We swore we wouldn’t speak of it again.”


At 6:00 this morning with the truck loaded up with far too much crap, we drove my younger sister Alexa to her first day of college.  It would have been a two-hour long, mostly uneventful drive through New York state, if it weren’t for the fact that an hour into our travels my sister realized she left her wallet containing her driver’s license, debit card, insurance cards, and cash on the upstairs bathroom sink.

Well, that’s quite a problem, but  I quickly shot down the request to turn around.  Our move-in appointment was slated for 8:30 a.m. so we had no choice but to keep going with the promise that I’d take a trip to the post office upon my return.

We arrived to the school on time and made short work of emptying the car of her impressive collection of over 50 tee shirts.  Like most freshman, she had fallen into the trap of bringing along every article of clothing she owned.  Luckily, her roommate promised to bring the microwave and mini fridge, so that we were spared of lugging up to the third floor.

Alexa received her room key on a lanyard from a table in front of her dorm and we went upstairs to check things out.  Space was tight.  After re-arranging the room most of her things found a home.

Once the roommate arrived with her family and things became a bit hectic. They were coming from farther away and it was clear that their emotions were running high.  I myself was mostly antsy to be out of there.  I was a little angry at my sister for being so thoughtless in leaving behind something so important and inconveniencing me with an extra trip once I got home.

As we carried a bins of–you guessed it–more clothing than I’d seen her wear in the last 18 years of her life combined, Alexa handed me her room key so she’d have a free hand to open the stairwell door.  I put it in my pocket as I helpfully reminded her there wasn’t a chance in hell she’d use more than a quarter of what she brought.

After a few last minute chores, including a trip to the bookstore for an alarm clock and coffees, we said our goodbyes.  Once outside, I it dawned on me that I had forgotten something.  I raced back upstairs to grab a storage shelf that had nowhere to fit in the tight space… whew. Wouldn’t want to forget that.

We were less than an hour from home when we received the call.

“Hey Ally?  You drove off with my room key.  I need that…”

I felt my pocket and found the stupid little gold key on the stupid blue lanyard. Shit shit shit.

I began to argue that I could send it with her wallet in the mail–funny how now it wasn’t such a burden on my end–but it was clear there was no other choice.  Her bus to an outdoor orientation left in a little less than an hour, she needed to be able to get back in her room at night.

My dad’s face went a little purple as we popped an illegal U-turn at the next toll booth.  I can understand why.  Alexa and I both dropped the ball in different but equally inept ways.

Our four hours of scenic New York state drive became six today and once I was finally home I took that trip down to the post office to mail the forgotten wallet.  We all swore we wouldn’t speak of it again.


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