On the day we submitted our final projects, a day before our formal presentations, I walked into the architecture studio, it being so quite I could have heard an x-acto blade drop. In my sleep-deprived stupor, I had left my laptop at the studio and I couldn’t recall if I had secured it in my lock-box or not. Considering it had been a gift from my parents, a gift they couldn’t afford to give, I needed to take make sure it was safe before starting the eight-hour drive home.
I stopped at my desk, tracing paper stacked and twisted in a monument to the creative process, and opened my lock-box. The door was wide open, the combination lock closed and inside. Beside the lock was a mason jar, clear plastic covering the wide opening, a rubber band wrapping it tightly to the jar, a jar half filled with clear, one-hundred-eighty proof moonshine Nick had made specifically for our three days of all-nighters.
I picked up the mason jar and peeled back the saran wrap, the rubber band shooting back into the lock box, and took a sniff. It smelled as bad as I’d remembered: it reminded me of gasoline. Laying the plastic back over the mouth, I set the jar back in the box just as Sean walked into the studio.
“Hey Weatherman, you’re still here?”
“Yeah. I woke up and remember I forgot to lock my box last night,” I said, pulling out my lock and spinning the dial.
“You happy with your project?”
As I closed the hasp and threaded the curved arm of the lock through the hoop, I shrugged. I’m not very happy with the layout of the spaces inside the building, but the façade and massing turned out pretty well, I thought. “Yeah, for the most part. We’ll see what Halliday thinks when he rips it apart tomorrow. He kept trying to get me to add some detail to the façade, but I like the simplicity.”
“Yeah, he is kind of old school. He’d go ape shit if you added some Doric columns or something,” Sean said laughing.
“No shit. Maybe a dome, or something.”
“Hey, I know we have presentation tomorrow, but do you want to, uh,…” he said, holding his thumb and first finger together, mimicking smoking. “Toke a bit before?”
I felt like hell and God knows I needed something to relax. I had considered the moonshine, but just a few sips of it last night had sent my head spinning. Maybe a smoke would be easier on my system.
“I don’t know,” I said, closing the lock and spinning the combination wheel. “I have first tomorrow, so I have to present at nine.”
“Come on man, it’ll be out of your system before then. If not, it’ll keep you relaxed. You tell me every time you get crazy nervous before crit.”
I picked up my satchel, slinging it over my head and laying the strap across my chest.
“Nah, thanks thought. Maybe when I get back from break. I can’t afford to screw this one up.”
Sean shrugged. “It’s cool man,” he said, a wide smile spreading across his face as we walked out of the studio.
From “Stopping By The Woods On A Snowy Evening”
By Robert Frost
Source: The Poetry Foundation