The Consequences of Dissonance - Chapter Twenty-one
The hall was dead quiet. Far quieter than any normal Friday night and weekend, but since finals started on Monday, we had been put under a set of rules that was apparently more conducive to studying. It meant that I had to listen to my music with headphones on or the volume very low, even though Thomas was, of course, no where to be seen. Of the umpteen weekends I had spent in the dorms so far, I think he had stayed in for the whole weekend only twice: once when he was sick, and once when the party was at our place.
Kris had decided that, since she had two finals on Monday and two on Tuesday that she needed to pass, she would be holed up in her dorm for quite a while. I had two finals on Tuesday myself — one being the composition final that Kris and I shared, and one on Wednesday before I was finished. With days before my own finals, I felt as though I was holed up in my room by circumstance more than choice.
Oh well, I thought. Having the place to myself would be good for me. I was able to get a little bit of studying done, all of my notes spread out over the floor in a loose grid so that I could walk amongs them in bare feet and connect ideas together in ways that I thought would help me on the exams. I spent a good deal of time talking to friends on the Internet as well, catching up with people on IRC that I felt as though I had been neglecting with school and a brand new personal life intervening.
Jamen came by on Friday night and apologized once again for the way he had acted before. I had gratefully accepted his company and his offering of shitty beer that Joseph, his roommate, had procured. We spent a while talking about this and that, how the semester was going, what finals looked like. Everything but what we had talked about two weeks previous. He seemed happy enough, bright eyed and sober (not stoned, at least). He mentioned that he wasn’t smoking until after his finals were over, just so that he could concentrate on studying for the exams.
Erin and Eric came over to talk for a while as well, since Erin had been kicked out of her room for a few hours by Kris. we wound up eating together that night, Erin giving me one of her guest-passes to the dorm since I had used the last of my meal plan up on lunch that day. They promised that they would try help keep me fed with guest passes when I needed them, though with about a hundred dollars left in my bank account, I figured I would be alright.
By Saturday afternoon, all the thrills of being by myself had worn off. I had slept naked for the first time since I had moved to school, which wasn’t as exciting as I had thought. I even wandered around the room naked for a while, but all that did was make me feel nervous, even though the blinds were shut and the door locked to everyone but Thomas. I listened to music for a while and reorganized my notes for class before spending the rest of the morning and into the afternoon on IRC.
Finally fed up, I bundled myself against the early December snow that was sending light flurries down outside and started walking. I remembered that there was a super market on College south of campus and I decided that a good use of my time would be to go pick up something to hold me over through finals week until I could head home. The walk was cold, but I figured the brisk air would do me well rather than being cooped up in my dorm with nothing to do but sit at the computer with no clothes on.
I guess I had misremembered the distance down College to the super market. The walk had taken me about forty five minutes and the cloudy sky was lit distinctly from the west by the time I got to the store. A clock told me it was three thirty. About an hour and a half left until dark. I hurried down the aisles with a car, getting myself some tortillas and cheese for quesadillas. I decided against anything to drink since I would be carrying all of that back home in my emptied out backpack, racing the sunset. Instead, some bread, peanut butter, and honey joined the quesadilla makings in order for something sweet. Finally, I filled a plastic bag with granola from the bulk grains section, figuring that I now had enough carbohydrates and protein to keep me going for another few days. Anything else I needed I could probably get from the general store on campus, worst case scenario.
With everything purchased and stuffed into my backpack, I made my way back outside and groaned. During the fifteen minutes I was in the store, the snow had picked up and the light from the west was settling more toward the mountains; everything was darker now that the sunlight had to pass through the clouds at an accute angle. I shrugged both straps of the backpack onto my shoulders and zipped my jacket up, heading towards College and back north. I had walked over a pedestrian underpass on the way over, and I figured I’d try to take that back so I wouldn’t have to walk along the town’s busiest street now that the snow had picked up.
Once I made my way to that trail and through another underpass, this time under the railroad tracks, I found myself at the foot of an asphalt trail that wound through an an open expanse of a field that stretched out on all sides of me. Much calmer, I told myself, trying to keep looking on the brighter side. I trudged through the thin layer of snow that had accumulated on the path and let my mind wander with nothing but the white expanse of the field and the staticky, snow obscured road half a mile away to look at.
I spent the walk along the path worrying about winter break. There were four weeks and some between the end of my finals on Wednesday and the first day of the second semester. About a month of time where I would be required to move back home. About a month of time without Kris, having to stay with one parent or the other. I figured I could always crash at a friend’s place, but I doubt if crashing at Kris’ parents house would be a very likely possibility. I was pretty sure that my dad would be alright with Kris staying over when I was at his place, but I certainly couldn’t tell one way or the other how Kris’ parents would feel about that idea.
I wondered about the possibility of us meeting somewhere else during the break, either alone or with some mutual friends, where we could spend some time together If nothing else, I figured I might be able to find a way between my mom’s and dad’s that took me through Boulder so that I could at least spend a few hours with my girlfriend. I supposed it would make the trip much longer. Hopefully I could either find a job with a good schedule or maybe do some odd computer jobs here and there to get myself some gas money for the transit. My dad had wanted me to go into computer science, but the fact that I wasn’t good at programming, just setting up and administering systems, had swayed me away from that. I could always hire myself out as computer help.
I trudged up toward campus again once I made it off the trail. I still had finals week to figure everything out, and the walk had made me hungry. A quesadilla was a much happier thing to think about.