Day 1 - Packing
Standing at the edge of my bed, I folded my clothes and put them in my suitcase. That had always been the way I packed-in piles. I had moved a lot as a kid, so I knew that was the easiest and fastest way to pack.
“Holly! Have you seen my light pink sweater?” Leaning back and peeking through the hallway-into my twin’s room-I saw Jill packing her suitcase.
“Is it an off-the-shoulder?” I motioned to my shirt, which was also off-the-shoulder.
“Yeah. Did Mom put it in your room?” I shrugged and walked over to my closet. Rummaging through my closet, I thought about how amazing yet horrifying college would be. That was what Jill and I were packing for-Central Michigan University. We were leaving for four years and were only coming home for breaks.
“Right here!” I pulled out the sweater and Jill walked over and took it from me.
“Thanks, sis. How’s packing going?” Jill smiled and looked at my piles.
“It’s going okay. You?” I shrugged again as Jill motioned towards her room. There were clothes strewn all over her floor.
“Awful. Can you help once you’re done?” Nodding, I went back to my packing and Jill went back into her room.
“She needs to take my advice on packing.” I rolled my eyes and finished up.
Day 2 - Moping Around
I sunk into my bed with my ice cream bowl resting on my chest. I sighed as I took my first bite. The sweet taste of the fresh strawberries mixed in was refreshing. This was Mom’s homemade ice cream, and she always made it when something big was happening. We were all supposed to save it for the day that Jill and I left, but I couldn’t help but sneak some.
“Holly?” Jill knocked on my door as she spoke and I moaned.
“What, Jill?” Jill walked in, closing the door behind her.
“You’ve been all upset since this morning. What’s going on?” Jill walked over to me and sat down next to me on my bed, stealing a bite of ice cream.
“Come on. Aren’t you upset, too? I mean, we’re leaving home. For four years. Maybe longer, just with how things might work out. The breaks just won’t be the same. We’re used to being home every day.” I stared at my bowl and sighed again.
“Those are all valid points. But we’re going to have to leave someday anyway. And we’ll both be able to become teachers if we go to Central. Just… take some time to think about it and I bet by tomorrow you’ll be excited again. Love you.” Jill smiled and gave me a half-hug.
“I love you, too.” I smiled back at her and Jill left my room.
Day 3 - Excited (But Still Worrying)
“I can’t believe I’m going to college! I mean, I’m an adult now! Legally, anyway. And I’ll be with Jill! This will be awesome.” I squealed and hugged Mom. We were standing in the kitchen, drinking our morning cups of coffee.
“I know, this is super exciting. But Dad, Larry, and I will miss you a lot. And Jill. We’re going to miss both of you. But then again, you’re going to become a teacher!” Mom hugged me again and I smiled weakly. She was right. But what if I got homesick?
“Good morning, family!” Jill bounced into the kitchen and poured herself her cup of coffee.
“So, how’s the idea of college settling with you today, Holly?” Leaning on the counter with my mug in my hands, Jill looked at me intently; I shrugged.
“Okay. I’m way more excited, but a little worried about what it’s going to be like and if I get homesick. Other than that, I’m ready to go!” I took a sip of my coffee and sighed. “How ‘bout you, Jilly?” Jill took a long drink of her coffee before replying.
“Really good, actually. The idea of going out and becoming independent is awesome. And the fact that I’m going to become a teacher just makes it that much better. But I’m super nervous. Like, do I have to choose a grade before I start my classes? And what if I become an outsider? What if the classes are super hard and I flunk?” My eyes immediately widened and Mom enveloped her in a hug. I could hear Jill start to cry.
“It’ll be okay, Jilly. We’ll figure it out. We still have a couple more days before we leave, so I’m sure we can call the school and ask. We’ll be okay.” I reached over and put my hand on her shoulder. She pulled away from Mom and wiped her tears.
“Yeah. You’re probably right. Let’s have amazing days since they’re our last at home for a while.” Mom smiled at us both and I smiled back.
“I’m so proud of you girls.” At that moment, our little brother Larry and Dad walked in.
“Goooooood morning, people!” Larry spread his arms out wide and we all laughed.
