It was at the same time invigorating and bittersweet walking these halls again. The stone facade of the Union building...cold and impersonal gives way to the featureless halls lined in marble once inside. A labyrinth of hallways spreading in all 4 directions...the tile floors would echo your steps as you make your way down the corridors. I came upon the South Lounge...a room that hasn't changed since the late 60's...even the same orange and earth tone colors and dark wood paneled walls that I remember from spending so many Sunday afternoon's here with Karen...before heading back to Purdue.
It served as a central gathering place for meetings and departures...for forming and breaking relationships, for studying and wasting time, for listening to anyone passing by who sat down at the Grand Piano and played for themselves as if no one else was in the room. The same white piano...now quite scratched and worn... that Karen would play from time to time.
Whenever I visit a place where my past comes alive again...I always see a replaying of a movie with a cast of characters familiar to me but so distant now...I always have to grin to myself having played out this scene before. We never appreciate a scene when we are in the middle of it but as time passes and so many life experiences separate us from that moment acted out so many years ago, we remember the good and push aside the stresses and trials that weighed so heavily on our minds then. I prefer only the good memories.
On my way out of the Union, I passed by a Starbucks with the now familiar aroma drifting out into the hallway...the Union may look the same as it did then...but things have changed.
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