The wipers sway intermittently across the windshield, and their blades do a sloppy job of clearing the precipitation from your view. Their constant rubbing against the glass emits ear-wrenching squeaks that you wish you could ignore, but cannot.

 

These ancient wipers need to go.

 

At least that’s what you’ve been saying for…how long has it been now? Five months? Yeah, about that long.

 

Every time you get around to changing these annoying wipers, something else more urgent suddenly comes up, and whatever money you’d been saving toward replacing them goes to that ‘more urgent’ thing. That happened again yesterday.

 

You spent the money you’d been saving for a pair of new wipers on a newly published music composition book that you absolutely need and can’t seem to find in any of the libraries. You guess it’ll be at least another month or so before you get rid of the ancient wipers—and that’s if nothing else ends up taking priority over them before that.

 

Somehow, you highly doubt that things will actually go that way.

 

Maybe you’ll get used to the squeaks.

 

Yeah, right.

 

A tired yawn escapes you as you reluctantly listen to the obnoxious voice of a man streaming from your car’s radio. He goes on and on and on, blabbering away in an infomercial that’s way too dramatic and really over-the-top.

 

The guy is desperately trying to make flannel jackets sound like magical garments that have been woven into golden pieces of fabric by Rumpelstiltskin, and then later catapulted into retail stores straight from a unicorn’s asshole.

 

He really is doing—or saying, as the case is—far, far too much. You doubt the company’s marketing team intended for their ad to sound this ridiculous. Or at least, you hope not, for their sake.

 

You’re extremely tempted to change the station, but you don’t. As much as you’d rather listen to something that doesn’t make your eardrums want to commit suicide, the obnoxious banter is effectively chasing away any sleepiness you still feel, and this early in the morning, that’s something you desperately need.

 

Another yawn escapes you and you feel your eyes water slightly behind your glasses as the lingering sleepiness slowly evades them. You crank up the heat a bit and enjoy the blast of hot air that emanates from the heater.

 

There’s barely anyone on the road now, and you’re glad you don’t have to deal with so many other cars and their equally grumpy-from-sleep drivers so early in the morning.

 

Your fingers are firm on the steering wheel as you hit the gas, speeding up and managing to pass a traffic light right before it turns red. Pretty soon, you’re pulling into the only unrestricted parking lot on campus.

 

Even at this early hour, the lot is fairly full, mostly because it’s not that big, and most students without a parking permit, like yourself, scramble relentlessly for a parking space here every day. You’re sure some kids leave their cars here for days at a time just to ensure that they have a spot.

 

You circle the lot once and you’re fortunate enough to find a spot without as much hassle as usual, and given your morning crankiness and impatience, you’re pretty darn thankful for that. Even though your car isn’t big, the spot is pretty awkward, and it’s not even a little bit bright outside. You suck at parallel parking, and being fairly new to driving a stick-shift makes maneuvering your ’98 Volkswagen Polo right now even more frustrating.

 

After more attempts than you’d like to admit, you finally manage to park the old Polo without setting off World War Z. The rumble of the engine eventually dies down as you turn off the ignition, and the absence of any radio feed leaves you encompassed in complete silence.

You take a moment to look out through your blurry windshield, and you have just one word to describe your surroundings.

 

Depressing.

 

Actually, make that three words.

 

Depressing as fuck.

 

Except for the still cars that are lined up, the lot looks like some post-apocalyptic barren wasteland.

Maybe you did set off World War Z.

 

You grab your satchel and reluctantly open your door. As soon as you step out, you’re greeted by a gust of frigid wind, and you have to stand still for a moment so that you can adjust to your new frosty environment.

 

It’s that time of year again, and winter has come back full force with a vengeance, rearing its ugly, frigid head once more. At six-thirty in the morning, the sky looks no different than it did at midnight.

 

Pitch fucking black.

 

It’s way too dark out here, not to mention ridiculously cold. You walk briskly through campus, feeling the crunch of ice and snow beneath your boots as you take every shortcut you know of to head to west campus—home of the Liberal Arts School.

 

***

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THIS CHAPTER MAKES ME FEEL...
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

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