It was about 3pm.
I had been up since 6:30am, miraculously I beat my alarm awake.
I had a final exam at 8am [I spilled coffee EVERYwhere at my seat upon walking in but walked out confident that I had ACED that little bugger of an exam] and had my next one at 1pm [I tripped up the stairs with the rest of my coffee to that one] and felt utterly miserable taking it [both of these had been writing intensive exams, I wrote a total of 4 essays so my hand was DEAD].
So when I was out, done, fed up, and waiting exhausted at the stoplight on my way home [my coffee thermos was now officially empty, no more accidents for me, hopefully] I almost didn’t register as the girl next to me started talking in my direction.
“Lovely weather, isn’t it?”
“Yes, honestly it is.” I wasn’t sure she was talking to me but I answered her nonetheless, taking a moment to look around at the pear and cherry blossoms making their way across the intersection caught in mini-wind gusts.
“You heading home?”
“Yes,” I said. “I’m exhausted and I haven’t eaten since 7am. I had two brutal exams today.” I was still angry that they had us take these on a Saturday.
“Oh man,” she said. “I’m a senior and I just got done with stuff too– I can’t believe I’m graduating next week.”
I told her she was lucky, that relaxing must be nice, and that I wish I were graduating so that I didn’t have to take anymore exams.
“What’s your major?”
“Media arts and design and German. What about you?”
“Oh, that’s cool! I’m a math major. Minor in English, though. I’m Katie, by the way.”
I told her it was a good convo of logic and art and was about to politely end the conversation, eyeing the light about to change, when she sprang this question on me:
“What are your aspirations in life?”
I paused, partially because I was trying to make sure I heard her right. But what the heck.
“To be happy,” I said after a few seconds. “And to make some sort of a difference, if I can.”
“That’s a pretty good aspiration,” she said.
At this moment the pedestrian man lit up, telling us to walk. We split at the middle of the intersection.
“Well, have a nice life,” she said, turning to walk the other way.
“Thanks, you too– and best of luck with graduation!”
I thought about how I would probably never see her again.
I thought about how I had answered her sudden question, and what that meant for me in terms of how I was going to proceed, that moment forward.
I thought about how cool it was, that the universe had granted me that moment, a brief, subtle reality check that forced me to think about all the ways I was hitting the walls between me and my own happiness.
My eyes followed her posture, her confident strides as she diminished down the sidewalk. Smiling, I followed suit back to my apartment.