On Pulling my Hair Out in Clumps

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
One night in Florence, Italy on a school trip with people I didn't particularity care for.

Submitted: July 10, 2009

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 10, 2009



All nineteen of us squeezed into the munchkin sized elevator like sardines, exhausted after spending all day walking around Florence. I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open. The doors dinged and opened to the second floor. Amy, one of my roommates, and I trudged down the hall to our room, number 217. I held the oversized key in my hand.

Once I completed the draining task of unlocking the door, I walked into the very pink room and dumped my hideous blue and orange EF Tour backpack on the floral bed. Amy turned on the shrunken TV to CSI: in Italian, which was next to impossible to understand, considering neither of us knew the language. I pulled my shoes off and sat cross-legged on my bed. We waited for the Arizona girls to get in.

Their knock came a few minutes later. Amy stood up to let them in while I stayed on my less than comfortable bed. The two rushed in quickly, stripping their sweaty clothes off and rummaging around in their suitcases for some flashier items.

“There’s a bar right down the street!” Danielle exclaimed as she pulled out her hair tie and fluffed it a bit. “And since there’s no drinking age here…”

“Were going to get a couple of shots,” Layla finished. I was honestly surprised that they had enough energy to down alcohol. “You coming?” she asked us.

I gave her my fatigue excuse. I figured that wouldn’t take as long to explain as the ‘I don’t like to drink’ excuse. Amy just shook her head.

“Are you sure?” Danielle pressed, “Jasmine and Kevin are coming and so are a few of the Montana people.” I shook my head again and yawned to emphasize my point.


Twenty minutes later, both of them came stomping into the room, muttering something about someone faking drunkenness. I heard giggles in the hallway followed by the sound of someone falling. I looked up to Layla and Danielle questioningly.

“She had one shot,” Danielle told me tersely, yanking her hair into a ponytail. The band snapped into place loudly.

“Who?” I asked, though I thought I might have known the answer, unless it was a Montana girl. They were always trying to get drunk.

“That Jasmine chick from your group,” Layla answered. I pursed my lips together, not allowing the annoyance to flair. Always with the pining for attention. Her parents probably didn’t hug her enough.

Suddenly, the subject of our annoyance stumbled into our room. “I am…so…drunk.” She giggled, swaying back and forth. Kevin came in behind her, big surprise there. He followed her around like a puppy. Jasmine turned to him and gripped his forearm suggestively.

“I’ve never actually had a shot before,” he told us, his words a little sloppier than usual. I didn’t really believe him. “I feel a little buzzed right now.” I was very quiet.

Jasmine’s cousin opened her door from across the hall and stared at the swaying girl hanging all over Kevin. “God, Jasmine. Get a grip. You’re not even f’ing drunk. Take a shower and stop being an idiot.” She had her hands on her hips in a very maternal gesture.

“I am…notdrunk.”  Jasmine giggled and stumbled back into Kevin. I balled my hands into fists; she was making the female gender look like sluts. But if I stayed out of this, I wouldn’t make unnecessary enemies.

There was more noise on the hallway floor and Hannah and her posse joined us in our room. As if it weren’t crowed enough already. Jasmine rolled her eyes and left, saying something about the Montana girls having wine in their rooms. I wasn’t surprised.

“This needs to stop,” Hannah informed us, as if we were enabling Jasmine’s attention addiction.  Her fingers drummed against the desk. The sound was irritating. 

“I agree,” I muttered. No one was really supposed to hear, but I couldn’t keep quiet anymore. Now that Jasmine was gone, I didn’t have to worry about ticking her off. “I don’t think she’s even drunk.” I actually had no idea whether she was or not, I had no real experience in these situations. But I figured those who accused her of not being drunk did.

“I know,” Hannah told me gratefully. “We’re going to lock her in her room so she will shower and go to bed.” She nodded to the girls behind her.

“Good luck with that,” I encouraged halfheartedly, while at the same time measuring the degree of stupid that fit this plan. But really, as long as I didn’t have to be involved, I wouldn’t get in their way. I had no interest in all the Jasmine drama.

“I think we should leave the key in here,” she suggested, throwing a sidelong glance to Amy, who nodded. I cringed internally. This was exactly the kind of involvement I was hoping to avoid.

Hannah nodded, and she and her loyal friends left on their noble crusade to rescue Jasmine from the clutches of wine-filled girls and their boy toys. I was just a little surprised when a few minutes later they dragged a non-drunk (I assumed) and angry Jasmine into her room. I expected more of a catfight than she provided, but I wasn’t complaining.

“Take a shower and go to bed,” Hannah commanded as if she were God. Jasmine told her where she could go and slammed the door. Hannah actually looked offended, like she didn’t think she deserved any of Jasmine’s unimpressive wrath. I thought that perhaps the drama was over. Hannah sat Jasmine’s key on the desk in our room and went back upstairs. I reveled in the silence.

