Over the summer, I lived in a dorm in Indiana. It was a suite-style dorm, so I shared a bathroom with a first-year from Dekalb who currently studies at IIT. Since the dorm was suite-style, we had to provide our own toilet paper, hand soap, and so on. I bought a cheap bottle of generic-brand hand soap from K-Mart at the beginning of the summer. I'd made my way through maybe half of the bottle by the end of the summer. Not wanting to waste it, I stuck it in a plastic bag and forgot about it.
The other day I ran out of hand soap here in my apartment. I went in search of more soap and soon discovered that the soap I'd used in Indiana had somehow made its way to Missouri.
Now, every time I use that soap, I think of my time in Indiana. I think of Russian, and eating horribly, and running at obscene hours of the night/morning. I think of that near-crippling loneliness that strikes whenever I'm alone in a new place, and I also think about how I slowly made friends with the other people in my class. I think about the early-morning trips to CVS and the parties my suitemate constantly held and watching fireworks light up the sky from my 11th floor room on the fourth of July. I remember studying for finals in my underwear and looking out the wide-open window and watching a rainbow spread across the sky and last for hours and hours.
All of that from a bottle of soap and an obsession with cleanliness...