It’s 11:47 a.m. and gray clouds crowd the sky. At the top of the marble steps, a girl stands, her disposition sunny. She wears a relaxed, wavy skirt and blue T-shirt.
“Have a honey stick for the Jewish New Year!” she says. She gingerly hands a honey stick to a student passerby.
“Thank you,” the student replies and adjusts her glasses. She walks away.
A few students walk leisurely up and down the marble steps. The sun starts to peek through the clouds as people stop at the top of the Breezeway to see the Jewish Student Association’s (JSA) table.
“Oh my god, is this your club? How have you been?” one student says to the guy manning the JSA’s set-up.
Crayons and markers roll down the table’s wooden planks where some students decorate cards for U.S. soldiers. A breeze sweeps through the pillars. The Israeli flag flutters, hanging from the table.
Students laugh and chatter about their weekend and suck on honey sticks.
* * *
It’s 11:55 a.m. and the noise of jingling keys and flip flops scraping against brick paths reaches a crescendo. The crowd thickens, morphing into a storm of students rushing to class. Discussion of the weekend ceases. Academic talk echos through the Breezeway.
“I’m going to the lab today, so I won’t be eating dinner until ten.”
“I don’t know anything for this test!!!”
“But the protons are at a low energy state . . .”
Brisk walkers, slow walkers, absent-minded texters, mobs of people deep in conversation clog the Breezeway for a few frenzied minutes. Occasionally, someone will subconsciously take a honey stick from the brown-skirted girl, who still smiles widely.
The clouds start to crawl across the sun.
I look up from my scribbling. Amadeus is leaning across from me at the table where I sit, next to the JSA.
“Oh Hi!” I say, smiling.
“What are you doing here?”
“Oh, just my homework.”
“Yes, here. I like sitting outside.”
“Every time someone sits here I assume they are advocating something.”
I think about this. I am sitting at the table adjacent to the JSA, who is celebrating the Jewish New Year. My table, although not as elaborately adorned, looks just as official.
“I’m advocating my sanity.”
The bell from Gilman Hall chimes, indicating it is noon. A couple of students trickle through the Breezeway. One waits at the top of the steps, waiting for someone. The brown-skirted girl has been replaced with another girl. This girl dons a tidy, black skirt and floral blouse. She slouches as she hovers around the top of the steps with her backpack on her back.
“Honey stick?” she croaks, barely extending her arm.
The quad empties out as noon classes begin.
— Katherine Simeon