Freedom and Sausage

Breakfast.jpgMy first taste of freedom came at breakfast.

(Apologies for the pun.)

I have been away from home for several occasions – camp, conferences, sundry trips – but on all of those occasions, I had a rigid schedule with strict set of rules, the most prevalent being, “YOU MUST EAT EVERY MEAL.”

Being the rule-follower that I am, that was my mentality when I left for a college weekend – by myself. It didn’t even occur to me that we were not required to have breakfast until two girls I was rooming with decided to skip. I opened my mouth to warn them that they had to before I realized: we didn’t. There was no counselor or chaperone to “counsel” us to eat breakfast. That simple realization opened a new world.

I hesitate to use the word “freedom” because living off of weekly (okay, daily) petitions to my parents for money is hardly “freedom.” But working hard, planning for my future, and making my own decisions (yes, even dumb things like eating breakfast or not) is a beautiful kind of freedom.

I’m here because I want to be. And I ate breakfast, and still do, because I want to. Even though it seems to be an unwritten rule of college not to.

Every morning, I wake up, throw on some clothes, add a swipe of mascara, and slip off to the cafeteria for breakfast, leaving my roommate, and the rest of campus, slumbering.

Every morning, I eat alone.

The only other people I ever see in the cafeteria are the athletes; some girls wearing colorful Nike shorts, others wearing basketball shorts, and guys in t-shirt and workout shorts.

One dreary, rainy morning, the athletes were allowed to sleep-in and I discovered a chatty chemistry major who was eager to dump her woeful tale of an 8 o’clock Physics II class on a sympathetic ear. So eager, it didn’t matter that that ear was precariously balancing a thick book, colorful array of G-2 pens, open notebook, and plate of breakfast. From my table, holding my honors reading in one hand and a fork in another, I nodded at her miseries. After a slight lull, she interrupted my studying again to ask what class I had.

“Oh, I have Public Communication at 12:15 and Physics lab after that.”

Her eyes bulged. Her jaw dropped.

“What are you doing up?” she asked in an incredulous tone that implied that I suffer from a mental disorder of the highest degree: early bird syndrome.

I gave the poor girl a small smile and shrugged.

Just enjoying my freedom. And sausage.

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