The incessant buzz of the alarm clock had been beeping for two minutes. Finally, Chad rolled to his left, his girlfriend Erin’s sleeping face stared back at him, her eyes still closed, her mind lost in a dream, maybe about the life they would one day have together, the three kids, the house, the white picket fence, the golden retriever that would guard the house at night from intruders or the monsters that inevitably haunt every child’s nightmares while they sleep. Or maybe she was simply dreaming about the day ahead, the English midterm that afternoon, the meeting with her advisor afterward to plan her final semester’s schedule of classes, the dinner she would have with Chad in Harcombe Dining Hall that evening.
Chad on the other hand smiled as he looked deep into the back of her eyelids. Any moment he would see her bold green eyes in the morning sunlight that was creeping through the slits in the blinds. He reached his left arm over her body gently grazing her right shoulder with his elbow. His fingers, extending fully, reached the alarm clock, his index finger pressing the button to stop the buzzing. By the time his arm was back by his side Erin’s eyes were open, already gazing back at him. She blinked four times in succession, focusing her vision, then smiling, then leaning forward, then parting her lips slightly giving Chad a kiss on his forehead.
“Good morning”, sung from her voice. “What time is it?”
“Just after 8”
“Shit,” she shrieked, the moment completely gone. “I’m late for class.”
Leaping our of the bed, Erin fumbled for the hair tie that rested on his desk, in the process knocking over a Styrofoam Bojangles cup that once was the home of sweet tea, but now just housed the remnants of crushed ice that hadn’t melted yet.
“Shit. Sorry. I need to go. Love you. See you tonight.”
And as quickly as she woke up she was out the door and headed to her first class, the ice from the Bojangles Cup scattered across the hard-wood floor.
Chad, unfazed, reset his alarm. His first class of the day, HIST 400 - Medieval History with Caroline Dunn would take attendance in 27 minutes. Chad would not be there. His 9:00 a.m. wake up call would buzz precisely 30 minutes after Dunn would have called his name. He resigned himself to his bed until at least 9 o’clock, with his first class of the day being breakfast at Harcombe Dining Hall.
For Chad, Harcombe Dining Hall was a short walk. Living in McCabe Hall, a five-story building that houses about 290 Clemson students, the trip over to the dining hall took Chad no more than eight minutes. For Erin on the other hand, the trip to Harcombe’s dining hall was much longer. She lived in Smith Hall, an all female dorm on the opposite side of campus. Her commute was much longer to the favorite dining destination of her boyfriend, who would graduate with her in just less than three months.