Dora Guo

I don’t remember what particular misfortune formed a tight knot in my chest that night. It might have been a bad grade, complications in a friendship, missing home. It was probably just one of those intangible sadnesses that grow with an upset here and an upset there and before you know, it coalesces into the distinct knowledge that you are unhappy. Beats me.

What I remember well is how instinctually my feet carried me across the streets of happy chatter, past all the regal residential college gates, through the grandiose TD courtyard and down into the basement where I walked into the music practice room and curled up on the floor and closed my eyes. 

Sometimes our body knows best. The practice room was cramped, beige, with a single unadorned piano taking up half its space and a mysterious closet with no contents that seemed too small for contents anyway. I’d only been there once before to fiddle with the piano and found the room a little ugly, but in that moment my intuition knew it was the perfect place to go. Most of Yale, for all its regal gates and grand courtyards, is not very inviting for the feeling of sadness. This is the most beautiful place you have or will ever live! I hear Sterling and Beinecke and Battell tell me as I pass them. Shouldn’t you be in awe?  

Which is why, amidst the hugeness of Yale’s bustling streets and tall towers and sprawling courtyards, the unassuming little music room felt so comforting that night. Its cramped four walls asked no questions as I sprawled out on the floor and breathed a deep and shaky sigh. It did not rush me as my eyes grew unexpectedly wet and I began to cry. When I was done feeling all the unfelt feeling and stood up to brush myself off, it passed no judgement.

I exited that room feeling lighter than I’d entered. I felt genuinely happy as I went back into the looming buildings and the bustling streets, and pulled back into the daily cycles. I haven’t returned to the music room since then. But I am still very thankful for its presence, for the option of returning to it. I hope you have found a place like that, and if you haven’t, that you are able to find one. Amid the buildings shouting for your attention and amazement, you need that single room which reassures you in its quiet, unassuming voice that you will be welcome back anytime, its comfortable floor anticipating your return.

Daniel Blokh |