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Slide Into My DM cnt.


Content: © Rosalie Thorne

Cover Photo: © Z. V. Ezell

Editor – Kathryn Maurer


Slide Into My DM

By Rosalie Thorne


This is my love letter to all of those involved in creating one of my favorite films

You’ve Got Mail. Inspired by the 1998 classic, written by Miklós László (play "Parfumerie"), Nora Ephron (screenplay), Delia Ephron (screenplay), directed by Nora Ephron, starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, I hope you enjoy it!


SLIDE INTO MY DM

“There’s the dream of someone else.”

- You’ve Got Mail


CONTINUED FROM CHAPTER TEN...

Megara


Fifteen minutes seems long enough for someone to be late without warning. It wouldn’t be that hard to voice-to-text or at a stoplight type ‘late’. Looking around, feeling foolish, I put my phone face down on my book. I wouldn’t blame him if he got cold feet, I just wish he would be honest.

My drink down to ice, I figure it would be a good a time as any to leave. I curl around the mugs for sale and throw away the plastic cup, noting I really should pick out a reusable Starbucks bottle.

Just as I turn, I see Thomas Banks (of all fucking people) sitting at my table, looking at my book. “Uh, hi?”

I hadn’t meant for my voice to come off so aggressive but it’s easier to be angry than sad. He seems unphased, “You were right, this is a good book.”

Feeling awkward just standing, I sit, then snatch my book out of his hands. “I know.”

He cups his hands over the table and tilts his head, “Your hair looks really nice.”

Absently my hand reaches for my bun, “Thanks.”

“You don’t mind if I sit here, do you?”

“Actually, I’m kind of expecting someone… he should be here soon.”

He clicks his phone screen on, “Eight-twenty-five on Valentine’s Day, that’s a little late, don’t you think?”

My heart starts pounding furiously, my brows coming together and lips thinning. “And what about you? Couldn’t find anyone to take pity on you? Couldn’t find anyone to buy for the night?”

My hand cups my mouth instantly. Feeling my eyes welling up, I shake my head. “I’m sorry. I didn’t… I’m sorry.” I shove my book in my bag and I stand. “I’m sorry, I have to go.”

He holds my phone out to me, “Frankie is calling.”

I take it and practically run out of the store. Safe in my car, my body is so stressed I can’t help but cry. Calling Frankie back, my voice quakes, “Hello?”

“Meg! Oh my God, Meg!”

“Y-yeah?”

“Something just happened, I have to tell you! Wait… wait, are you crying?”

I hit my steering wheel. “N-no,” I sniff, “I’m fine.” I clear my throat, “What’s going on?”

There’s some movement on her end then her voice softens, “Meg, what’s going on?”

“Nothing. Are you coming home soon?”

“I can be there in ten minutes.”

I blink through tears, looking around. “I’m at Barnes And Noble, it’s going to take me fifteen or twenty.”

“I’ll be there.”


Having cried all the way home, I can’t tell what I’m more upset about. ‘G never showing up or how cruel I was to Thomas. Wiping my face again with my sleeve, it’s dry but puffy and my eyes sting. I struggle through a deep inhale and shake out an exhale then open the door.

Frankie is standing there, hands on her hips. Once she sees me she rushes for a hug, “Meg! Hi!” When she pulls back, her hands go to my face. “What the Hell happened? Who the Hell do I need to beat up?”

After giving her another hug, I walk over to the sofa and plop down. “I went to meet the Instagram guy and he never showed.”

Arms crossed right over her chest; she sits on the armrest of the chair. “What a fucking dick.”

I wave a hand and close my eyes, head back on the cushions. “That’s not even the worst part. Thomas showed up.”

“Motherfucker… what did he say?”

“It wasn’t what he said, it’s what I said.” I look over at her, “I asked why he was alone tonight and then asked not just ‘couldn’t find anyone to take pity on you’ but also ‘couldn’t find anyone to buy for the night’.”

She bursts out laughing, “Oh, Meg. My sweet, innocent Meg.”

I cover my face with both hands. “I didn’t mean a prostitute!”

Still laughing, “Oh, honey, I know.”

“He’s just such a cocky, piece of shit, rich boy….”

She sits down next to me, a hand on my leg. “He’s an asshole, you shouldn’t worry yourself so much over it. Now… this Instagram, guy, though, I’m about ready to tear him a new one.”

