Walking across Lower Sproul Plaza, late on an early September night. It's still warm, still that completely un-PC term of Indian Summer. There's a hint of a breeze. I almost wish I had a sweater, but I'm warm on the inside. I've just finished filling out my "preference card" for sorority recruitment (AKA Rush). I am a college freshman. I'm wearing a white t-shirt and a blue and white plaid "skort" (I'll soon learn why this is unquestionably not something I should ever wear in public). I've got on my favorite sandals, the leather soft and supple but the shoes still in good condition (unlike my favorite flip-flops, which have retired to my parents' garage), and my legs are long and tan. I can feel the breeze on my arms - also tan from a season of swim team and a summer in the sun. I feel beautiful. I feel like I'm in college.
That moment, that quiet, dark night, the campus belongs to me. Berkeley is mine and mine alone.
Heading to class, walking through the Eucylaptus grove, watching my feet on the flagstone path, I think about how one day, one distant day, I will walk that path with my husband, my child. That moment. Well, those multiple moments, belong completely to me. I breathe in the fresh smell of the trees. I feel my feet on the hard, cold ground. I brush autumn's leaves out of my path.
Late afternoons, walking up Bancroft Avenue, heading to the sorority that I chose and that chose me, I hear the sounds of people yelling, talking, living. I walk, sometimes hunched over with the weight of my backback, sometimes fresh and happy, eager for the evening ahead. All of Berkeley belongs to me.
Crowded in the bathroom. Hurrying around my own bedroom, curlers, hair dryers, makeup, clothes, scattered around the room. Making that wonderful mess that is getting ready for a party. Curling someone else's hair (even if she ended up not liking it later). Zipping dresses. Dancing around to whatever pre-party music someone had chosen. The smell of at least six different perfumes and a dozen different hairsprays permeating the air. Twenty different stereos playing throughout the house, creating a mix no DJ would ever attempt. Those memories, those moments, belong to us all.