Short Story: "Mariah Visits Her Alma Mater"

Mariah flopped down onto Sam's couch and blew out an exasperated sigh.

"What's the matter, chica?" her friend asked, with those large, dark eyes full of sympathy.

"My sister is in college, and she and her sorority pals are driving me nuts!"

"Uh-oh, what's she done now?" Sam asked.

"She puts glitter on everything," Mariah said. "I crashed at her dorm last night, and apparently she and the girls on her floor have commandeered the communal bathroom to use as another bedroom. They squeezed in a twin bed and bunk bed, but they didn't put a sign on the door indicating it's not a public restroom anymore.

"So I go in there in the middle of the night to use the toilet, and I instinctively flipped on the lights when I walked in. I was bombarded by angry yells and airhorns.

"While I tried to get myself safely into a stall to pee — yeah, it was an emergency — they had enough time to douse me with water, glitter, confetti and craft paint, like a Michaels store vomited on me.

"It's like they have a special little craft sabotage table set up in the corner waiting for unsuspecting alums to stumble in half-awake and receive their punishment."

Sam raised an eyebrow and chuckled, for a moment slipping into a reverie, recalling her own college dorm days, when so many of the pranks you'd get expelled for in high school were suddenly OK, as long as you could keep word from spreading to your resident assistant. Sometimes, even that was unnecessary, provided she was fun-loving and discreet.

Once, Sam and her suite mates compiled a list of "not supposed to's" and did them all, from repainting the dorm room to candlelight dinners cooked on hot plates, to smuggling in kittens they successfully kept hidden for weeks.

After freshman year, the thrill of rule-breaking eventually wore off, especially as class loads got heavier and she and her friends got part-time jobs.

"Don't you think this will be just a phase for your sister, Mariah?" Sam asked.

Mariah leaned back and pictured her sister and her roommates holding the airhorns and glitter, and sighed again. When had she ever been so loud and destructive? How could a sibling raised in the same household be so very different? Surely Mariah's love of all things quiet and peaceful would eventually trickle down.

She laughed at the thought, shaking her head at herself.

"My sister is fire, and I am water," Mariah said. "Do you think that will be a phase?"

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