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The Rainbow Bridge: A New Beginning
Walking down Locust Walk, I felt the familiar breeze fly through my hair as the warm sun beat down me. It was the first week of classes, which still meant some craziness and confusion before I got settled down in my schedule. It was still really warm, the remnants of summer lingering like the Furies watching over your head, not letting you forget the guilt of the past. It reminded me too much of last summer, the last time I truly enjoyed every waking moment with Freddie. There. I brought him up again. All summer, something or another would always lead me back to him. Just saying I missed him would not begin to cover the range of emotions I felt every time I broached the subject, but guilt would definitely be included.
But I didn’t want to think of that now. This year was going to be different at least in that I wanted to move on from what happened during finals last year. I was walking to my first class in Williams, whose location I knew very well. But I was a little worried about my afternoon class that was in an unknown building I had never even heard of, but I had some more time to look for it after lunch. After my first class, the sun had been covered up by dark, gray clouds as I suspected a storm was pending. I had lunch from one of the food carts and then decided to go hunting for my next class.
I knew I would have to take Hamilton Walk and then veer off into some unknown path and end up at a single building in the heart of campus. I had my map with me, which only made me feel like I was a freshman again, even though I was a year older and supposedly a year more knowledgeable. I turned into what I thought was the obscure path, only to find myself in a little garden.
The other side was filled by the stone wall of another building, but it was covered with ivy that was spotted with little pink flowers. There was even a vine of dark red roses nestled within the ivy. Both sides of the tiny stone path were surrounded by beautiful apple trees, their white blossoms completely filling the view in both directions, as the petals were also strewn across the lush green grass that covered everything but the path. A small wooden bench sat underneath a tree on the left, almost completely shielded from everything else. I could smell the mix of fragrances from the flowers and hear small birds chirping from somewhere within the branches of the trees. It was the most beautiful place I had ever seen.
Yet, I felt that something was missing and only realized what it was when I felt a drop on my hand. Somehow, the overcast made the place feel a little gloomy, as though there could have been some spark, some magic there if only the sun shone down. I really hated the rain and I also realized that I was going to be late to class if I had to search for the building again. So I turned back on the same path, promising myself that I would return the next day the sun came out.
The rest of the week remained rainy and by the end, I was already enveloped with many things to do. I had an audition for the wind ensemble that Thursday, which I was pretty much ready for, but my playing over the summer had been depressing since it, too, reminded me of Freddie. Every time I picked up the French horn, I would think of the first time Freddie saw it and ran from the room terrified of the rather-large instrument. But my audition went well and I felt better coming out of it than going in.
I went back to my room in Rodin and saw my roommate, Karina, sitting in the kitchen.
“How was your first week?” she asked. Even though we were roommates, with our busy schedules, we hardly saw each other.
“Hectic. I feel like I already have too much to do. How about you?”
“Same here. I think orgo is going to be a busy class, I have a lot to do for it.”
“Well, that’s what we’ve heard. Hopefully, more work doesn’t mean it’s harder.”
“Yeah, but I think it will be okay.”
“Yeah, you do love chemistry! Find all your classes okay?”
“Yeah, but DRL is so far from our room.”
“I know, that’s what sucks about being in the high rises. I kinda miss the homeliness of King’s Court, but I like having a kitchen.”
We decided to get to our work and then have dinner together later. I went into my room and fell on my bed. The week was almost over, but the year was just beginning. I hoped it was going to be just as good as last year, without all the bad stuff. I guess that’s a pretty hefty wish. I had to go the newspaper office later that night because I promised Matthew I would night-edit for him on Thursdays. I hadn’t been to the office since that fateful Saturday last year, right before finals. I wondered if the place would be good or bad for me.
After dinner, I told Karina that I would be at the office and headed out into the night. It was still drizzling a little, but I had heard that the rain would stop by the weekend. I put up my hood and walked across Walnut Street. Walking into the office gave me an eerie chill as I remembered how quickly I had run out of there that day. But after I climbed the two flights of stairs and actually walked into the newsroom, that chillness vanished. It was like the newsroom on any other day. Reporters were sitting on computers, either working or chatting. Editors were in their respective offices talking, working or walking in between the various offices to ask questions. I saw Matthew sitting in his new seat and the new associate copy editor occupying my old seat.
I had decided months before not to reapply for the editor position, mainly because I knew I was going to busier with other things this semester. I said hello to both Matthew and the new girl, whose name was Jane, and took the other desk to start my work. Matthew asked how my summer had been and I was honest, telling him that it had been difficult but I managed through it. Jane turned out to be a pleasant, quiet girl whom I had a feeling I would get along with well.
The two hours ran by so fast that before I knew it, I was walking back to my room. It was pretty late and I wanted to call an escort, but my building was so close, I decided to just walk fast to make it. I usually felt pretty safe on campus, but for some reason, I had a feeling that someone was watching me. When I turned around, there was no one behind me and I figured that I was just imagining things. I got to my room within a few minutes and went straight to bed.
The next day I had a quiz in my Physics class and then the rest of the weekend to catch up on all of my reading. I got right to it when I got back to my room after classes. It was going to be one of those working weekends where I didn’t have a lot to do otherwise. But then my roommate came in and asked if I wanted to go this meeting for a new pre-med society; apparently, the meeting was a lunch outing at an Indian restaurant. I acquiesced, already missing the Indian food from home. I figured I needed to get back into the swing of things and go to these meetings and become a real college student again. Or at least pretend.
The next day, I went with her to the meeting; it was pretty fun, but I still felt like a gaping hole existed in my heart, something that lunch with a bunch of other pre-meders would not solve. I really wasn’t sure anything would solve it.
The rest of the weekend was pretty boring, just filled with lots of reading and studying. With the first week of school finally over, I wondered if every other week would be like this. I wondered if the rest of my life would be me going through the motions, doing what I was supposed to do, while inside I knew that a part of me was lost forever. It was dismaying to think of life that way. So I hoped that things would just get better from here. Throughout the entire week, though, I completely forgot about the secret garden I found and my promise to myself to visit it again.