Pretty Placebo

Jade Pendant

Being stuck in constant motion while sitting down is tiring, especially when the motion is constantly halted by stopping pedestrians enthralled by an exotic event occurring just outside the busiest building on campus: The Cafeteria. I will forever curse this world for making it impossible for me to take a semester off from school so that my injuries could heal. Not the most wheelchair friendly environment, my community college likes to make things even harder by holding crowd-inviting events for special holidays. The holiday in question on Thursday happened to be a Lunar New Year celebration.

While most students were admittedly there only for the free Chinese food, some of my peers actually cared to mingle with the trinkets being handed out for free. My friend and loyal caretaker for this semester was one such enthusiast. I, however, was filled with anxiety. I hate being a burden now that I have to literally be towed everywhere in a rolling chair and I fear getting on the nerves of those around me who can walk as much as I loathe their nasty looks they send my way.

It took much convincing but finally I did consent my best friend to take me through the crowd and straight to the trinket table. We’re each given a Jade pendant and a talisman by a smiling student council member/pseudo-vendor and we immediately realize we’re trapped. Skillfully, I’m wheeled to the sidelines of the event, still boxed in, but able to breathe and position myself as I please by a few benches.

Something my friend says catches my attention, “It’s said that whoever the Jade touches, they’ll be blessed.”

Huh. Interesting. I have her grace my neck with it using her incredible knotting skills and we talk more about it:

“I think it’s supposed to be Buddha,” she says.

“Looks more like Sans the Skeleton from Undertale,” I reply.

Whether it was a fat, happy old man or a pun-loving Skeleton, the thought had already been implanted in my head that maybe, just maybe, I had been blessed by this small stone. Being the skeptic I am, I wonder how real it is and if this will end up just being a placebo effect from a very pretty placebo. That said though, I did honestly notice a mood shift and a change in atmosphere since donning the jewel.

Finally, after my friend collected a tiny bamboo plant, she wheeled me to the safety of a classroom we’ve dubbed simply as “our little room.” It’s our old Psychology classroom. I’ve jokingly called it the only room in that school that we have any happy memories in. The only room I personally felt at least a little comfortable since Psychology is a subject of interest to me.

Here we have a little joking exchange:

“Man, when he said he had bad news I was hoping he meant we had no class, not just no lab,” my friend says of our next class, Earth Science.

“At least it’s a short class,” I say.

Time passes and we occupy ourselves with water balls from the bamboo plant and phone games while we seriously contemplate skipping class due to how exhausted we both are. It severely screwed us over last time we did skip a class so we decide to head onto Earth Science.

Class is interesting despite me nearly passing out every time our teacher turned his back to us to write on the whiteboard. He makes it interesting, he has this air of confidence about him that I hope to adopt one day when I become a teacher myself. However, that day he said something that. Class was to be cancelled the entirety of next week.

Needless to say, we all left in tired smiles.

Should I attribute this dumb luck to the pendant? I think, following the logic of believing a placebo effect, that I should. Just to entertain the universe. Either way, I was happy, I was exhausted, and I went home to fall asleep for the rest of the day with the pendant still wrapped around my neck.