February 7, 2019
2:00 p.m. My phone dies in the middle of a shift at my job at the Downtown Market.
3:20 p.m. I arrive home from work to find the power is out and our apartment is already a little cool. I try to call Luke and let him know, but my phone is dead.
4 p.m. I change clothes and head to Yoga Fever early to charge my phone.
4:30 p.m. A hot, challenging vinyasa class.
6:00 p.m. Luke and I meet up at Global Infusion to find twenty-first birthday gifts for his brother, Tom. We settle on knitted gloves, mint tea, “Hangover Helper” tea, and a tea ball strainer.
6:45 p.m. At home, we find our one flashlight and light our one candle. Thankfully, the shower produces hot water.
7:05 p.m. Driving down Alpine, many traffic lights and storefronts are disappointingly dark, and our stomachs are growling.
7:15 p.m. Firehouse Subs it is, then.
8:30 p.m. Fumbling up the stairs to reach our third-floor apartment, we nearly collide with a neighbor coming down without a light.
8:45 p.m. Using a headlamp, Luke begins his theology homework, successfully completing one reading assignment and unable to get far in the second: a glossy paged textbook becomes glaring and unreadable with a headlamp pointed at it. On the other end of the couch, by the flashlight of my phone, I remove my chipped nail polish in preparation for my interview the next day.
9:50 p.m. We snuggle into bed, marveling at the spooky howl of the wind outside, hoping that the power will be back when we wake up.
February 8, 2019
12:10 a.m. The wind wakes me. I reach for my phone to check the time and find a text from my mother, delivered at 11 p.m. Ruff, our gentle, handsome, beloved dog of nearly twelve years passed away earlier in the evening.
3:37 a.m. I wake again, check the time, and reach my foot out from under the covers. The air is significantly colder. Luke rolls over.
“I checked my phone a couple hours ago. Mami told me that Ruffie died.”
“Oohh, Sadie. I’m so sorry.”
He pulls me close and we fall asleep.
6:30 a.m. Before leaving for school, Luke lays a thick wool blanket from Ecuador over the comforter, tucking it in around me.
9:30 a.m. It is COLD. I skitter to the kitchen, slap peanut butter on some bread, bring it back to bed with me, and eat while reading A People’s History of the United States.
10:30 a.m. My interview for the position of Program Coordinator for College Access Programs at Calvin College is scheduled for 1 p.m.. Better to get ready now, arrive early on campus, and be warm than to stay here and shiver until noon. When I go to wash my face, the water is so icy that it hurts my teeth.
10:35 a.m. Seated on the floor in front of our biggest window, my best light source right now, I nearly botch my makeup with my stiff fingers.
11:15 a.m. Time to pack my interview clothes, selected days in advance: black pencil skirt, burgundy turtleneck, suede ankle boots, black tights, gold necklace. Everything is checked, confirmed, double checked, and carefully placed in my backpack. No need to look cute for the car and freeze on the drive over.
11:55 a.m. One week earlier, I completed a two-hour interview with a panel of Calvin staff. Today, I’ve been told, will be a fifteen-minute meeting with the Vice President of Enrollment in the breakfast area at the Prince Conference Center. In a bathroom stall at Prince, I pull out the skirt and reach for the tights.
They aren’t there.
I pull out the sweater, shake it out, shake the skirt, feel inside the boots, open every pocket of the backpack, check my coat pockets, hood, everywhere.
Pick an expletive. I said them all.
I know I rolled the tights. I know I laid them out my bed and rolled them up with a pair of ankle socks. Try as I might, though, I realize that despite the two, three times I checked the bag and thought I saw the tights, I have no actual memory of placing the rolled tights inside the bag.
12 p.m. I drop my jeans to check the condition of my legs. Maybe I can go tights-free?
Obviously not. It’s winter. I haven’t shaved in over a week. Can I make it home and back in time?
12:03 p.m. The mall! H&M! I can do this. I can solve this problem of my own making. I just have to get back here by 12:40 to change and fix my hair.
12:07 p.m. Despite having professed hatred of those who are so obnoxious as to drive fast in snowy conditions, I proceed to drive fast in snowy conditions to Woodland Mall, my eyes tracking back and forth from the road to the time display on my dashboard.
12:16 p.m. Why is the parking lot so damn full at noon on a weekday??
12:18 p.m. I stride through the food court, trying not to slip on the puddles of melted snow. If I get the job, this story will be my next blog post.
12:19 p.m. In H&M, an employee hugs her coworker and says, “Relax,” as I hustle to the back of the store.
Ha, okay, God. Black tights, black tights, THERE!
12:24 p.m. More fast driving in the snow.
12:32 p.m. Bitch, we are doing this. Back in the same bathroom stall at Prince, I breathe deeply and dress slowly. It wouldn’t do to have gone through all this only to get a run in those tights in my haste.
12:43 p.m. I shimmy, wink, and blow kisses to myself in the mirror.
12:45 p.m. My butt lands in a chair in the breakfast area. I made it. I’m here.
1:02 p.m. Mr. Bloem, the Vice President, arrives. The Board of Trustees is in town and he is meeting with me in between sessions with them. He asks for my understanding of and interest in the position, and I explain how participating in the Entrada Scholars Program as a scholar, Resident Assistant, and Resident Director shaped me during my time at Calvin and after; he asks how I found Calvin from all the way in Alabama and I begin to explain that a close family friend attended Calvin, and that she originally—
1:15 p.m. “Ope, it’s 1:15, I’ve got to run now,” he says. “Thank you, great to meet you, the Director of College Access Programs will be in touch,” he shakes my hand warmly and hurries off.
1:16 p.m. Okay. Okay. I think that was good. I walk back to the bathroom and change into my warm clothes.
1:29 p.m. As I drive to a 2 p.m. substitute shift at Kent District Library, I call my mom to find out what happened to Ruff and to tell her about the interview. She reminds me of the health problems Ruff had suffered over the past few months, that he’d been having trouble breathing for a while following surgery to remove a growth in his throat. “He had been wheezing all day yesterday—” My phone begins to buzz with another call.
“Mami, I think they’re calling me about the job.”
“AH! Go, go!”
1:32 p.m. “Hi, this is Sadie!”
“Hi, Sadie, it’s Nygil.”
“Well, two things. First, I wanted to call and see how your conversation with Russ Bloem went.”
“Oh, it was lovely, we chatted about my understanding of and interest in the position, and we were beginning to talk about how I found Calvin when he had to go, but it was really nice.”
“That’s great to hear! And second, I am calling to offer you the position. I hope you will consider it—”
*A tiny squeal* “I heartily accept!” (Heartily? Have I ever used the word “heartily” in a sentence before today?)
1:37 p.m. “Hey, my girl.”
“Mami, I got the job.”
*Shrieks and hallelujahs*
1:48 p.m. “Hi, baby!”
“Hi, Luke. This is the Program Coordinator for College Access Programs.”
*Screaming and laughing*
1:59 p.m. I hang up the phone. I walk into the library for my shift.
Sadie Burgher (‘17) graduated with degrees in environmental studies and writing and has spent the past year working in libraries. She loves essential oils, books, and the idea of getting fit. She is married to Luke, and they make their nest in Grand Rapids, MI.