“What are the two main chemical elements in nuclear fusion?”
Quiet invaded Chelsea’s room as we struggled to stay awake at 1 AM and focus on elements of chemistry which most of us, except for Chels’ roommate Megan, would never study (or use) again.
“Uh, let’s see,” said Carley, the blond beauty queen from Kentucky whose real beauty was hidden underneath in a funny yet sarcastic way of mimicking our chemistry teacher, Professor Sharon’s, New England accent. “Uh, lithium and tribulium attack one another and nuclear fusin’ takes place.” The stunned second of silence was broken by gales of laughter as we reacted to Carley’s outlandish and accented answer.
Lindy, the smartest girl in the group, said, “God Carls, that is the most outlandish answer I’ve ever heard!”
“Well,” she replied, “I am soo tired, I have no idea what I’m sayin.”
I spoken up, partly to keep the conversation moving and partly to stay awake. “Nuclear fusion is caused when deuterium and tritium accelerate at each other and form a He-4 nucleus which causes kinetic energy.”
“Serious, Alice? You are serious?” came the response from one my closest friends, Georgia. Pennsylvania born and bred, she always used the words “seriously” or “serious” in just about every sentence she uttered. “Yes, Georg,” I said, “serious.” More laughter was followed by a knock at the door and voice of the RA or resident assistant, Meg, a senior who was a few weeks away from joining the Air Force as an officer candidate.
“Girls, it is time to break up the study circle. Good.night!”
Mumbling, with a few swear words under some breaths, was the response which wafted out of the room and into the semi-quiet hallway. Stumbling to the elevator, I pushed the button for my floor and when my feet turned in the direction of my bed after locking my dorm room, I dragged the covers over my semi-conscious state and into full sleep.
The next morning the sunlight streamed through the window of my dorm room and hit me full force and I stared into my alarm clock trying to read it’s red numerals. “6:15” it read. I looked over at Melissa’s bed. It was vacant and made. I was sure she was in bed five hours earlier.
With too much coffee and not enough food, I hit the main door of my dorm at full tilt with a throbbing headache and a stomach which would take very little to upset and send me retching into the nearest bush.
“God, help me.”