Back in Sarah’s room, in the middle of her unassuming twin bed sat a thin black binder and a plastic bag filled with toiletries. On the floor were the contents of Sarah’s duffle bag. Not much was it in to begin with, but it had been stripped of anything useful probably by someone doing their due diligence and then once again by someone stumbling across an opportunity to fleece the new girl. A pretty journal she hadn’t yet written in and, of course, all of the cash Gabriella was coveting. Hell, she tried to warn her. Sarah made a mental note to listen to Gabriella next time.
Sarah plopped down on the bed with the binder in her lap and the bed let out a squeak and a groan (of course it did). She opened the binder and found a list of house rules. Privileges and proposed punishments. Chores. An invitation to visit the clothes closet. A reminder to return what she no longer used. Laundry rules. Kitchen rules. Rules upon rules upon rules.
In the plastic bag she found a toothbrush. Tampons. No-name brand toothpaste and Suave shampoo. A comb. Hair ties. A bar of soap. Plain underwear. She was thankful the underwear was in a sealed package. Hanes. Women’s briefs. Microfiber. It felt like Christmas. Christmas in hell.
She flipped the binder open again. There was a schedule on page two. A guide of where to be and what she should be doing during specific blocks of time. The schedule was similar to the one she had in rehab. But it looked like she’d have more free time on her hands living here. Therapy happened on your own time. But ‘Rap’ was mandatory for all housemates and happened promptly at 7pm.
Sarah heard a knock on her door and a male voice say “Come eat.” She didn’t respond. She was still miffed about someone stealing her $27 dollars. She was sure it wasn’t Gabriella but it could have been just about anyone else. Including the friendly male voice. What asshole steals the change too? Fuckers cleaned her out. She’s too tired to play the “wasn’t me” game with everyone in the house. She’s tired all the time lately.
Sarah tore the house schedule out of her binder and tacked it up on the cork board next to the business card. She was due in Rap session in about 45 minutes according to the schedule. She’d rest her eyes until then. Fuck dinner. Fuck this place. And fuck everyone living in it.
Sarah fell asleep quickly but unfortunately couldn’t stay asleep very long. The nap was a mistake. She felt terrible and she was starving. The breeze that was flapping the curtain earlier was long gone. Her tongue felt gummy. She was on fire.
Sarah sat up and the room spun. She braced herself with two hands on either side of her hips.
“Oh my god. I’m going to throw up!” she shouted. She barely made it to the tiny waste basket beside her desk before heaving and hurling up everything she has eaten since the day she was born. Well, not quite, but it certainly felt that way. Just as soon as the wave of nausea came, it dissipated. Sarah sat on the floor of her halfway house room and cursed herself.
“Fuck me.” she mumbled. “I’m pregnant.”