Saturday, January 1, 2011

Finals Week 2010

I think the first post should be about the end. My disjointed musings on finals week.

We were playing Magic on the floor of Sam's apartment. Alex handed Sam a card. “You can't play this card.” Alex handed Sam another card. “You can't play this card either. You see the number at the top, you have to have that many resource cards out.” Alex looked hard at his deck, smiled, and handed Sam another card.

“You can't play this card.” Sam burst out laughing. Alex hung his head and dropped the last card in his hand onto the floor where we were playing.

“You can play that card.”

I was trapped. Trapped in my own mental blockage and far too easily distracted by my friends to work. Another cig break, get some coffee, chill out and watch some youtube, tell a dirty joke, ask about someone's finals, talk to a visitor, organize my notes, and then start to write. Time for another cig break.

A table of people sitting around looking at their screens. Papers everywhere, wrappers and snacks strewn about, headphones in ears, fingers twirling hair, glasses on, and empty coffee cups strategically placed within arms reach.

The snow was welcome, but I didn't know it even existed. The fluorescent light was unchanging. The fan buzzed, pumping out a/c in the middle of December.

A potluck of way too much food. Three days of meals. Sugar and fat. The two combinations that show the love. Goodbye Ben, you will be missed. Congratulations on graduating.

At nine I woke up and let the day begin like any other. Ben and I sat on the couch staring at a blank television lamenting the broken state of the remote. We talked, James came down and we had a little breakfast. It wasn't an ordinary morning. The last morning for me, the last morning for Ben, an unacknowledged goodbye to college life. It's funny how a goodbye happens only in the last 30 seconds. Even less. Perhaps the time before leaving is the opportunity to be present with someone important.

A little coffee. A quiet goodbye. The midst of finals. I left; but I felt like I was still there. “See you tomorrow.” An easy lie I unconsciously told myself. I held the coffee. Outside of the library. It was cold but the sun was bright and everything was a moment of sunshine in an otherwise bitter and tough winter. The sky a deep blue, the grass a graduated yellow-green. Flecks of snow fell. Cigarette smoke mixed with our frosty exhalations. Laugh at a joke. Katie's blond hair catching the light. Alex's dark pea coat. Red holiday Starbuck's cups. Little bits of bright paper holding energy and warmth. A lonely morning, a private sayonara in a public place. The hush of finals, a campus in hibernation.