______At times, life can be an immense burden.
______Just when you think,"Ah, at long last, I am home in my dorm and able to go pants-less for the night!", you simultaneously realize you have forgotten your iPhone in the Photography room, most likely on the glass table where you usually set it down while you're slaving away in the darkroom, splashing yourself with chemicals occasionally and having a bit of a nostalgic dance party with your colleagues, one kindled by the 90s Pop Hits Pandora station. None of you knew each other as children, but the music made it seem otherwise. You left your phone on the table because as you waited for your prints to wash, you were deep into A Game of Thrones.
______After you left your prints to dry, you walked out the door reading the book, your mind focused on remembering the households and the characters and their relationships. There were so many names to remember, but you had a good hang on them, and that made you feel somewhat successful.
______It is the first day of summer break, and this is the last time you will have to return to that room. You are forced to trudge a whole six minutes back to retrieve your electronic device that is so vital to your daily existence. It's there (thankfully). A girl looks up from her binder and cocks her head at you like you're some criminal scurrying out of there with something that isn't yours. She has never reacted well to your presence, and you've never been sure why. You never liked her cropped pants, the ones with the white stripes snaking down the sides like day-old toothpaste.
______And once you're out of the room, you skip down the first two stairs, walk down the rest, and are happy that your phone was there, and happy that you are on your way back. The walk there wasn't long. The walk back would be shorter. You decide to stop by the world's largest Starbucks on campus to order something warm to drink on the way because it has gotten cooler. It is wedged perfectly between the photography room and your living space, and they know you by name there because you order the same thing each time--a Venti Passion tea, piping hot, unsweetened.
______Sometimes, they will draw a heart on the "i" in your name, or maybe rush a smiley face, or say, "The usual?" and it makes you feel a little bit classy, a little bit known, a little bit like you belong somewhere. Two of them even know you by name. One knows that your last name is Norwegian. There is a certain pause at this moment, one that makes you forget how you forgot your phone in the first place. You're enjoying this little detour, but you won't admit it. You won't admit how convenient things are for you, and how much you like being able to feel like there's kind of place you belong, at least in the nooks and crannies where there are less people who are more important. You are not in the mass, and probably never will be, but that is okay.
______You walk back to your conveniently located dorm on campus. The sun is setting and casting orange light against the buildings, and blue shadows are opposite to them like ghosts with outstretched arms, and there is the smell of spiced flowers in the air. Things are greener, warmer now. There are no flowers sprouting eagerly from their buds, no set name for this day that should make it feel any different than the others, but there is the right feeling, the one that seems as if everything has awoken from its hibernation, and is now full of vigor and an honest brightness. And it is rather serene, the scene which nature has so kindly painted.
______And that is when you realize that life isn't really such an immense burden, and you wonder why you could have ever imagined such a thing in the first place. It is the first day of summer break, and you are leaving your pleasant burdens behind.
Spring 2013, Photography I, 35mm film