Derek stepped into the dorm, but not before making a note of the stairwell down the hall from their room.
The first thing that hit him was the height. Two Derek’s standing one on top of the next wouldn’t even be able to reach up to the ceiling. The walls were painted a calming manila, the ceiling –eggshell-white.
Jerry tossed himself at one of the two beds that lined up against the opposite walls. His half of the room furnished already.
Derek set to work at his closet. Opening its door blocked Jerry’s view of what Derek was doing. Still he wanted to know where Jerry was in the room. Have to keep him talking.
“Awe!” Jerry shouted.
Derek jumped, almost cracking his skull against the doorknob.
“It’s so, just-”
Derek heard Jerry huff, frustrated, “stripping, I guess.”
Derek stuffed his flashlight and a water bottle in his string-pull gym sack, “How’s that?”
“People. They change a lot, you know? But you throw something into this crowd of diverse, ever-changing pack o’ people. Something to marvel at. They experience awe together. It’s objective! Nobody thinks about the petty, primitive things.”
Derek tugged the gym sack closed, rose, and slipped both straps over his slim shoulders. Closing the closet, he saw Jerry was still, his face staring at the ceiling intensely.
The heat coalesced around Derek as he and his group followed Jerry outside. Just past midday, the regular crisp breezes battered away any chances for the warmth to concentrate at an uncomfortable level.
They crossed the street, heading toward where most the campus was situated. Jerry was whistling a tune. Derek slipped his earbuds under his shirt and popped one in his right ear, Hello College.