“Pass it over,” I say, before snatching the sunglasses off of Sharon’s face. She rolls her eyes jokingly before jumping onto Dilge’s bed. White chunky lenses atop my face, I look at my friends on the bed and check the time. It’s already 3 a.m. I pretend I don’t see, and when Sharon asks me the hour, I want to lie and say it’s only 2 a.m. so that we could hang out for a bit longer. But I know she has things to do tomorrow, responsibilities to take care of, so I tell her the truth.
“It’s 3 a.m.,” I respond, looking over “my” sunglasses. She lets out a groan which prompts Dilge to let out a similar yet higher pitched noise. We had been staying up this late for the past week or so, ending each night and early morning with “tomorrow we’re going to get our shit together and go to bed at a reasonable time” only to find ourselves back in Dilge’s room, stealing her sunglasses and ranting about our lives. I realize how tired I am and how long the day was and I take off the glasses, placing them on the nightstand. I’m ready to leave.
“Does anyone want tea?” Sharon asks, and suddenly I feel energy come back to me. I look at Dilge and she answers for me.
“Yes.” And soon we’re in our tiny shoebox kitchen, “helping” Sharon brew milk tea, listening to the song “No Hands” as we had done several times before. Like so many other chaotic nights, this was our July.
Now as I rush to get to bed after another 2 a.m. at Bass Library, I am nostalgic for the summer. The freedom to live life relatively on your own schedule seems so foreign when midterms, papers and p-sets are right around the corner. It’s not as if we didn’t do anything over the summer. We were all research assistants and spent a good chunk of our days in the labs, running gels and PCR tests. However, while we were involved in work, our lives did not revolve around it.
Having your own house and living by yourself with three people who are just as confused as you are — if not more — is in fact hard. Most of the time, I came in to see Dilge sitting on our cute little bean bag in a room worse than a frat house. We were in disarray trying to figure out budgeting, cleaning, groceries, cooking and many more chores that seemed so easy when our parents did them.
To say life over the summer was easy is an understatement, if not a boldfaced lie. I remember one day as we desperately scrambled to make pasta alfredo using only one pot and found ourselves outside of our apartment for 30 minutes, meeting our downstairs neighbors as firefighters investigated the overcooked macaroni, burning in the pot. I can scroll back in my camera roll and find a picture of Vanessa, our fourth roommate and I, smiling insanely under the red light of the firetruck. It’s a live photo, and when you push on it, you can hear the sirens in the background drowned behind Vanessa and I’s laughter.
Some days were less inviting as we crashed onto our bean bag, sweaty and in agony over our majors and careers. Yet, in this chaos we had each other. Every rant was accompanied with a “SAME” and a subsequent complaint.
Being back in school feels too real. During the summer, hopping in bed and yelling with my friends was the best part of my days. Yet, going to bed right now feels like a form of escape from the continuous rush we have to live through. We still struggle through p-sets in Bass together, and I still religiously facetime my former roommates to talk about the smallest things that happened over the weekend. Yet, life is now less about living in the present. Leaving Bass, all of us are sunk into our own schedules and deep in thought about what tomorrow has to bring. We say goodbye and walk back to our colleges. Chaos felt easy to handle over the summer, it brought us closer. We found balance together back in our living room, but right now balance seems so unattainable.
One day in July as the sun was shining so nicely on Cross Campus, we found the perfect spot to lay down a few blankets. I set down our canvases and paints as I put on a vibey playlist. For hours, we just painted. We praised Sharon’s meticulous image of Broadway as she outlined the silhouette of a church steeple. We watched intensely as Vanessa mixed in our cheap paints to make beautiful hues that we all then shared. We laughed at Dilge’s picture — which she fiercely defended as “aesthetic” — after I implied heavily that it would be sold at Urban Outfitters for $60. And in between all the laughs and the commentaries, we painted quietly and comfortably. As we walked back to our beloved Edgewood Avenue, life felt magical. Fireflies shining around us, we made a promise to live quietly in the present. Well, everybody knew we could never do quiet, but we can do the latter.
Maybe it took us to write this article to remember our promise, but we are determined to keep it. Can you keep it with us?