You tug on your jacket and pull your beanie further down on your head as you continue to brace yourself against the mercilessly frigid onslaught. You say a silent ‘fuck you’ to whichever administrator is responsible for this currently fucked up parking situation.

 

Fuck, it’s cold.

 

You realize that you say ‘fuck’ a lot when you feel like your blood is turning to ice.

 

It’s your fourth winter in Milwaukee, and you’re honestly not sure you’ll ever get used to how cold it gets here. And to think you used to complain about winter in Manchester as a kid. What a joke. That was nothing compared to this. Even your winters in New York never got as bad as it does here.

 

You pull the sides of your brown padded jacket closer together as if doing so will make you feel any less cold. You knew you should have worn a third layer underneath before you left your apartment. Once again, you grossly underestimated just how cold it can get here.

 

The jacket by itself isn’t nearly as insulating as it looks. Despite its deceptive size, it’s not very practical, big for no reason. You wish you had known that before you wasted almost sixty bucks on the damn thing.

 

Another blast of wind accompanied by snow flurries washes over you, and all you can do is groan in despair.

 

“Holy hell,” you mutter. You silently curse for the umpteenth time, wishing like hell that you didn’t have to head to vocal practice so damn early, especially when most of the campus is still sound asleep. What you wouldn’t give to be cozied up in your bed right now.

 

Fuck Monday mornings, for real.

 

Your teeth start to chatter uncontrollably, and most of your nose has already gone numb. You have to keep bringing your hands up to your mouth and blowing between your leather gloves to bring some of the feeling back into your face.

 

Your glasses keep fogging up every fifteen seconds, and you have to struggle to see where your feet keep landing. It doesn’t help your poor eyesight that the campus street lights are dim as hell.

 

What exactly are all the campus fee charges being spent on?

 

Christ.

 

You walk as carefully as you can, all the while trying to maintain your speed. You come close to falling twice, but manage to regain your composure each time.

 

“Good reflexes. Just like your mother,” your grandma would say.

 

Your chest tightens as soon as both women come to mind. You feel a bout of sadness creep up on you as you think of the woman who brought you into the world.

 

As you continue to dodge muddy mounds and slippery black ice, you idly remember the very first time you were allowed to play in the snow.

 

You were five and still living in Manchester. It was the first time you’d ever seen snow in real life, and you were so eager and excited to go out and play in all that immaculate goodness.

 

Your mom had tried to persuade you not to, but of course, like any curious and eager child, you weren’t hearing any of it. Boy, should you have listened to her.

 

Your so-called snow play session ended with you crying hysterically with snot all over your face because your hands were throbbing in excruciating pain.

 

Apparently, yours truly thought she was a mini Einstein and figured it would be a brilliant idea to try to build a snowman with her gloves off. You think your mom let you have your way to teach you a lesson. That shit had seriously hurt. Needless to say, that was the very last time you ever did that.

 

You wish you could also say that that was the last time you did something unbelievably stupid.

 

Yet another wave of frigid air quickly brings your focus back to the present, actively pushing the memories aside. You can’t help but be grateful. You don’t like how you feel when you think of your mother, and you don’t want to start your day off feeling any more crappy than you already do.

 

You hum Hayley Westenra’s ‘Across the Universe of Time’ to keep your mind off both your mother and the numbing cold, as well as to hear something other than the sound of your chattering teeth. It’s a song you love a lot, and it’s also the song you chose to sing for your very first solo performance last year.

 

You’re still amazed at all the praise and acknowledgment you got from both the audience and the entire music faculty for it. You were even asked for an encore.

 

Needless to say, that performance had done wonders for your ego, removing so many doubts you had at the time and increasing your love for vocal music even more. That moment also felt like a confirmation that you had indeed made the right decision coming back to college, and that you really have a shot at a successful career in music after all.

 

You finally reach West Campus, and you thank the non-existent stars for getting here in one piece, even though you could barely see a thing on your way here.

 

You head past the English, Film, and Art buildings like you always do. A minute later, you’re swiping your ID card in the slot at the main entrance to the music building. You eagerly make your way inside, happy to put an end to this annoying, frost-bitten journey.

 

***

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

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