I feel like I’m holding hands with the whole campus right now. Except instead of each other’s hands, we are all holding
the same drink.
But there is still something lovely about that, no? Something intimate about seeing someone cruise past you in the halls holding the same drink you are: the same pastel green matcha with blood-red flavoring at the bottom and far too much ice at the top.
There is a certain relatedness between two people when that happens: If you run into a friend whilst waiting in line for the drink, you can catch up right there, and all of the sudden you do not have to do the work of organizing a hangout. The matcha matches y’all’s energy. A brief exchange with a complete stranger: “Have you tried the drink of the month? I know right!? It’s so good!” and voilá. A fleeting experience shared; a friend made, even if just momentarily.
And even if we do not speak and simply stroll past each other in the halls or Catch a glimpse of the beverage on a desk next to someone’s laptop as they work, It still lifts the corners of my mouth into a smirk.
All these trash cans overflowing with empty plastic cups
— like confetti and popped balloons littered across a living room after a party– become signifiers of recently had fun
as someone just recently enjoyed the same drink you are having.
There are workers who have begun recognizing me simply because of how often I show up at the Cage; their elation is a treat in and of itself.
It’s like you get a complimentary shot
Of dopamine with your order.
With our faces covered, you cannot see the quiet connections and hidden smiles. But when you unmask to take your first sip, it’s like all the accumulated smiles pour out Augmenting the campus atmosphere, making that first sip even sweeter. May not seem like much, but these tiny threads of human connection feed the soul over time. I find myself tallying up these small connections threaded between myself and other people on campus. If you collect enough of them, you could knit yourself a sweater to keep you warm in the loneliest of moments.
We all prance through this campus complete with our own
P ona Tr s
ers lity ai
Our individual lives are vivid little universes with entire casts of characters and plot lines, and this drink is one of the few things that shows up in every student’s storyline; like a running joke that keeps being referenced in multiple film franchises or like a continuity that pops up in every corner of the multiverse.
I have seen students of so many nationalities, races, shapes, sizes, styles, majors, zodiac signs, dominant hands, preferred shoulders to keep their backpacks on and practically all other discernible differences house a Strawberry Matcha in their hands and it’s heartwarming. (I mean the sight of it is heartwarming. the drink itself is not warming because again, far too much ice in that mug.)
How sweet the world would be if we agreed on things like we did this drink.
Ode to Students who Dislike the Strawberry Matcha:
You are not welcome here.