a promise unkept
by Kathy Gonzalez
They promised us a hippopotamus.
On an especially crisp March afternoon, we made the valiant trek from Perkins to the RISD Museum, my fingers numb but interlaced with yours. Having already been to this museum twice before, I was not expecting to be surprised by any exhibits. But it was your first visit, and I was excited nonetheless. When we arrived, I beelined to the maps and pamphlets of the different exhibits and collections—my favorite mementos to collect since I was a little girl. But before I could even browse through the pages, there it was in all its glory: “Hippopotamus. Unknown Maker, Egyptian.” I stood there, mouth agape, as though the cover had my social security number written on it.
We convinced ourselves it was fate. That our obsession with Fritz, the baby hippo frequently featured on the Cincinnati Zoo’s Twitter account, was manifesting itself through art for our secret, personal enjoyment. Because nothing says “these past four months together have been so lovely” like a bright blue ceramic hippo covered with details of plant life from the Nile River Valley. This transformed our initial goal of appearing like brooding art enthusiasts to a three-hour-long “Where’s Waldo?” in pursuit of this hippo. We started out strong, diligently looking at each individual statuette, sculpture, and installation as though they would come to life and redirect us to our alleged friend. But this was to no avail. To this day, we claim that we were deceived—though we probably just failed to find it in the Egyptian exhibit. So we walked back up the hill, cold, hippo-less, but comforted by fulfilled promises of our own.
9:45 b there or b ⏹
by Joe Maffa
For much longer than I’ve been alive, Sunday nights have been a sacred time for television. But in an age when I can watch mostly anything I want at any time I please, I haven’t known the same allegiance to weekly episode premieres that my parents and generations of viewers before me knew. But vintage is in, and so is sharing with friends. So our ragtag group of neighbors-by-chance, friends-by-choice arrive one by one to increasingly loud welcomes as the pool of people and minutes since we were supposed to start grow
Double feature: Euphoria and Attack on Titan, two opposite extremes of the kind of horrific television that is just too good to look away, as much as we may want to—exactly the escapism we need to start off our week. After a couple hours of unfocused viewing, I can’t really say that I understood either show that we were watching, but I’m not sure I cared. This was our family dinner—a night to slow down, catch up, and be present with each other. When the episodes were over, we’d laugh at the absurdity, or sit in shock, or move right on to chat about whether we’d go to our 9 a.m.’s. Same time next week. Naturally.
Both seasons ended before the school year, and so too did our weekly gatherings. Still, we lived close enough to each other that it wasn’t weird to just drop in on each other. We knew whose door was open for a “shouldn’t stay, but why not” chat, and whose was locked tight, keeping all of our distractions away.
Still, we promised that we’d reunite for the next seasons of these shows during our senior year—in someone’s living room, over wine and cheese (oh, to have a space to share with your friends that you didn’t have to share with those other neighbors-by-chance, strangers-nonetheless).
Attack on Titan ended this past November, and I shared the finale with some friends, albeit not the same ones I did in my freshman year. Unfortunately, due to a multitude of reasons, Euphoria’s next season has been delayed to an unnamed date in 2025.
I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a winter premiere and a first-year reunion. Six semesters later, will we still jive like we used to? Will we entertain those deep conversations that only not-so-adults aged 18 or 22 have, or just stumble through small talk? Who will be there?
I know I will, and the door will be open to whichever new neighbors choose to drop by. I’m sure we’ll reunite at some point.
by Tabitha Lynn
8:50 a.m. is my favorite time of day to listen to music. Every Tuesday and Thursday, I fight the urge to succumb to my mattress, rolling out of bed to the promise of three perfect songs to carry me through the morning trek to class.
The ten-minute walk to the UEL—while seemingly inconsequential—carries the weight of starting every day on the right note: each beat, each lyric commanding my attention.
Unlike the majority of my music-listening hours—in which music becomes the background soundtrack to studying or conversations, taking the backseat to things of much greater importance—my morning music captures my full attention, each lyric pulling me further from the sleepy abyss that trapped me just moments prior.