I cross my arms over my stomach and look at the ceiling. “I don’t know…. It was last minute, after all. What if there was an emergency or something?”

She scoffs, “Like what?”

“Well… he has a sister, right? Maybe she got her heart broken or something and he had to go help.”

Frankie leans back. “Well, okay. Maybe!” she points. “But he should have at least messaged you.”

Trying to bargain I say, “If he doesn’t message tonight, you can yell at him tomorrow.”

She raises her hands, “Fair enough.”

Finally, feeling less stressed I ask, “What about you, though? What happened? How’d the date go?”

Huge smile on her face, she grabs my hand. “Ralph proposed!” she squeaks.


Thomas


I’ve been thinking… about you, about last night. I wanted to meet you and you never showed. I wish I knew why…. I’m sure whatever came up was important, I’ll totally understand whatever it is you tell me.

I can’t lie, I felt foolish. I’m not one to usually meet up with strangers. I don’t even use dating sites.

And to make it worse… that guy I told you about, the guy that makes my class almost unbearable? He showed up. But it wasn’t so much him that was the problem, (shocking, I know), it was that I was so undeniably cruel.

I said something I shouldn’t have, I said something I want to take back. I don’t know if what I said even mattered to him. I’m utterly insignificant to his grand life, I’m sure.

But it matters to me.

Even if I don’t matter, I shouldn’t have acted that way. There’s no excuse – no matter how annoying he may be, how much he acts like a know-it-all, or whatever issue I may see…

I should not have acted that way.

Anyway, please let me know you’re alright. I was worried all night that you were hurt or something worse.

You are my friend… sometimes you feel like more than a friend. All our little ‘nothing’ conversations have meant a tremendous something to me. So, thank you… and I hope you’re okay.

- T & R


Lying flat on my bed, head at the foot and feet on my pillows, I hold my phone in the air and re-read her message for the third time. I lower my phone to my chest and try to follow the ceiling fan with my eyes. She’s not awful… she’s not. For months she’s proven time and time again and amazing and sweet and wonderful and brilliant a woman she is. She just… felt attacked.

Yeah… she just felt attacked so went on the defense. And now, she’s worried that I – Triple G, I - got into a freakin’ car crash or something. Knowing her – the real her, the T & R her, she probably was worried all night, tossing, and turning. Knowing her, she’d been wanting to blow up my DM.

But what could I possibly say now? That could make any of this okay? Either as Thomas, who she thinks is a pompous asshole, or as Triple G, who stood her up.

I look at my phone again. See her message again. Then click all the way out of Instagram and turn my phone screen off.

I could lie…. I could say a car crash. But then she’d be worried about my safety. So maybe not. What about… a family emergency? But then she’d ask if whoever is okay. Okay… so nothing that would involve me or anyone I know getting hurt.

What about work? No… no, she knows I don’t have a job while focusing on school. Oh! School! Right? … but it was Friday night. And I had already said I was at home, alone, too, and could meet her.

An ex-girlfriend wanted to get back together? No… well, no, right? Because I want her to still like me.

Message open, fuck it.


I am truly sorry for what happened last night. I can’t get into the specifics, but please know that I am alright and accept my apology. My dear friend, I feel awful that not only did I cause you pain, but you felt like you were in a situation where you couldn’t be yourself.

I bet you anything that what you said last night was provoked. Maybe even deserved. Everyone, including myself, says things they soon regret when they are worried or stressed or otherwise emotional. You were expecting to share a table with someone you trusted and feel safe with and were confronted with the opposite instead.

Your hurt is my fault and again I am so sorry. One day I’ll explain everything, and I hope you’ll understand. In the meantime, I’m not going anywhere.

We can have many more nothing somethings to come.

- Triple G.


Chapter Eleven

Megara




Paper plate in hand, I can’t decide if I want another vanilla cupcake or try the chocolate. The succulent-looking icing on top is the same flavor either way. Plus, there’s still plenty enough of both for the rest of Frankie’s engagement party.

They’d originally planned on a Saint Patrick’s Day thing, lots of green and beer, but it landed on a Tuesday this year (leaving classes and work to get in the way). Instead, I helped my best friend and bride-to-be land on a more Spring-themed get-together the weekend before, with plenty of barbecue and mixers. Nothing too girly for her grunge heart and rustic enough for Ralph, even their gifts were atypical to the occasion. (The last gift I witnessed was a his and hers set of roller-skates.)

