Riley's cheerfulness that followed the dismissal of her last class dimmed a little as she walked to her dorm room. The walls were a collage of photographs, concert tickets and hand drawn comics; most of which were aimed to mock Arriane and Riley's least favorite professors, poking fun at their expense.
Riley sighed. Every inch of the wall was covered. She hadn't seen the dull blue paint in years. She was not looking forward to the tedious task of stripping the walls. The pictures, and ticket stubs, were their fondest memories tacked up in plain sight. Now Riley would be facing the real world. Even if it was with Arriane, she wouldn't be allowed to hide behind her friend forever. She would be asked, if not forced to grow up. She'd find a nine to five job, sitting behind a desk, typing away at a computer. Maybe in a few years she would meet someone and marry, and from there what came next? Children, grandchildren, inevitably death?
The room became smaller, and Riley's breath's came out shallow. She wasn't ready to leave the safety of University, the moment they handed her the diploma it would be as if the world was watching her with with scrutiny and new expectations. Riley kept her fears to herself. In the back of her mind she wasn't sure how she could part with university. It offered her a safe haven away from the real world.
Slowly, Riley regained her composure as she began to take down the pictures, revealing tiny little holes where her memories had been. She took down the pictures, glimpsing briefly at each one; a picture of Riley, Henry, Arriane and Damien, in front of the campus stole her attention. It was taken three years ago. Riley let out a breath she had been holding; it was amazing how three years could change a person. She stuffed the pictures in an old shoe box, along with her nostalgia.
A couple hours later the walls were bare, and porous. She was sure their RA would frown upon this. Riley toyed with a strand of her red hair. She plugged her ear buds in, blasting an old Sublime song. She shook her head, dismissing her own doubts. I can't be fearful, she told herself. She was going to London with her best friend in the whole world, that alone was reason to celebrate, and So Riley did. She reached under her mattress, until her hands found the tiny flask of cheap liquor. “Here's to fond memories and many more to come,” she said to the bare walls, before raising the flask to her lips.