Guys I thought today was going to be a regular thursday. Class, lunch, photoshoot, sleep. As all regular days go.
I always get to spanish 15 minutes before 9 and sit in a chair across from Prof. Tobin’s room on the third floor of Estabrook. Today, I was writing notes on film photography (probably will make film my primary mode of photography, leaving digital for events, but that’s another post). Usually there is no one on the floor except electricians fixing the ever problematic wires dangling from the patchy ceiling.
9:45, 3rd floor Estabrook- a custodian walks by me talking to herself. I asked her how she was doing and she responded with upset and confused. She told me her husband was sick with cancer combined with severe rheumatoid arthritis. She told me that he didn’t look good and his health was deteriorating before her very eyes. “I’m sorry”, I said, not knowing what to respond. His doctor, also with cancer, couldn’t give him medications to calm his arthritis, knowing that it would cause the cancer to form tumors internally. Angry, confused, and upset, she walked on, still talking to herself as she continued to do so.
7:10, red chairs UC – I can’t stop thinking. I can’t stop thinking about how short life is. I want to cry, but I can’t and don’t want to in the middle of the library. I’m here, in college, with a roof over head, people who care and with no serious health issues. I am privileged to live such a life, and often I take it for granted. There are few things I regret — not going to be able to study abroad in my 4 years of undergrad, not having a pet, but in the grand scheme of things, these things are meaningless. I exist, and that’s a gift in and of itself.
I didn’t think this 6 minute conversation would impact me as much as it did, but conversations are a moment of reflection that is often taken for granted. I don’t think I will ever be able to feel the same emotions as the custodian I met today in Estabrook, but I can sure get into her headspace. She was hopeless, searching for a cure that will keep eluding her, as sisyphus was with his rock and tantalus with the grapes. This was a tunnel with no light at the end, an endless stretch of black trapped against a bright blue sky.