Vanilla cupcake in hand, I turn away from the table, surveying the large number of people crammed into the small space of the deck. Gifts are apparently done, the couple is hugging various people. Then, Frankie spots me and waves. We manage to meet by the corner railing.

“So? Did he come?” she looks around. “I know I’m supposed to know everyone here but there are still a few people I don’t recognize.”

Shoving the rest of the cupcake in my mouth, my cheeks hamster. I shake my head, and muffle out “No, he said he couldn’t make it.”

“Well… at least we tried. He hasn’t said anything else about meeting up then?”

I shake my head and swallow hard the last bit of icing. “It’s probably for the better, anyway.”

“Maybe. It’s good… right? Maybe just being confidants is what you need. Sort of… therapeutic, yeah?”

My gaze dips, I scratch my nose. “Right.”

“I’m actually kind of proud of you. When you like someone, even the slightest bit, you get sort of micro-focused on what a relationship could be like. Flirting, dates, what the future could be. Sometimes, you get so excited you’re ahead of yourself. But now, look at you! You’re able to just have a friend and be there for them.”

Trying to see the silver lining, I smile. “Right… you’re right. Friendship is just as important.”


Thomas


Green Solo Cup in hand, I haven’t had a single sip of my Irish Car Bomb. Looking across Chad’s deck, I absently people watch as the evening of this Saint Patrick’s Day party unfolds. Guy and girls liquored up, guys in ‘Kiss Me I’m Irish’ tees and girls in green plaid skirts, guys drinking more than they ever should, and girls using this like another slutty Halloween. It’s a mess.

Without pre-gaming and without grabbing a drink upon arrival and without keeping up… I am becoming so viciously aware of how obnoxious this all is. The incoherent behavior, the obnoxious yelling and laughing, the inappropriate PDA… again, it’s a big mess. And add technology into it? It becomes a shit show of Instagram stories and posts, Facebook status and picture updates, live YouTube streams… all for what? To show off how much they can drink? To show off their stupid outfits? To show off how much money they have?

Even without drinking anything I have a bad taste in my mouth. I am thankful for the family I have and the financial stability I have. I know there’s nothing wrong with having money and therefore having nice things… but damn, why waste it? I'd started that whole Sparks Joy thing, thanks to Meg, and now’s another instance I do not at all feel joy.

How is any of this meaningful? It’s not.

Unable to help myself, I look through Meg’s personal profile on Instagram. She’d posted all these pictures of the engagement party she’d help throw for her best friend. Then pictures from the school library as she gets ahead in her classes. From Triple G’s recommendation, she joined my gym, and it’s clearly paying off. And even when she’s at home, whatever she has to say in the comments are thoughtful and genuine.

She cares. With every fiber of her being, she cares about everything she does. Everyone in her life is important to her.

I look back into the crowd ahead of me and realize I know maybe a third of the people by name. Like she’s said… all those ‘nothing’ conversations meant something. Meant something to her, meant something to me. I still smile when I see a new DM, my heart still races as I read her words. She is significant to me.

Meg is significant to me… and it’s time I show her.


Chapter Twelve


… tonight I went drinking. I went to a friend’s party, actually a place I’d gone to plenty of times before. But instead of jumping into the deep end without holding my breath, I waited by the side and took my time. I’ve never been a wallflower, more of a disco ball. But tonight I realize the drawbacks of drowning in the center and realize the perks of watching from afar.

Goggles off and everything becomes clear. All these personal details we’ve been avoiding are now at the forefront of my mind. I thought I knew exactly what I was doing, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted. But when left to my own devices I’ve found I am actually rather lost.

I admire how focused you are. I admire that you know your limits. I admire that you not only know what you want, but what you need. You have become an inspiration to me and I hope to do right by you.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day,

Triple G.


Change can be a good thing. Change can be everything you needed and more. But change can also mean something you didn’t want to happen at all has and there’s no way of avoiding it. No way of going back… so we must accept the new normal.

My roommate/BFF has basically moved out. She got engaged, did I tell you that? She’s still on the lease, still paying rent, but ninety percent of the time she’s gone. I love her… I am happy for her… but I’m also sad.