Not five minutes later, Sam came storming down the stairs, grabbed the key from our room, unlocked the door and stomped back upstairs, key in hand. Amy and I stared after her massive body openmouthed in shock. She didn’t even like Jasmine, so why she was helping her, I couldn’t fathom. Jasmine ran out of her room with wet soapy hair and wrapped in a towel, screaming nonsense about Nazis and death camps. I moaned and flopped down on the bed. There was more noise on the stairs.

“Can you believe what Sam did?” I heard someone ask through gritted teeth from our doorway a few seconds later. Would the carnage never end? I lifted my head to see Hannah back in our doorway, her eyes brimmed with tears. She had Jasmine’s key in her hand.

“What did she do?” Amy prompted, just as bored with the whole deal as I was.

“She threw this key at me and it hit me on the shoulder.” So let’s make a big deal out of it. Jasmine did some more screaming from the hallway, sounding possessed.

“Why?” I complained, staring up at the ceiling.

“She didn’t like us locking Jasmine in her room.” Her voice was colored in disbelief, as if she truly believed her idea was perfectly flawless, which it wasn’t. I wanted to sock her in the face, but that really wasn’t going to solve anything.

“We’re going to put Jasmine back.” I didn’t feel like reminding her that it didn’t work so well last time. That wouldn’t solve anything either.  Because when has anything that I’ve said mattered.

A few minutes after Hannah and her girls left, Sam came back into our room, slid down the wall, and started crying. I looked over to Amy, helpless.

She sighed. “I’ll go deal with Jasmine if you want to stay here…” She watched with disgust as Sam sobbed excessively in the corner. I nodded grudgingly and she left me alone with the blubbering whale.

“I was just trying to do the right thing,” Sam sobbed in her hands.

“Yeah…” There was no way I was going to waste breath on excess comfort to this girl. She wasn’t trying to do the right thing, she just want wanted to prove somehow that she was better than Hannah and everyone else. As if her 30 ACT score meant anything when dealing with matters of common sense. Whatever.

“That’s what I was taught. Locking her in her room was a violation of her basic human rights. They had no right to lock her in there…” Yeah. Of course that was why she provoked a fight with Hannah. Human rights were so important to Sam. I pretended to listen to her monologue, which somehow drifted from the subject of Jasmine’s temporary imprisonment to the financial state of the Bradford family.

“My mom had to sell her car just so that I could come on this trip. We are so poor that we have to eat Raman noodles every night for dinner. My brother has to sleep on the floor. My boyfriend stays down in the basement…” Talk about responsible parenting. Her mindless droning of the tragedies of poverty went on for another ten minutes at least before there was a knock on the door. I looked up to see Mr. Bee standing in the doorway. A surge of gratitude washed through me, until he started yelling.

He reminded us louder than necessary that we weren’t the only people in the hotel, that if there was a problem, we should tell him or Mrs. Bee instead of trying to solve it ourselves. He told us to get to our rooms and to stay there until morning. Even though he looked at Sam through most of his speech, I honestly felt that his anger was directed at me, too.

So the entire time he was yelling, I felt like crap. I could’ve done more to stop the drama, I could’ve insisted on the stupidity of the plan, that Sam leave the key. There was just too much drama. But at the end, Mr. Bee turned to look at me. “You know I’m not yelling at you, Thistle,” he told me proudly. “You are probably the most responsible person on this trip. Kathy and I are so happy to have you here.” And with that, he escorted a freshly sobbing Sam out of the room.

I assumed that the hectic night was over, until around 11:30 when another knocking hand tapped on our door. Layla and Danielle seemed very excited as they ran to the door to answer it. Enter Gabriella. A crying, seemingly heartbroken Gabriella. And all I wanted was sleep.

“He…was…screwing…another girl.” She actually used a different verb, but the meaning was the same.

“What?” Danielle wailed, wrapping her arms around Gabriella. I rolled my eyes and stuffed the pillow over my face.

“Kevin,”–this was Kevin number two, Senior Kevin. Kevin number one was Junior Kevin–“I went…to that…party…in the Montana girls’ room…and I walked in…and he was doing it with her right on the floor.” Again, she had a slightly different verb choice.

“Are you kidding me?” I muttered into my pillow. Either no one heard or no one cared.

Layla led Gabriella over to a bed and patted her head gently. “I thought you didn’t even like him.”

“I didn’t,” Gabriella cried. “But now I think I do. I think I’m falling in love with him.” Oh for goodness sake. She was just going to miss all the attention he gave her. Was everyone on this trip a prima donna?

“Can I sleep in here with you guys?” Gabriella asked carefully. Clearly, she was asking the Arizona girls, not me. And when she said sleep, she obviously meant, “Can I stay in here all night talking about how much I suddenly love Kevin?” Hmm, sleep or a twisted love triangle?

“Sure,” Layla told her soothingly. I moaned and rolled over toward the wall, hoping to block the pathetic scene behind me out.

© Copyright 2020 ThistleBerkley. All rights reserved.

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