Having not run into Moriah since dinner on Monday, I avoid Wilburn caf. Instead, I make the long walks to Burkley caf for meals and study almost exclusively at Expressions cafe. At nights, I return to Wilburn through the side door and scale up the stairwell and dart into my room. Behind my locked door, I always fear that a knock might come, or that a text might buzz my phone. I don't know which I fear more.
On Thursday afternoon my phone dies and I choose not to charge it. While walking to Burkley, I think about my week and it hits me how it's only been two nights since I've seen Moriah and yet life feels like it's been this way forever. Later, while sitting at the caf eating a chicken salad with avocado and sliced almonds, I think of how much my identity of being a college student has come to dominate my life, even though just under a year ago I had just been living under my parents, playing volleyball and softball for the varsity team.
It's a little past 5PM when I leave my Women in America class. The bright sunny afternoon that surprised everyone earlier in the week has vanished and in it's place the eerie winter has returned. The sidewalks are empty and the sky is dark.
I'm still standing in front of the entrance to the building when my hand instinctively reaches into my pocket. Then I remember that my phone's dead. I turn my head north over to where Baker Ave lay behind the thick line of trees and buildings. Expressions is just a three minute walk away. And then I imagine what messages my phone would have if it were on right now.
Nobody from high school texts me anymore, and my parents only call to talk. So my phone gets no texts except from Moriah really. We always have dinner together on Thursday right after my class at five. It's become so regular that we don't need to text each other confirmation. It just sort of happens. Last week, when I spontaneously chose to work out before returning to Wilburn, I had messaged her. She seemed fine about it over text, but she had made a negative comment about it in person.
My gut suddenly sinks with regret. Regret for not having charged my phone. Now I feel obligated to see Moriah in person, to share our usual dinner together. I turn away from Baker Ave, and towards the south end of campus where Wilburn is. I sigh and watch the cloud of breath float away from me.
I scroll through songs on my iPod touch, and after a few finger swipes, I stop on talia.mp3. It sticks out among the other tracks as it has no artist and the first letter is lowercased.