6:55 a.m.: My alarm is screaming. I wake up and throw on jeans and a T-shirt. I don’t know which ones, and I don’t know if they match. I don’t have time to care. I sprint for the Gilbert Hall staircase. My RA shouts for me. She says I look stressed. She’s concerned. She pleads with me to talk to her. She falls to her knees and begs. I ignore her. At this moment, there is only one thing that matters. I am consumed with a single thought; a mantra stuck on a never-ending cycle.

Maybe there will be blueberries at the Douglass dining hall yogurt station today.

6:57 a.m.: I jump down three flights of stairs in a Spiderman-esque fashion and burst out of the front door. I fly through the crowds of people going to get breakfast. I shove them out of my way as I pass. They curse and call me names, but I can barely hear them over the turmoil up in my brain. Will there be blueberries today? Will there be the guest star, pineapple? Or will I now and forevermore be slapped in the face with the fluorescent, traffic cone-reminiscent, bright orange tint of canned peaches drowned in an unidentifiable clear juice?

6:59 a.m.: I’m inside Douglass Commons. My face is pressed against the cold glass as I gape at the swipe station, hoping that the look of existential terror on my face will compel someone to unlock the doors a minute early. I am a prisoner trapped in a cruel, cruel game, a puppet bound by an all-powerful puppeteer. I do not mind; I will soon break free. 

6:59 a.m. and 40 seconds: I lose control of my body; unbridled adrenaline consumes every facet of my existence. I shatter the door using my mighty fists and sheer willpower and sprint through the maze-like dining hall before anyone can tell me to stop. I sprint past the egg pizza. I race past the pancakes and tater tots. A voice tells me to “have a happy silly day.” I chuckle under my breath, for how can I be happy and silly under such conditions?

I pass by the dessert station and enter a meditative state. The Wok is in sight. My lungs compress. I whip out my inhaler, take a few hits, and peer at the big black screen that will determine the course of my day, the course of my year, and perhaps the course of my life. 

And there it stands, shining as bright as the tears that uncontrollably stream from my eyes. In beautiful, all-caps Times New Roman, there it is, between “OVERNIGHT OATS” and “GREEK YOGURT.” In all of its glory, “BLUEBERRIES.”

I snatch a bowl with my left hand and convulse with my right. I throw myself at the yogurt station and peek over the counter. 

And there it is. 

Canned peaches.

I see, but I do not understand. I cautiously reach my hand into the container to make sure my eyes aren’t playing tricks on me. My hands confirmed what my eyes hypothesized — this specimen is squishy and unpleasant, far from the gentle touch of blueberries, with no resemblance to their firm and inviting nature.

I stiffen. I stand and I cannot move. I have fallen prey to their elaborate scheme yet again. My mind empties.

I have no recollection of what happened next. Some say I fell to the floor and sobbed. Some say I stood perfectly still, my face blank, muttering nothing but “Peaches… peaches… peaches…” under my breath. Some say that Public Safety took me away. Some say that Sarah Mangelsdorf personally came to the dining hall and expelled me. I can neither confirm nor deny any of these allegations.

7:55 a.m.: I regain consciousness, and I am somehow back in my room. I won’t be eating Dougie breakfast; the saltiness of my tears is enough sustenance for the day.

I climb into my bed and set my alarm for the following day at 6:55 a.m. 

Maybe things will work out for me tomorrow.

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