I broke the hamper the same day we bought it— maybe even as soon as I rolled it out of Bed, Bath and Beyond.
It was August, a hot day in Bowling Green between the end of my summer internship in Florida and the beginning of my senior year in Lexington.
The hamper was for my sister Ashtyn, about to start her freshman year at UK. Someone else went to replace it with a non-broken one.
This past Monday, I rolled that hamper down the long stretch of hallway from room 359 to the elevator. Ashtyn was maneuvering a grocery cart piled high with Ashtyn’s freshman year, her full-length mirror the peak. My mom had just stowed the mirror in the cart after stabbing me in the ankle with the corner. I looked down and saw blood threatening to stain my white Converse.
“Can I look at her again?” Ashtyn said, stepping back into her dorm room before the door swung shut. Like a man with a boat, she’s been assigning female pronouns to things recently.
Moments later, waiting for the elevator, I looked around the corner to catch a glimpse of room 310, where I lived during my freshman year.
“At least you got to live there a whole year,” Ashtyn said, but I thought, At least you get to come back to this campus.
My sister and mother had driven from Bowling Green that morning; I had been in Lexington for a few days, finishing a class project and packing up pieces of my own apartment.
By the time I had met them at Haggin, Ashtyn had taken off our mom’s UK College of Law sweatshirt, circa mid-1990s, because she was hot.
Originally my dad was going to be the move-out parent, but after the plans changed, I said it was appropriate for the three of us, past and present Wildcat women, to handle this task.
Not surprisingly, my mom made us pause at the Haggin Hall sign to take a photo. It was an echo of the photo we took August 19, 2019, the day we moved Ashtyn in. In a few weeks, I might have taken a photo there in my cap and gown, documenting where I spent my first night as a UK student.
Once we had loaded the last of her things— and congratulated ourselves for a well-packed Honda Pilot— we returned the grocery cart to the lobby. I threw a used Clorox wipe into the trash can; Ashtyn slid her room key into a tiny envelope and dropped it into a box already full of keys surrendered too soon.
We walked back into the sunlight and toward the flashing hazard lights of the car. Ashtyn looked down at her phone; she had gotten an email from UK Residential Life. She read it aloud.
“Our records indicate you moved.”