It is 11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. I feel somewhat satisfied with myself, up and ready to go before noon. I look at neglected blankets lying on my bed; I want to crawl back in and enjoy their softness but I resist. I throw on my black puffy north face coat that makes me feel like I am wearing a sleeping bag, and head outside of my dorm building.
As I walk to the parking lot near my dorm I look around to see other students walking through the quad, most likely heading to the campus dining hall. I see many familiar faces: a girl who played lacrosse with me my freshman year of college, a guy that sits near me in my psychology class, and another kid who smokes cigarettes outside my dorm building whose name I can never remember. It is hard to believe I have survived at this college for almost four years now. Crossing paths with the same faces every day, it is hard to believe the population is half the size of the high school I attended.
You would be surprised what people might know about a person around here. Everyone you see here knows you, probably more about you than you want them to.
I escape my thoughts and continue to head my way to the parking lot searching for my small white Nissan. Thankfully, I walk to the right parking lot because there I see my friend, waiting next to the car because I am late per usual. I promised earlier this week I would drop her off at her professor’s house for brunch, and as we begin driving I can’t help but admire the weather. It is the beginning of February. The sun rises early again after being locked away for the winter, the rolling hills of Ohio turn from brown into a radiant green, and when I take a large breath, I can feel the warmth of the afternoon air fill my lungs.
We arrive at my friend’s professor’s home. It is adorable. Decorated with light blue siding and a small path leading to the entryway, it could not look more inviting. I glimpse over at her yard as my friend shuts my car door and makes her way to the little blue home. I see small toys littered across the backyard; I assume she has young children.
I pull away from the home and drive down the brick road. My car jumps uncomfortably as I hit potholes and corners of bricks protruding from the street. I drive for ten minutes through Wooster, passing downtown and out to the rural land to a destination particularly special to me. I turn down a dirt road with the windows down, enjoying the warmth from the February sun. It reminds me of Minnesota where the sun will sit at its peak in the afternoon and when you face it, you can feel the blood in your cheeks rushing towards the surface, causing them to flush and you start to forget that the temperature is in the negatives. Luckily it does not reach to that extreme of winter here in Wooster but I am not sure what is worse: harsh Minnesota winters or being imprisoned by Ohio’s dead cornfields.
I arrive to my destination and there it is: a gleaming pool of water. Growing up in the land of 10,000 lakes makes me miss its scenery, solidarity, openness, and the memories that came with them. Whenever I see a glimpse of water in Ohio, I feel a sense of relief, the kind that makes time freeze at that very moment, making your body relaxed and your mind stress-free. I pull my car over on the side of the dirt road, pull onto the grass, and park, bringing along with me The Lucifer Effect. It is a book about how good people turn evil. I promised myself I would start a month ago, but college got in the way.
I start to feel it in my chest, a sense of nervousness, like little vines wrapping around my heart and constricting it. But I seem to always feel this way when I first arrive here.
Does someone own this land? – or this body of water before me?
I genuinely try to care but I’m captivated by the sun, beaming off my prize. I walk over to the red picnic bench in front of the small body of water and sit.
I discard my puffy coat and take out my book, still taking glimpses of my view. I try to read two pages but feel mesmerized by the open space as the warm sun and transparent pool of water attracts my attention. I look around me and off in the distance I get distracted by a man running. I can see his gray hair afar and assume he is in his late fifties. He’s working hard, I can tell because he’s wearing his blue and yellow windbreaker around his neck like a superhero and running up the hill in his glasses, his face beet red. I lean against the bench watching the man, examining him a little closer. I’m impressed.
I take a last look at the giant pond and take it all in before I have to leave. Picking up my book I head back to my car, wondering if I will see the older man as I exit the area.
Oh do I see him. Still looking like a superhero with his windbreaker cape he now carries another prop, a giant stick. He hits the metal road siding with an in-sync motion. He looks like a barbarian or the next contestant on the Amazing Race. I slow down to get a better glimpse at this mysterious man.
Choking on laughter, I recognize the face that every Wooster student knows. The superhero man, running in the wind with his cape and stick: our very own Dean Kruzman.