Of Presence

“PEOPLE!!!” I squealed. Jason glanced around towards the doors to the staircase; he had just stepped off of the elevator. The action was rather comical; it was rather abrupt, and performed while still walking in the general direction of the classroom.

At that time of morning, there are only two classes going on in this building: the pre-juniors’ Food Chem I, and the seniors’ class, which if I’m not mistaken, is Food Safety and Preservation… maybe? Our classes begin at the same time, Food Chem generally ends earlier. We all trickle in between 7:30 and 8:10, and the seniors’ class isn’t that much bigger than ours, which means there are about 20, maybe 25ish people populating the whole of the Science building.

So, you know, me squealing, “PEOPLE!!!” wasn’t entirely out of place.

Today… I give thanks for the gift of presence. For the ability to draw comfort simply from the proximity of a cherished being. From 0740 to 0940, it was from simply being in the same room as Stephen, Megan, Seth, Svetlana, Tim, and Kayla, with Jason and Steve just down the hall. From 1000 to 1045, it was in studying in a triangle formation with Josh and Aaron in the Honors’ lounge, with short, occasional bursts of conversation. Organic Chem lecture is so much more comfortable in a class of 90+ with Svetlana next to me from 1100 to 1200.

1220 found me at MCI. It was a gorgeous day out and I was mentally debating with myself as to where to have lunch. TUC, Chipotle, Bruegger’s, the Coffee Emporium, the Sidewinder, and Panera were running through my mind, but once I got in the car and started driving, it was like I was on autopilot. I found myself turning into the Central Parkway garage before it registered consciously that the parking lots were mostly empty and the gates were up.

I was just in time for lunch – which, everyone that has ever worked in Receiving knows, is always best during term break – and it was just so terribly comfortable with everyone in 012… Chef Coltrane, Matt, Billy, Andre, Tony, Mary, Chef B… and of course, Stevo. No more sidebars on the docks, but I found that that suited me just fine; it meant a sidebar outside of the Overlook, which hasn’t happened since the Saturday that Stevo and I cleaned out the secret storage room and a sidebar became necessary due to Bradley needing to vent about Peaches and Joe throwing every single one of Chef K’s cast iron skillets into the dishtank. The Overlook was chosen over the docks due to the reduced likelihood of being found and interrupted, but sidebars up there weren’t a regular thing by any means.

It wasn’t even 1300 and I wasn’t to pick Dad up from work until 1530, so I had a decent amount of time to kill. The killing of time was accomplished very efficiently with the completion of another chapter of Organic Chem homework, iTunes, and just a couple youtube vids at the very end there; the entire time, blissfully conscious of the fact that if I needed a break, I could run down and ask for some ten-ish minutes of quality company. As it was, I went down at about 1445, sidebar with Matt and Stevo followed which lasted about 15 minutes, back in Receiving by 1503, and I was sent home with hugs, mango sorbet, and some other sorbet which I haven’t yet tasted or determined the flavor of. I was walking out just in time to cross paths with Jay and bid him a good day as well.

MCI has a presence in and of itself, and I can’t explain in so many words how the homing beacon was fixed onto my heart, but here it is. When I first left Receiving and kept coming back for my good-morning hugs and to offer free labor at the most random times – usually when building carts and/or breaking down boxes was involved – Billy told me I needed to go and stop looking back. He doesn’t have to tell me anymore, because I’ve finally got it all straight inside, and I know it’s not a going back and expecting everything to be the same, so much as I go back with the hope and intention of continuing to grow with it. Not to bring back the good old times, but I’m genuinely interested in what’s new.

Nostalgia has its place, of course, like today, when Stevo and I were talking about closing on Wednesday nights, just me and him and Brad. Best nights ever. I’m looking forward to 1N12K, mostly because of the opportunity to very possibly spend time with both of them. Two years ago, it was just the boys; last year, it was Stevo and I; maybe this year, all three of us will be there together, in spite of being all spread out work-wise. It’s not too slim of a chance, and they’ll keep me sane and sober and completely safe.

Speaking of which, once upon a time, they joked about un-sheltering me on my 21st. I think it might actually happen. I predict that Stevo will do the exposing and Bradley will do the protecting. Stevo declares that it will be the opposite, and yet he very emphatically refrains from denying that Bradley has always been more protective of me than himself. How that logic works out, I have no idea, but I do know that I can’t think of any two people that I’d rather have with me on my 21st. Stevo will offer a beer and Bradley will tell me no, I’ve had enough, and he’ll just drink it for me. I can see it now =)

Another chapter of Organic Chem was absolutely necessary tonight, but I sat in the dining room, blessed with the company of Mom, Dad, Kuya Vin, and Ate Candice. Needless to say, I enjoyed myself immensely, and yes, I did get my homework done.

I need to be up and running again in exactly seven hours, so I suppose I ought to get some sleep. Peace out =)

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