The start of my first semester as a first-year at Elizabethtown College, the date is August 30, 2012…
The final statement is read aloud. Backpacks shuffle with freshly received handouts, and itching feet scurry through the door. Down a flight of stairs, my feet lead me from the Steinman building and into the emerging sunlight. It disorients me for a few seconds, but I make my way towards the marble benches near the Commons. The benches are a bit warm, but the shade and quiet are inviting. I think I’ll start here.
As I sit, I notice the pine trees, still forest-green, a slight fragrance that is overshadowed by my body spritz and sunscreen. The green bug that crawls on the ground is a new sight and enemy. I scoot closer towards the other side closer to the black Hogwarts-like clock. A girl walks by me. I think she’s a runner. Either that or her shorts are abnormally unnecessary for my level of clothing security. The sun seems to hide behind the clouds for a bit and I notice a bit more people begin to emerge from their classes. A guy with really blonde hair and a maroon shirt shuffles by, in a pair of mismatched flip-flops nearly tramples over a girl engrossed in her conversation about this upcoming Labor weekend. I feel weird eavesdropping but continue to watch for more strangers.
A girl, with a highlighter orange shirt, sits at one of the black metal tables reading a red, and very thick textbook. I shudder not from the sudden breeze that picks up, but from the very thought. College. I sit for a bit more and notice a few acquaintances pass by my little grove, inquiring as to why I sit here. Alone. One wears her dining service shirt; navy and unspoiled. Another wears a pair of flared jeans and hoop earrings. However both wear a smile and wrinkled eyes from the revealing sun. I tell them a bit about my assignment for a writing class. They don’t understand, and after a bit more of catching up and how-do-you-dos, they wish me luck and head off to their respective locations: a desk or a dish room.
The cicadas make their incessant buzzing that is jarring yet strangely calming. Just so long as I don’t see any near me, I continue to relax and take notes. My brown sandals stick out against the white stone, and a beetle high fives my big toe. I flick it away in annoyance – paying more attention to the herd of students that just appeared out of thin air. Talks of finding a seat at the Marketplace, a training session or a friend’s current dating dilemma remind me of my own. Not dating. Just of an appointment that I have with a peer counselor of mine. As I check my phone, it feels light, as it always does. The air does as well. No garbage odors, an absence of humidity and manure, and sadly chocolate.
It is however a beautiful afternoon; few clouds are in the sky. I walk slowly for a bit from the grove, smelling the pine again as I nearly bump into a girl with her headphones in her ears. I feel like I’ve just came from a trip in the woods rather than a sit on a somewhat secluded bench. However, my notes are taken, an appointment must be made, and a narrative I must write later this evening.
By Ragina Lashley