…. And now at 9:00 a.m., while Erin was sitting in class, sipping on a tepid cup of coffee she grabbed quickly from the common’s of McCabe Hall, Chad was rolling over, shutting the buzz of his alarm clock off and rolling out of bed, emitting a sound more often heard coming from a family of grizzly bears than people.
In triumphant fashion, Chad’s day had officially begun.
He managed to grab his toothbrush and tube of Crest as he wandered out his dorm and across his hallway to the co-ed bathroom. His first sight was a female student, one that he saw often spending way too much time in the bathroom applying her makeup and meticulously grooming her hair just so. Paying little attention, he made his way over to the sink, splashing water on his face to help the wake-up process. Then, placed a generous portion of toothpaste onto his toothbrush as he gently massaged the bristles along his teeth and gums. Two spits later and he was back in his dorm.
He pulled a pair of grey sweatpants with a Clemson Tiger paw logo embroidered on the left leg just below the pocket out of a pile of clothes on the floor. Checking for any noticeable stains, Chad decided they were suitable for the day ahead. He then removed an orange Clemson t-shirt from a hanger in his closet. His closet doors doubled as mirror, mockingly, to nobody in particular, Chad gave a quick once over of his appearance in the mirror, checking that his hair, which couldn’t have been longer than an eighth of an inch was in pristine condition.
It must have been because Chad whipped his black Nike book bag over his shoulder and locked the door behind him.
Clemson University, located in Clemson, South Carolina and founded in 1889 is home to 15,346 undergraduate students. When the school opened over 100 year ago, it was educational institute to just 446 students and 15 faculty members. Now Chad was one of those 15,000. Erin was another. Both had arrived in South Carolina via different paths. Currently though, the only path that mattered to Chad was the one to Harcombe’s Dining Hall.
He exited through McCabe’s Hall North exit. In front of him, just a few hundred feet of quad separated him from his destination. To his left was Holmes Hall, just up ahead of that was Student Government Building and to his right was the Edgar Brown University Union. Resting between all that was Harcombe, the dining hall Chad frequented daily. The building was located on the corner of Union Drive and Alpha Beta Circle.
Twenty of so students milled around the quad between the buildings, some returning to their dorms, other just leaving, some on the same path as Chad. One though happened to catch Chad’s eye. A female student, wearing a black dress and her heels in her hands, was walking toward him. He recognized her. She lived in his dorm. He had seen her in the laundry room occasional. It was obvious she wasn’t returning from class. She was performing the ‘walk of shame’ for the 20 or so students in the quad. She was still 100 feet in front of him, but Chad could see the embarrassment on the girls face. Her eyes focused on the ground just in front of her. Two male students, wearing Chi Psi fraternity t-shirts asked, “fun night?”, as they passed her on the sidewalk. If their comment bothered her it didn’t show. Her focus never left the concrete.
The frat boys comment actually bothered Chad more. While his initial reaction to spotting the girl on the ‘walk of shame’ was smirk at the situation, the slight smile was quickly removed. He thought about Erin rushing out of the dorm earlier that morning, late for class and fumbling with her shoes as she hopped out of his room. How was she feeling about having to run out of his dorm and to her first class this morning in the same clothes she had the night before? Her difference though was that she was wearing tennis shoes, jeans and a long sleeved shirt that morning. Still, it bothered Chad. If somebody were to make a comment, like the frat boys to the girl who was now passing Chad on his left, to Erin, Chad wouldn’t have liked it. So whatever desire existed to laugh at the humorless comment by the frat boys at first was completely gone and filled with thoughts of Erin and if she has ever been harassed that way.
He would ask her later.
His attention turned back to Harcombe Hall, which was just a few feet in front of him. He hurried up the 10 steps that led up to the door, taking them two at a time. At the door, he paused, took one long last breath of the crisp November air, and then entered.