“You might want to get your wits about you!” My roommate flung the dorm door wide open. “There’s a frightful storm, and I fear that Lathrop might flood, so…” He shrugged. “Best be ready for whatever. Half of the systems are already down.”
I glanced out the wide window. My eyes widened. “Oh, damn.”
The streets were filled by twin rivers spilling out of the gutters on both sides. Clouds soaked inky black with rain rolled up above. Although the clock on the wall read 7:34 a.m., it seemed like night outside. Just as I had this thought, lightning burned across the clouds’ low bellies and lit the scene brighter than midday. My heart flipped over. I coughed roughly.
Cautiously, I set my feet on the carpet and stepped lightly toward my closet to get dressed. I knew the thunder would come no matter how quietly and carefully I moved, but I still kept light on my feet to try to avert the oncoming crash. Lightning lit the room, and a beat later, thunder roared and shook the floor. I coughed again, deep and shuddering.
After tiptoeing through getting dressed, I crept down the stairs. I kept braced against the banister, trying not to cough too violently when the thunder rolled through. I came into view of North Drive to see a foot of water lapping in the narrow street. Immediately I regretted getting up that morning for Biology. I thought about skipping,
but I persisted. Thinking quickly, I zipped up my coat to my nose, slightly resembling a baby carrot. The Lathrop doors opened stiffly, sweeping a thin spray of water into the flooded hall. Thankfully, the alcove room was higher than the rest of the ground floor. But the outdoors loomed ahead.
Thunder rolled. The Deece laid seemingly miles away, mocking me.
I took my first step into the gale, picking my way toward the heart of the storm. The wind whipped at a decibel never before heard. The journey through the gale became exponentially more difficult. I could no longer listen to approximately 45 seconds of music on the walk over. I flinch.
How will I be able to entertain myself now? The heart of the storm was drawing ever closer, but the promise of Deece fries drew ever nearer. I looked down at my shoes; the only accessory I had forgotten was rain boots. “No!” I cried out to the gale, “The first rainstorm that might best me. These are $300 shoes!”
Finally, I had stumbled upon the Holy Land. The end was in sight. There it was, the door to the Deece entrance, light emitting from every corner. Thankfully, it was elevated a few steps, and the floor was fairly dry. The rivulets made a labyrinth of stonework ahead. The battle wasn’t yet. The large, curved window in the upper wall and ceiling let out the dim, grey light of the Deece. I quaked in anticipation. “Dear God,” I uttered in sheer wonder, “It’s beautiful.”
I began to make my way up the marble steps, the rain doing everything in its power to put itself between my mouth and those luscious Deece fries.
I fumbled with my umbrella and bag. I didn’t have enough hands to open the monstrous wooden door. So, I had to do the most impossible, most draining, most dangerous task—I had to wait for someone else to open the door.
I waited and watched the storm through the window. It had been maybe been three minutes since this journey began, but it felt life a lifetime. As low thunder rolled louder and louder, my resolve weakened. Was I ever meant to devour those tremendously delicious fries? Was it only a pipe dream?
The door creaked, my heart pounded. Light pooled out of the opening. It was glorious. It was remarkable. It was the inside of the Deece. I took my first step into its hallowed halls. The light was blinding, but it was no matter. There, out of the corner of my eyes, the silver bowl of fries glistened.
I made my way over, slowly. Rain dripped off of every edge of my coat. The bowl drew near. I was now within three feet of the bowl, my eyes tearing up with anticipation. I could almost taste the golden-brown rectangles.
I stopped, peering into the container that held my destiny.
The bowl was empty.