Recently, I have found myself listening to “Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson, pressing play just as I exit my dorm. The song embodies waking up—the melody setting my legs into motion.
I allow myself to fully soak in the words, the upbeat rhythm setting my mind abuzz. I can feel each part of my body beginning to respond—
Wakin' up too early
Maybe we could sleep in
My legs begin to move of their own accord, my eyes adjusting to the sun,
Make you banana pancakes
Pretend like it's the weekend now
Just as I reach the Main Green, the melody begins to fade.
Can't you see, can't you see?
We gotta wake up slow
by klara davidson-schmich
We stand in the lobby, noses pink from the cold, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, pressed together perusing their list of collections.
“Where would you like to go first?” The decision is mine because she’s already been here, but it really should be hers. I pretend to look the list of collections up and down, lost in imaginary thought. I know what my answer should be; something subversive and interesting, something clever and niche to impress her, an art history major. I’ll choose the pre-war collection and pretend to know what Dadaism is. But, embarrassing though it is, I already know what my answer will be.
“Impressionism,” I finally confess, my voice resolute.
This is my little secret, my guilty pleasure; I love Impressionism.
To pass through the world is to pass by Impressionism; the inoffensive landscape of Meadow with Poplars graces every hotel elevator, and the easy blues of Water Lilies adorn my dorm room tapestry. And thus, my confession: The fine art equivalent of elevator music remains my favorite.
Here, where reverent silence reigns, I am mesmerized by detail, leaning in to soak up every brushstroke, the ones not quite captured in the polyester reproductions found in any first-year dorm. I’ve cast sideways glances at facsimiles of the paintings in front of me countless times, but only now am I seeing. Thus, the horseshoe effect: Impressionism’s presence renders it invisible. It is ubiquitous until it is indiscernible.
But perhaps it is ubiquitous because it is beautiful. And why should I deny myself the simple beauty of a pastel landscape?
Outside, the rain continues in gray New England, but inside the museum, I am somewhere in Argenteuil, umbrella discarded in favor of a parasol, sprawled out on the sun-dappled lawn somewhere in the French countryside.
deconstruction and reconstruction
by Kimberly Liu
The first time I decorated the walls of my room was when I got my hands on a free copy of Vogue. I gutted the entire magazine for cutouts of my favorite outfits and jewelry, and arranged them, along with my own doodles, ticket stubs, receipts, and miscellaneous tags from clothing, to cover all the space I can see when I look up from my desk. That was around age 16, and ever since, I’ve done a new wall arrangement each year for the rooms I live in.
It’s a fun and creatively demanding project to unwind the mind and take a stance on unimportant choices, along with an extremely cost-effective way to procure room decor and mark your evolution in taste and style. The choice of fashion magazines is almost arbitrary. Meaning in the wall-curations itself was sparse, but the way the colors played off of each other, the lines and the contrast, was certainly nice, and so I kept doing it.
List Art Building had a huge cleanup giveaway for old flyers, brochures, even exhibition books and prints a year or so ago, and its contribution of source materials has been phenomenal. It ranges from photography of installations and preserved beetles, to hand-drawn schematics and postmodern B&W pictures.
This practice challenges me to create a space that is true to myself, to use what little room I have and transform it into an ongoing conversation with my aesthetics and values. Its meaning for me right now rests in its reminder that my walls are an external reflection of myself, and if I wake up and find them ugly, I need only reach up, peel pieces off the wall, and start anew.
Tabitha Lynn is the Lifestyle managing editor for post- Magazine. She is a junior from Maryland studying Computer Science and IAPA.
Joe Maffa is the editor-in-chief of post- Magazine. He studies CS and enjoys collecting cute trinkets, doing crosswords and cooking!
Klara Davidson-Schmich is the Feature managing editor for post- Magazine. She is a junior from Miami studying Economics and Urban Studies.