Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Grinnell

We walk side by side, three of us on a sidewalk built for two. Weeds line each side of the cement, encroaching on the straight lines. Cicadas sing their noisy song, growing louder as we approach the larger trees. Sweat drips down my back before it gets caught in my waistband. I lift my hair off my neck, trying to catch a non-existent breeze on my sticky skin.

I tie my hair back. We cross the street and are greeted by tall prairie flowers. They line the street, bursting with color and life.

I walk ahead, not sure where I'm going. There are large brick buildings on my right, smaller houses on the left. The green grass tickles my ankles as I step off the sidewalk. Under a big maple, I sit down on a bench. The wood is old and warped, but the rest it offers is appreciated.

Joined by my parents, we sit quietly. I swing my feet, scuffing the ground that hundreds of students before me have scuffed.

Ahead of me I see a large statue, a sidewalk cutting diagonally through the grass, and a low brick building, partially hidden by greenery.

I stand up and wander towards the statue, curious. Many of the trees I pass are marked by plaques, in remembrance of loved parents, spouses, and alumni.

The statue turns out to be a giant sundial, donated by a class from before my parents were born.

The doors make a quiet sucking noise as I pull them open. I step into a cool room. A tiled floor, signs pointing me to classrooms and professor's offices, wooden doors with small windows. Steps leading up and down. I explore further into the building, away from the door.

It no longer feels cool; my hair is still stuck to the back of my neck and my feet slide around in my flip flops. A large glass display case greets me, filled with old cameras and phonographs. A person walks by us; someone who looks like they belong, probably a student here to do research.

I leave the air-conditioning before my parents are ready. I spend some time smelling the flowers, taking grainy pictures on my phone, and soaking in the feel of the campus.

I point my feet back the way we came. I slowly make my way back to our car, waiting to pick up my pace until I hear their footsteps behind me. I run my hand over the sign that announces "Grinnell College" that sits proudly on the main intersection. The stone is rough under my fingers, saying good-bye, until next time.

1 comment:

Annabelle said...

Is it possible to read a story and close your eyes, to picture it all, at the same time???

You absolutely transported me there.

(thank you)