When the last of us finishes finals, we drink. Run our pinkies around the edges of Jell-O shots and slurp, strawberry, lime, an unidentifiable flavor we just call blue. Spit out the mushy, tasteless Swedish fish swimming in the Jell-O. Cinco de Mayo celebration with Tostitos, mild salsa and two dorm room desks covered with bottles. Our own bar. Pray the RA on duty skips our sorority house tonight. We contemplate ordering Papa John’s. Last weekend the delivery boy forgot our two-liter Coke so he gave us a voucher: two for free. We’re running low on mixers but nix pizza since none of us earned enough selling back textbooks. “We’ll just do shots once the mixers disappear.” Problem solved. Peach schnapps and iced tea, lemonade and strawberry vodka. TV plays Aladdin in the background, brand new Blu-Ray. Our voices shriek, then hush when we hear the door open downstairs until we realize it’s our roommates heading to trivia at the tavern. We text our exes and our almost-somethings in fickle desperation, like the room is filling to the top with water, limiting our chances left to breathe. We don’t mention the G-word. Anytime we try, we flick the word away with our fingers, like crumbs left on the dining hall table by the group who ate before us. Next weekend, the G-word will steal some of us, kick us into the real world, leave our group full of holes. We can’t decide which is worse: leaving or staying behind to reassemble the leftovers.
A flashlight beam. Public safety. “Probably wants to check how drunk we are.” The officer swings his arms wide when he walks even though there’s no gun on his belt to bump. He gives us his “crazy kids” head shake. “I need you all to stay in the light.” He points at the sputtering streetlamp. “University policy. Don’t want anything happening to you.” He waits. We gather the blanket and start our pilgrimage back across the field. “Bullshit,” we hiss as he struts away. “Who’s going to attack the group of us?” “Someone crazy. And I don’t think a beam of light is going to deter him much.”
The streetlight shines in our eyes and we can’t see the stars. Lie on the grass, scan the sky anyway. Our cars face us in a row, three piled with suitcases and boxes and hampers, ready to drive home tomorrow morning. Two cars remain empty. They’ll wait out Senior Week until they too fill with belongings. The next time our cars reunite, it’ll be Homecoming or a twenty-first birthday. “Who do you think will take our two empty parking spots next year?” we wonder. We are seniors. Juniors. Sophomores. Just for tonight. Soon we will be alumni, seniors, juniors, moving up and moving out. But for tonight, we are still a we.