“Morning. Is there any-”
“There’s a pot of coffee next to the sink, Dad.” I pointed, and Dad walked over there.
“Thank you, guys. By the way, who’s making breakfast?” We all laughed and I turned on the stove.
Day 4 - Celebrating
Jill and I held hands as we stood just outside the sliding glass door with blindfolds over our eyes. They had been put there by our parents; apparently, there was a huge surprise for us in the backyard.
“Are you nervous?” Jill had leaned over to whisper.
“Yeah. Completely. What do you think they have planned?” I heard Jill sigh, and I could tell that she shrugged because her shoulder rubbed up against mine. Jill moved back but still held on to my hand. We could hear Mom and Dad’s hushed voices, but couldn’t make out words.
“Alright! Girls, are you ready for the surprise of your life?! Take off those blindfolds in THREE, TWO, ONE!” I let go of Jill’s hand and reached around to the back of my head. I untied the blindfold and let it drop to the ground. My hand immediately flew to my open mouth.
“Oh. My. Gosh.” I looked over at Jill, and she was having about the same reaction.
“Guys! This is so sweet.” Jill smiled, and I let my hand drop to my side to reveal my smile as well. There were about two hundred people in our backyard, and each person was holding a present. Mom and Dad walked over to us from their position off to the right and gave us each a hug.
“Is this a good surprise?” Mom still held onto Jill and I could hear them talking about it, but Dad rested his hands on my shoulders and looked me in the eye.
“I am so very proud of you. You have become a strong woman, and I know you will do an amazing job at college, and you will be the best teacher that a kid could ask for. Come here.” Dad let go of my shoulders and wrapped me in a huge hug.
“I love you, Daddy.”
“I love you, too.”
“Hey! Holly! That was super sweet and all, but we have a butt load of people here for us! Shouldn't we say hi?” Dad released me and I laughed with Jill.
“Yeah, I guess.” I winked at her and we walked to everyone. I said hello to all of my family first, then started chatting with all of my friends. At one point, I held my little cousin while I opened presents.
The rest of the day was just as amazing. And everyone absolutely loved Mom’s ice cream.
Day 5 - Leaving
The environment of the airport overwhelmed me. Jill and I already had our tickets, so we were just sitting in front of the Dunkin’ Donuts that was close to our terminal, munching on some donuts. Mom and Dad had just wandered off to find a place that sold bottled water. My eyes were half-closed; it was six in the morning after all.
“Thirty minutes and we’ll be on a plane heading to Michigan to go to college. Are you nervous?” I looked up from my donut and at Jill.
“For college or the flight?” Jill tilted her head at me and furrowed her eyebrows.
“College, of course. We’ve been on a plane before.” I shrugged.
“I think I’ve come to terms with it. I mean, I’m going to become a teacher, and that’s my dream. I think that it’s just hard to deal with at first. But now I’m actually excited. And we’ll be together. So, it’ll be okay.” I took a big bite of my mini chocolate donut, closing my eyes. “How’s it settling with you?” Jill sighed and I raised my eyebrows.
“I’m still nervous. What if we somehow end up in different apartments? I know that they’re the school’s apartments, so it’ll go by the last name, but still. What if someone messes it up and we’re not together? I need you.” Jill looked like she was about to cry, so I got up and gave her a hug.
“Jilly. It’ll be okay. And even if we don’t end up in the same apartment, we’ll still be in the same classes and we can always visit each other. We’ll be fine.” I gave Jill one last squeeze before letting her go and sitting back down.
“Thanks, Holly.” Wiping her tears away, Jill attempted a smile.
“There’s our girls!” Mom and Dad were suddenly at our table again with big smiles on their faces. I glanced at Jill, and she was really smiling again.
“Ooh, donuts.” Dad reached over and plucked a chocolate donut from my plate. I rolled my eyes in fake annoyance and we all laughed.
“Well, we better get to the terminal so you guys won’t be late.” Mom smiled even brighter and I couldn’t help but give her a hug. I grabbed my backpack and stuffed the last donut in my mouth before throwing the plate away.
I would miss my family, but I was starting to think college wouldn’t be so bad.