My Chair Squeaked in Ref and I Had to Flee in Shame

Graphic by Emma Sullaway

It was a Monday night in late October. I had an Art Hum paper due the next day, so I went to Ref for a few hours to crank out the final few paragraphs. I figured the dead-silent intensity of that marble cage with all those heads bowed beneath the ornate chandeliers would force me to focus. It did for a while. And then, it all went wrong…

As I got up to take a break about an hour and a half into my study session, I stepped back too quickly and the heel of my shoe hit the leg of the fancy armchair. SQUEAAKKKKKKK. 

Before I could even comprehend what had happened, the noise of my chair scraping the floor shattered the silence in the massive room. Everywhere, heads looked up. A grad student flashed a disappointed glare in my direction. The person sitting next to me turned away to avoid shame by association. 

Somewhere, a puppy died.

So I ran. I ran out of Ref and down those massive stairs and out onto the laws and then past NoCo. I ran until I collapsed in a heap, 40 blocks north of campus, the echo of the squeak still ringing in my ears. 

I’m not going back for my laptop. I’ll submit my transfer application from my phone.