RE: What you left behind

RE: What you left behind

Students reflect on the people, objects and feelings they’ve left behind in 250 words or less.

I used to push open your door every day because we lived a floor apart and more likely than not, you were in your bed still waking up. The Strokes poster hung on your wall, your dirty makeup towel lying on the chair, stale fries from Fran’s on the bedside table. You'd look at me and smile.

"I got my period today, so you're due soon."

I used to find myself in crevices of people's lives. An apartment's mosh pit, floorboards bending in ways they shouldn't. A rooftop that echoed every bird's voice and stole ours because we didn't need them anymore. A bed I knew I shouldn't fall asleep in, so I didn't. I stayed awake, we talked, maybe I wouldn’t see them again. Most times, I did.

The thing is, I'm still here. By the lake’s cold waves and mosaic of painted rocks. I watched everyone go. I'm the extra sheets you forgot to take from your closet. The cigarette butts on the back porch next to the shattered liquor bottles. The stripped shoes by the boats under a half-moon. The love stories we bury and catastrophes we celebrate.

And I will be here when we come back.

You will look at me and smile, the smell of dry shampoo in the air.

"Got any cramps yet?"

- Gia Yetikyel

To be frank, the Communications Residential College is not the highest quality dorm on campus. But CRC has an important upside that negates its many negative qualities: the water pressure in the showers.

To validate many a breakup song, you truly do not know what you have until it’s gone. The CRC water pressure is like showering with a pressure washer but in a soothing, comfortable way as opposed to a painful, skin-tearing-off way. I did not know how lucky I was to be hammered by searing hot water at least once a day. Everytime I hid myself behind two layers of shower curtain for the peak of privacy for my shower, I found myself having to force myself from under the faucet so I wouldn’t turn into a human raisin. I didn’t realize how much good water pressure meant to me until I came home to discover for the first time that the shower I had used for over 5 years has the worst water pressure imaginable. It looks and feels like leftover water trickling out of a recently turned-off hose.

The change was so sudden and drastic that taking a shower at home has been a real challenge. Combined with the nonexistence of time in quarantine, it has led to me being completely unaware of when I last showered.

But quarantine is a time of challenges, and I will bear this cross. At least now I can listen to podcasts in the shower without irritating everyone on my floor.

- Fred Tippett

Over the past year, the Chili’s on Maple Street became an unlikely site for homework with friends. What began as a joke soon turned into a weekly retreat from stuffy libraries and overcrowded coffee shops. On any given weekday, you might have found us crammed into a booth, typing away at our laptops and taking advantage of the free chips and salsa we got through Chili’s Rewards. Believe it or not, Chili's is a great place to study. No nearby outlets — plus, wanting to avoid bemused stares from fellow restaurant patrons meant that I was never more focused while doing homework on my laptop.

I can think of other excursions with friends that just sort of happened one day. We would try something at random, and then it became our routine. And when the right people were involved, the routine grew in meaning, not mundanity. It became ritual.

On the one hand, there is no knowing what has been lost. We cannot know what kind of spontaneity would have led to a new tradition or what serendipity would have given us a new community or what random chance would have left us with a new favorite memory.

On the other hand, I left part of my dignity at the Chili’s on Maple Street. I don’t want it back, but I would give anything just to say once more, “Table for four, please.”

- Erika Barrios