She walks through the lobby, onto the elevator, and out into the third floor hallway of Grayton Suites. After fishing her key card out of her backpack, she walks in and flips on the light as she sighs. Hotel rooms across the country look remarkably similar. She sets down her backpack and turns on the TV. Despite her propensity for alone time, she’s afraid of silence. Picking up her journal, she sits down on the pull out couch that is her bed and thinks about her first day at George Washington Carver High School. She taps the pencil against the next empty page and thinks. She thinks about how she has almost mastered the art of looking like she doesn’t care that she’s eating alone in the cafeteria. She thinks about how different and similar the now nine high schools she has attended have been. She thinks about the boy who drove her home. She thinks about the boy who drove her home and his truck. She thinks about his truck and his pony tail and his hand in hers and she smiles.
Jolted out of thoughts, Lee turns to see her dad walking through the door. He’s carrying a pizza box. “I am so so sorry, honey. I got caught up with work and I promise, it’ll never happen again.” “It’s fine, dad.” It’s also untrue, dad. Of course it will happen again. One would think that since Lee’s mom died when she was just five, father and daughter would have a closer relationship. The truth is, his wife’s death wrecked Lee’s dad in ways she knew could never be fixed. Staying focused on work and moving forward (and moving cities) kept his mind off of the pain of missing his one true love. Lee could never decide if she were grateful she hadn’t known her mom long enough to feel such pain or if she were jealous to have never felt so strongly about another person. She thinks about the boy who drove her home and his truck.
“So, how was your day?” he asks. “How does Carver Washington High School measure up?” She rolls her eyes and opens the pizza box. “It’s George Washington Carver, dad, and it’s fine. It’s fine.” “Alright sweetie, just don’t stay up too late,” he replies as he types something into his phone and heads into his room, closing the door behind him. She settles into to another night alone with her thoughts and pizza in hand, she starts to write.