Those personal things we so carefully avoid? I’m single. Well, I did tell you that on Valentine’s Day, I suppose, but still. Still single. Which isn’t terrible… I’m very comfortable with myself. But the dream of someone… the idea of someone….

Well, it leaves my heart hurting. Friends can only do so much, and though I am grateful, I am hurting too.

I may be as lost as you,

T & R.


Chapter Thirteen


Oh! I forgot to ask, how was your Spring Break? Did you do anything awesome? Go anywhere cool? I was busy helping the BFF with her engagement party, saw my dad that first weekend, and caught up on some reading. Overall, a great time was had by all.


Well, that’s good! It sounded like yours was awesome and you got to do some cool things. My roommate wanted to the ‘traditional’ college Spring Break and go down to Florida or something, but I wasn’t feeling it. Instead, I spent time with family and watched Netflix. I’d give it a ten out of ten.


*


Can cats have allergies? I swear Thackery has allergies. Springtime pollen is a thing, right? That’s what all the commercials are about. Do you think I should take him to the vet? He keeps sneezing…. Has your cat ever been like this?


You know, I’m not sure. I guess they could, why not? Isn’t an allergy sort of like freckles or dimples, a sort of fluke in the immune system? The vet wouldn’t be the worst idea.

Do you know what I did find out about cats though? They can have panic attacks. One of the times I had my cat in the car, he totally freaked out. I had to pull over on the highway and calm him down. It was actually pretty scary.


*


Ugh, why is it snowing? I thought the end of March meant it’s Springtime. Didn’t the Spring Equinox already happen? What is this nonsense, I ask you! On a girly note, I really want to start wearing dresses again.


Didn’t we have snow into April last year? I don’t know if it's better or worse that it lasts for a couple of days and then goes away only to come back. What do you think? Rather have one steady snow or this weird on-and-off thing? On a girly note, dresses are cute.


*


I saw your post referencing your Cultural Anthropology class, how are you liking it? Which part has been your favorite so far? Last semester I liked the week about sex and gender and the week about religion. Technically priests are shamans, prayers are magic, and things like the Saint finger bone in the CMA is object/transferable magic (damn, I cannot think of the right term).


Oh, I’m actually really loving it! Too bad there aren’t any classes after this I could continue with. (Maybe at Uni level?) So far, and probably as a whole, (and I’m surprised it wasn’t your favorite) was the linguistics week! I absolutely love the origin of words, how some words can have multiple meanings, the whole prestige “news anchor” language/accent. It’s just so cool!


*


Can you believe tomorrow is the last day of March? We only have a month and a half of the semester left! It’s a good thing I already filled out next year’s FAFSA, I think we can start picking classes for Fall soon.

Also, remember out I said my roommate/BFF was engaged and never around? Now I have no idea what I’m going to do this summer. I could always live with my Dad until Fall… but, well, maybe it’s time I live alone? I have a good friend who has a studio…. Have you ever lived alone?


Shit, only a month and a half left? Crap. I have a project I’m working on and I really need to finish it before the end of the semester…. Oh, yeah! Fall classes, I guess I should make an appointment with a counselor then, huh?

I have lived alone, actually. My roommate/BFF used to live with his girlfriend, then when that fell apart I took him in. It’s really liberating, it might be good for you. Though, nothing wrong with living with family, not having to pay bills is nice too!


*


April showers bring May flowers, yeah? Hopefully, tomorrow will be a lovely day – blue skies and sunshine and warmth – to start the month off right.

Also, I love the pictures from your nature walk. I don’t know that I’ve ever paid that close attention to things around me. You have a real knack for macro-photography.


Thanks! It’s one of my favorite hobbies. I’m hoping to go to more national parks and reserves and stuff this Summer. It would be great to find a clear-sky campground too, to get pictures of stars.

Also, fuck tomorrow. I’m sick, (the flu maybe?) and I hate – and I mean Hate! – April Fool’s Day. Pranks are stupid and mean and I’m just going to be a hermit in a blanket nest.


Chapter Fourteen

Megara


One in the afternoon and I finally gather my curtains and draw the blinds. Extremely pleased to see blue skies, sunshine, and no snow, maybe today won’t be so bad after all. Probably still too cold to open the window, it’s not like I could smell the fresh air with my sinuses all jacked up. Possibly a cold, possibly the flu, maybe even a sinus infection? I groan.

