The calming, tinkling, and nostalgia-inducing melody of Beethoven’s “Für Elise.”

The sound of metal scraping and tinging against porcelain china as I stir some honey in my mug of tea, its steady beat and rhythm matching that of the music.

My own steady, deep, controlled breaths amplified as my headphones are in my ears.

The little lamp on the dirty carpeted floor, next to the coffee table in front of me, emitting a warm, soft glow over the room and casting strange and slightly ominous shadows behind the books on the shelves.

The dull blue couch beneath me — soft, cushioned and warm — beckoning me, inviting me to sink into a blissful, stress-free slumber…

…. and a pile of pillows and blankets on the ugly diamond-patterned couch next to me, with a pair of bare feet peeking out, as my roommate slumbers on in her study break.

Books, piles and piles of paper, pencils, pens, notepads and post-it notes, study-materials of all sorts belonging to three young women, strewn all about this living room.

Sounds of sirens of police cars and emergency vans driving to the hospital across the street, drifting in through the window periodically, slightly muffled by my headphones.

A little tension in my fingers and knuckles, as I grasp the handle of my mug.

The smooth soothing feeling as the tea slides down my throat.

And suddenly, the music ends, and my eyes jump to the bottom right corner of my laptop screen, where the clock reads 12:59 AM. Meditation break is over; I should get back to studying.

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image – Luis Hernandez