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**Entry 2 out of the ten day marathon**

Winter pinched my cheeks with its cold fingers and blew into my eyes. Only the face visible to people, head wrapped in a fur-framed hood, I made my way to the University Center on stiff legs. My feet were sweating inside my black hiking boots and my mind was racing with thoughts of obligation. I felt as though someone had encased me in a bubble that separated me from the people around me. Plenty of them were outside, walking towards some destination, their arms and minds crammed with books, notes, bags, phones and little balls of stress concerning their exams. Third day. I could hear them chatter with each other or on their phones or them panting against the biting air, clouds seeping through their lips. I faintly felt them pass me, I felt the danger under my feet, the layer of ice threatening to take me down.

I couldn’t push anything aside. I kept worrying about my possibly flunked Spanish final and how carelessly I had answered the questions during that graphic design exam and the essay on James Joyce I had turned in three hours too late. The professor had understood perfectly, but I wasn’t sure if I had made my point clear. Now I had to finish yet another paper and a portfolio for my creative writing class, not to mention the screaming deadline I had with the Organic Reporting Project, so many more things to write…

"Life Clings to You Like a Disease" by Jessica Kay Lynn Beard

“Life Clings to You Like a Disease” by Jessica Kay Lynn Beard

Whenever I’m stressed like this, my mom always advises me to clear my head and begin focusing solely on one thing. As I was getting closer to the UC, I strongly felt that I needed a distraction from my own anxious mind so I stopped suddenly in front of the art gallery. I stared at the sign announcing the latest exhibit and remembering that I had wanted to go to the opening reception that previous weekend. I had a little over two hours before I had to be back at east campus. Not wishing to spend another second pondering on my crumbling life, I stepped towards the door and went inside.

"The Hopeless" by Jessica Kay Lynn Beard

“The Hopeless” by Jessica Kay Lynn Beard

"Emergence" by Jessica Kay Lynn Beard

“Emergence” by Jessica Kay Lynn Beard

"Petrified" by Jessica Kat Lynn Beard

“Petrified” by Jessica Kay Lynn Beard

Chelsea Damico with the following: "Feral," "Through the Eyes" and "Obscured"

Chelsea Damico with the following: “Feral,” “Through the Eyes” and “Obscured”

"When I Look Into Your Eyes" by Bryan Bajos

“When I Look Into Your Eyes” by Bryan Bajos

"The Plague Doctor" by Bryan Bajos

“The Plague Doctor” by Bryan Bajos

(Forgot to check for name and title.) Pretty, though.

(Forgot to check for name and title.) Pretty, though.

These picture are only a handful of beautiful things that I saw inside the gallery. I wish I could have taken more pictures, but most often, my image reflected in the glass in front of the painting or photograph or drawing I was admiring. That wouldn’t have been worth putting up on here and I’m as bad already taking nice pictures on a cell. When I exited the building twenty minutes later, the pressure I’d felt pushing on my brain had lightened slightly and my head had welcomed a few new faces. The naked bodies, the foxes, the eyes, the doctor, the sculptures and the light inside the gallery had managed to calm me down. There is something about completed art hanging on a wall or sitting under a spot light (or standing on a bookshelf for that matter) that inspires me to push myself. Whatever the final products of my labor will be, I’ll know that I did my best. Ready to face more upcoming challenges, I steered to the right and walked on.

**

My article on food recalls was completed a few days later and published on Monday, December 16 by Midland Daily News. It came online the day after.

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