Living on campus allows more freedom and chances of bumping into friends with a casual ‘hey!’ and going your own way than living off campus. Living on campus is ‘I made mushroom and sausage pie but it’s too much, you want some?’, or grabbing your laptop and heading out to the bench by the lake with another friend while the evil goose stares at you from a distance, or knocking on friends who-stay-on-the-ground-floor’s windows furtively whispering their name and ‘can I come in?’, or taking long chilly night walks with a friend for last minute 365s and deliberately avoiding common routes around the halls because we knew there was a party going on that night, or tilting back your head to look at the night sky and realising it’s a perfectly clear night then jokingly-text your friend about driving to Phillip Island right now to see the stars @ 8.47p, only to have said friend text you the same message before you even hit SEND. It’s being excited about planning a midnight trip in split seconds, dragging a (not reluctant) friend away from studies, calling up on another halfway-through-cold-recovery friend, and packing all the available snacks a uni student has, bundling up with bottles of water, layers, charged ipods and auxiliary cables.
We were excited when we got into the car, we stayed excited in the car because the drive out of Clayton and towards south left the city lights, the suburban lights, less skyscrapers, less gas stations, less shops in a row, more lone houses in the middle of a patch of field. You could lean back in the backseat to strain until the back of your head touches the back of your neck and through the back windscreen you see stars peppering the sky and you gaze and gaze until your neck cramps.
We drove and turned into a small road labelled ‘Pyramid Rock’ and drove further than our original destination, slowing down because there was a gravelly pebbly stony road, until there was no more road so we parked and got down. Turning off every light we had, we could still see each other, that was when I finally experienced and understood the term ‘moon-lit’. There was a blue campervan parked not far from where we were, we shone a light and laser at it and decided there wasn’t anyone in there but didn’t dare approach it anyway. We layered up, and walked down the pier, further down and down until the pier ended and there was ground, and then pier again, until we reached the end of walking routes. I was dragging around my already extended tripod and took a lot of photos, most long exposures, some accidental exposures creating dopplegangers of ourselves which I absolutely fell in love with. Swan’s shoes were tied with stark fluorescent yellow laces. The moonlit waves crashed in the distant shore, they crashed against a triangular rock which Gabriel pointed out was the Pyramid Rock. We talked, we lay down on benches and the pier’s wooden board to just look up at the stars in silence, I mostly watched the moon which was setting from bright white to pale yellow, sharp orange and to a blood orange hue which, captured on camera looked like a beach sun set. Sim was fortunate enough to have her husky hat which kept her warm but not warm enough because she was dressed in one layer. After the moon set, it seemed like stars magically appeared and the sky was dusted, and if you stared hard and long enough at a spot, more stars will appear. It was our first time actually seeing the Milky Way. I took exposures for dare that required me standing on benches and trying not to shiver for 30 seconds, most of them failing miserably. I did a short time lapse for almost an hour (that I made into a gif form instead of a video [and I noticed there were shooting stars!]) before everyone couldn’t stand the cold so we had to head back via the long road where I tried to snap a picture but ended up with a blurred out of focus image of Lin’s red jacket, I was very reluctant to leave.
We struggled to keep ourselves awake, drifting in and out of sleep until we reached Halls at 4+ in the morning, when even Rubix Cube party-ers were probably fast asleep.