After waking up to yet another day of gloomy skies and lethargy, I bought a mochaccino -- The Sweet Shop's double-shot of espresso with steamed chocolate milk -- paying three dollars for a six-hour caffeine high, heart palpitations, and a twitchy eye. I scribbled for a few hours, trying to make sense of the hurricane of ideas and creativity and college algebra in my head; caffeine tends to have that effect. Welcome to December. It's almost the end. I just have to survive the finals week stress.
I sluggishly walked to my statistics class with a philosophy podcast in my earbuds, untangling the chaos of my existence. It's hard to focus on these freshman-level classes when, deep-down, I know that the universe offers so many bigger things. It's hard to focus on any single thing at this point in the semester. The class period, taking up an hour and twenty-five minutes of the morning, proved the perfect window of time to drink my coffee and crank out major progress on my English class's seventy-page final portfolio. Pay attention in class, folks -- unless you're allowed four pages of formulas on the final exam.
Work came after class; a slow shift gave me a glorious break from brain-frying study sessions. For a few hours, I let myself settle into the calm repetition of my part-time job, making customers smile in an effort to get some of that stuff they call "Christmas spirit" inside of me. Lately, the campus has been overrun by ugly Christmas sweaters and absolutely insufferable holiday music; I love it. It reminds me that I'm going home soon.
After work, at some point in my evening study session, Spotify played Keston Cobblers Club's rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Nostalgia dissolved my brain's wall of ambition, and I took a break to go for a walk, one of my favorite medicines, and process the feeling. Maybe it's homesickness, or maybe it's sick-of-Tallahassee-ness. I imagined myself two weeks into the future, flying over the swamps, over the glowing lights of Atlanta, Nashville and Chicago, and over the snow-covered fields of rural Minnesota. "From now on our troubles will be miles away."
Pull it together. I stepped slowly over sidewalk cracks and chalk drawings. I rubbed my eyes until the phosphenes turned patches of dirty sand to glittering snow. I never thought I'd miss the cold. I never thought I'd miss home as much as I do.
I thought of the valleys and the country drives and the fireflies and all of the sparkling little lights on that summer night when the child inside of me came back to life, climbing trees and playing with fire. I used to think that moving away would fix everything - that college and freedom were synonymous - that a new city would cure my sadness. All I ever wanted was to be alone, but alone feels different when it's a thousand miles from everything you know. And, although I am okay on my own, it's time for me to go home.