"Hey Jess, we're here," Her aunt turned around and smiled gently at her. "We got your room all fixed up for you, and all of your stuff moved in."
"What?" Jess yelled, as her finger spun the volume control upward on her Ipod. "Sorry! I can't HEAR YOU!" Her words grew louder and louder.
"I said… WE'RE HERE!"
"WHAT?" Jessica yelled back, not making a move towards removing her over- sized head phones. She almost wanted to laugh as she watched her aunt stuggle to maintain her composure.
"Jessica- will you please take off those HEADPHONES?" Her aunt's nostrils flared and she pointed to her ears.
"OH LOOK- WE'RE HERE!" And without another word, she hopped out of the car and walked towards the house, softly singing along to the song that was playing.
She found her room easily enough. She had been to this house lots of times. The bedroom belonged to her older cousin Janice, who was grown now and had her own family out west.
She sighed as she looked around the room, everything was pink and frilly, but she didn't take it personally. It had been like this when her cousin owned the room, and on such short notice, her aunt hadn't had time to redecorate.
Of course, even if she had had the time, she knew her Aunt Sheila felt like all girls should love pink. And frills. Jessica hated frills, and pink, and she really hated pink frills. She felt like she had fallen head first into a cotton candy machine.
The light pink shag carpet in the center of the room was covered in cardboard boxes. Each box was carefuly labeled in her aunt's handwriting: "Jessica's clothing", "Jessica's leisure books", "Jessica's school books." They should have just been labled: "Jessica's life." As if her life could have been neatly packed in a box and shipped two hundred miles from all she had ever known.
With a sigh she flopped down onto the pink bedspread, and leaned back against the white lace pillow. She closed her eyes, and tried to block out the pink. She tried to pretend that she wasn't here, in this room. She tried to imagine that she was back in her real home, in her own bedroom. She imagined that her mom was downstairs cooking dinner. Chicken parmagan, Jessica's favorite. It was like she had just come home from ice hockey practice. Her backpack was on the floor, at the foot of the bed where she always left it. Her hockey bag was parked by her doorway, waiting for the next game.
She could almost make herself believe that today was just like every other day.
The tears caught her by surprise. One moment she was living her fantasy, the next she was crying. She turned over and let the fancy feather pillow muffle her sobs. There was a gently knock on the door.
"Jessica, honey? Are you okay?"
She sprang up quickly, and swiped at her tears. "Yeah, I'm fine," she lied.
"Okay… We're having dinner in an hour, Jason and Uncle Matt will be home by then."
"Sounds good!" She tried to sound bright and cheerful as stared at the door knob, willing it not to turn.
"Do you want some help unpacking?"
The door stayed shut.
"No, I can do it."
"Alright…" She heard her aunt's foot steps quietly retreating from the door.
With a sigh, Jessica went to the box marked "Jessica's leisure books" and pulled out the first book she put her hand on and almost laughed at the bitter irony. Harry Potter, the champion of orphans everywhere. Except Jessica wasn't a wizard and her aunt and uncle had given her a pink frilly bedroom instead of a cupboard under the stairs. She wasn't exactly destined to save the wizarding world either. She was just an ordinary girl, who suddenly found herself very much alone.