Nox follows me around, knowing I’m uncomfortable. When I stop to put the kettle on, he rubs against my legs. When I sit on the couch, he climbs on my lap. I rub behind his ears, “Such a good, little, baby kitty.”

After a long moment of staring at the wall, I cough and search for my phone. It has to be somewhere in the blankets from when I tossed it on my way into the kitchen. And yep, I’m sitting on it. Seeing a new message from Triple G makes me smile, for the first time all day.


How are you feeling?

I’m alive…


I hop over to the Tri-C app, open student email, and write a message to my Tuesday professors. This is two days now that I’ve been out of class and I absolutely cannot miss tomorrow or Thursday. Especially not tomorrow though, because I don’t want another ten points docked in English.

That really was all I had to do today, so I close my eyes and just meld into the couch. Nox starts purring and I very slowly pet him. My whole body just aches and I just want to sleep until tomorrow. But then, there’s a knock on the door.

Mind fuzzy, head heavy, I slowly bring my chin down and look at the door. Squinting, I don’t remember ordering food and Frankie should have her key. There’s another knock. “Fuck,” and I scooch Nox off me.

“Comin’!”

I look through the peephole, “Thomas Banks?” I whisper. Hand on my hip, I pull back to sneeze. What the fuck is Thomas Banks doing here?

“Meg?” he asks from the other side.

I groan and open the door a sliver. “W-uh-t?”

He shifts a bouquet of white roses in his hands, “Can I come in?”

Sniffing hard, I don’t have the energy to fight him. I open to door and make my way back to the couch. After closing it behind him, he stands awkwardly in the apartment. “Hi.”

I wave a hand. “Hi.”

He starts looking around the living room, a small smile spreads across his face. Then he holds the roses out, “Vase?”

I point to the kitchen, “Uh-bove the fri’ge.”

“Thanks.”

Head back, I close my eyes. I hear him run the water, “Thob-as?”

The water stops, “Yes?”

I peek over at him pathetically, “Can you, like, cut the en’s of the stembs? It helps make them la-ast. Plus, they’ll,” sneeze, “be une-i-form,” I sigh. “Sis-sors are in the knife block.”

“Of course,” when he goes back into the kitchen, I close my eyes.

“Th’nk you.”

Some minutes later, I hear him place the vase on the coffee table. I look and lean forward to touch a petal. “Roses are my fav-oh-rit. Thay’r so beautiful, th’nk you.”

He sits in the armchair, “You’re welcome.”

But then my fuzzy mind catches up with the situation. “Whut are you doin’ here, ah-gen?”

“You didn’t make it into class yesterday and I ran into Ralph today and asked how you were.”

I nod. I wasn’t in class. I am sick. Ralph does know where I live. “Oh… okay.” After another sneeze I ask, “Did I m-iss en-ee-thin’?”

“Not really, we went over some chapters and continued watching that video.”

My blink is long, “Quiz to-mar-oh?”

“Yes.”

I nod and grab a tissue for my nose. After a very difficult deep breath, I look at Thomas. Maybe it’s the cable knit sweater, but he seems more relaxed. His face also isn’t cocky or smolder-y, just pleasant with a nice smile. I never noticed how pretty his blue eyes are….

The teapot starts whistling, Thomas is quick to get up. Luckily, I’d left my bag of choice next to the mug. “Sugar?” he calls.

“Two scoops.”

Mug in hand, he comes to sink next to me on the couch. “Here.”

I pull the blanket around my shoulders before taking the mug into both my hands. “Th’nk you.”

While I slowly blow on the tea, he asks “Are you okay?”

I lift a shoulder and drink. Then I reply, “I real-ly need meds, but I c-an’t man-ig to get to the stor’. I think Frankie said she’d brin’ some.”

“What do you need? DayQuil?”

I slowly nod. “Sho’ld do fine-d enough to get me to class to-mar-oh.”

“I’ll go get you some, I passed a Walgreens on the way here.”

My brows furrow and my head tilts, “Why?”

I like his little smile. “Because I want to be your friend… if you’ll let me.”


