Spring semester of my sophomore year of college, there were too many unwanted things happening in my life. First off, I was training for the Wilderness running tests. To be a Wilderness guide, after you are accepted, you have to pass two different running tests. I had never ran more than a mile before in my whole entire life. I was unbelievably excited to be a Wilderness guide, but was dreading these tests with every fiber of my being.
I ran six days a week- every day except for Monday. I didn’t have enough time to run on Mondays, because I was in class all day and went straight to Young Life afterwards. Monday was my rest day.
Second terrible thing happening to me: Hands on Science
There is a terrible building on the UT campus called Robert Lee Moore Hall, or, to its students, the RLM. The RLM is big and tall and full of math majors. It’s the math building, and while education majors are far from math majors, for some reason, we are required to take four science classes at the RLM. Like colorful little sorority shirt wearing fruit loops in a bowl full of equation solving and cancer curing cheerios, we stood out. The whole building knew we were at the RLM for “Hands on Science.” Hands on Science is the kind of class that asks big questions, and make you really think about how life works. Questions like, “if I push this lego car down a small hill, will it more faster or slower than if I push it on the flat table?” and, “are clouds really full of cotton balls?”
Hands on Science is the reason that education majors are laughed at.
We take four semesters of these classes, sitting in the RLM while our intelligence is insulted for seven hours a week.
That Spring semester, while I was learning to run, (literally, learning to run. I didn’t know how), I was in my fourth and final of these science classes. I was tired and sweaty, sitting in a classroom three days a week, repeatedly banging my head on the concrete lab table for three hours.
But there was one good thing happening to me amidst all of the torture, one silver lining to my rain clouds (which are not, actually, made of cotton balls. Thanks Hands on Science!).
Cinnamon Roll Mondays.
The downstairs of the RLM has a little coffee shop, and that coffee shop sells the best cinnamon rolls I have ever had in my entire life. These cinnamon rolls were my saving grace. These cinnamon rolls called for individual attention, for all eyes to be on them, for an entire day to be dedicated to them. And not just one day of the year, not like MLK has his own day, no, these cinnamon rolls needed their own day every week.
Every Monday, cherishing my sweet day of rest, I would stop at the coffee shop before heading up the stairs to class.
“One cinnamon roll please,” I swipe my card, and just like that, heaven is within reach. I walk up the stairs and into class, conscious that inside the small paper bag is the most valuable treasure in the whole world.
I walk in. The whole class stops what they were doing, noses perk up, and all eyes are on me as I walk through the door. They know my secret. There are some things you just can’t hide.
I sit at my lab table and open the brown parcel, neatly wrapped in its “Texas Coffee Traders” bag. I gently, as if holding the elder wand, full of beauty and magic and danger, pull the precious roll out of its bag and set it down on top of the brown paper. Cinnamon and pastry flakes off on top, while the gooey goodness oozes out of the inside. I cherish each bite. Pulling a piece off, placing it in my eagerly awaiting mouth, letting the sweetness of it wash over me, taking me to another realm, far from Robert Lee Moore Hall. I pull the heavenly pastry apart, piece by piece, eagerly awaiting what lies at its core- the most treasured piece of the entire cinnamon roll.
I reach it. The core, the heart of my treat. My eagerly awaited treasure. It’s soft and delicate, not flaky like the outside. Soft and tender and covered with sticky, mouth watering, cinnamon sugar syrup. I eat it in three slow bites, savoring each one more than the last.
I open my eyes, realizing I’ve been groaning as I devour my gift from above. Pencils are out, everyone else is working. Back to reality.
I pick up my pencil and begin answering our warm up question: what is it called when water falls from clouds?
Sometimes, in the midst of a busy season, in the middle of an unwanted responsibility, a pressure to pass an athletic test we are in no way prepared for, an obligatory class that ends up being the bane of our existence, we need a tiny escape. A tiny break from reality, a brief glimpse of the joy that is to come. A Cinnamon Roll Monday.