Thomas


For someone who doesn’t drink, Meg throws back the medicine like a perfect shot. Directly after, she drinks a little more of her tea, (that’d I re-heated in the microwave). Her head bobs slowly, “Th’nk you.”

Even with being a sick mess, she’s beautiful and adorable. Her hair that matches the warm wood of her coffee table is in a loose braid, the length falling over her shoulder, and her bangs curling around her face. Her pink, oversized sweater brings out the rosiness of her cheeks. And though she says her mind is ‘fuzzy’, her ivy green eyes are sharp and expressive.

“How about some soup?”

“Oh-kay.”

Back in the galley kitchen, I guess that pots to be in the drawer under the oven. The cupboard across from the fridge is long and tall, I assume it’s used as a pantry and I’m right. All the can goods are on the lowest shelf and I find, “Chicken noodle alright?”

“Yes, pl-eese.”

Ten or so minutes later, I put the hot bowl on the coffee table and the box of crackers right next to it. “Do you need anything else?”

While waiting for an answer, I start petting Nox who’d just jumped on my lap. This draws Meg’s attention. “Huh.”

“What?”

“Nox usually do’sn’t like other pe-pole. It took him a few m’nths to even go ne’r Frankie.”

Trying to gain the courage to follow through with the plan I’d made up in the car, I inhale deeply. “So, whatever happen to that guy who was supposed to meet you at the café on Valentine’s Day?”

Very focused on the soup, she doesn’t even look to me. “He never showed. I just weh-nt homb after I left.”

“Well, that’s shitty, what happened?”

“I don’t know.”

“Really? I figured you must have liked him… since it was Valentine’s Day and all.”

“I do!” she says a little too quickly. “I do like him. It’s just… complicated, I guess.”

“God, don’t tell me he has a girlfriend.”

She glances at me then gets hyper-focused on crushing crackers. “No… at le’st, he told me he’s single.”

My heart pounding, readjust my watch strap. “What the matter then? Why not go on a date?”

After a couple of spoonfuls of mostly crackers and noodles, she sighs. “Well, if you muh-st know, I don’t actu’lly know him. We met online.”

When the bowl is cool enough to hold, she cups it with her palms and eases back into the couch. I reach around and pull the blanket over her shoulders, “Well, I think you should meet him. If you’re crazy about him, why not?”

It takes a moment but she seems to become aware of how close we are, her eyes searching my face. I brush back a few loose hairs off her cheeks and tuck them around her ear. Backing up slowly, I comment, “I hope you feel better, soon.” Once standing, I continue, “I’ll see you in class tomorrow.”


Chapter Fifteen


I know this may seem out of the blue, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot – I think we should meet. Even if it’s just for a cup of coffee…, I’d really like to have one of our nothing conversations in person.


I agree. We should meet… we will meet. Soon. But, for now, I have a project that sort of needs all my attention.


Chapter Sixteen

Megara


On my way into class, Thomas caught my eye. I smiled politely. On my way out of class, I gave him a little wave as he stood in front of Misses Meriscko’s desk. Then he caught up with me in the hall.

“Hi!”

A little startled, I jump. “H-hi.”

“Where you headed?”

“Cultural Anthropology – on Wednesday’s it’s in building C.”

“I’ll walk you.”

No harm, I guess. “How do you think you did on the quiz?”

“Well enough, you.”

I frown, “I think I only managed, like, five points.”

Down the stairs, he takes a long stride to keep up with me. “Do you think being sick had anything to do with it? How are you feeling, by the way?”

I adjust the strap of my bag, “Maybe. And I’m better, thank you. The meds really helped.”

“No problem.” We walk all the way into building G before he speaks again. “So how’d that thing go? With the Internet guy? Are you guys going to meet?”

I give him a peculiar look, “Uh, it went fine. He said he wants to meet.”

“That’s great!”

“Well, I don’t know when though. He said he had some project that needed all his attention. He’s a student, too.”

“Hm.”

I look at him, “What?”

“He’s a student? Here?”

I nod.

“So, you could have seen him without knowing it.”

“I guess, so, yeah.”

“You could have seen him every day without knowing it.”

I laugh, “Yeah, I guess so.”

There’s a pause and then he says, “I can’t imagine any school project being so time-consuming he can’t even have a cup of coffee or something. I mean, isn’t that a part of that freshman seminar? Not to burn yourself and have balance?”