Two years ago, when I was a freshman, I tried to cope with the stress of being new to Wake by writing. I created a group of short stories called "The Minute Tragedies and Triumphs of Wake Forest," and sadly, there were far more minute tragedies. I let them mellow deep down in a random folder on my laptop for two years, and now they have risen.
The one I would like to share today is about one of my first experiences at a frat party. Now, I find it appropriately named because it is funny to me, but I think that, at the time, it was supposed to be ironic. It is a first draft that I never edited, and I would like to preserve its raw state--including the dated song lyrics and the strange reference to a Biblical fact that someone told me in the Pit on the day I wrote it. I have, however, blocked out names for the privacy of my friends.
If anything, it is a reminder that writing can be a very useful emotional outlet. But also, feel free to laugh.
Saturday Night Live
E----, J----, and I are pushing our way down a narrow staircase into the crowded basement. I am stepping into hell, I thought, for there is nowhere I have ever been that so perfectly embodies sin. Characteristically, it is sweltering, and the air is thick and wet.
We have been to this house before, and although it is one of the most fun, I feel my muscles tensing out of nervousness. The bass from the music is making the walls tremble, and people cling to them to escape the mass of bodies in the middle that are moving together like a school of fish. The room is dark except for the black lights that make my white shorts and shoelaces glow. E---- looks at me, and I notice that her teeth glow too.
We steer ourselves toward the bar, where boys are scooping red punch out of coolers. J---- walks up to them and grabs two full cups. He hands them to me and E----. Its dark, but I can see J---- shaking hands with the guy next to him, saying, “Hey boss!” E---- takes my hand and pulls me away from the crowd forming behind us. We both take sips of our drinks and start to push our way into the mob of dancers.
The music gets even louder up close. We hear
It’s going down, I’m yelling timber!
You better move! You better dance!
We obey the song, and, with confidence that sobriety will soon be an abstract idea, we start to dance. E---- and I look at each other as we drink and move through the mesh of people much further gone than we. We smile at the boys with their eyes glazed over and shake their hands when they greet us. Some girls ask us to take their picture, and they fall all over each other as they try to get in a group.
In a way, I appreciate these people. We are not strangers. Everyone is a friend whose name doesn’t matter because together, we are only one entity in this room. We are an immortal colony perpetuating college culture and thriving in the short time that it is ours to uphold.
J---- brings us more drinks. We are laughing now because everything has become worthy of laughter. It is so hot, I think, but it is funny that it is hot. I pull my hair back into a ponytail with loose fingers and smile at J---- because he has a sly smile across his lips too. I feel a sinking feeling move through my body like a wave, and the room feels peaceful.
The room gets more and more packed, and soon it feels natural to be up against a few other bodies. I fall in and out of circles, dancing, sometimes at the center. I feel a hand around my waist, and I move away.
Even if she go away, even if she go away
I’m a classic man. You can be mean when you look this clean
I grab E----’s hand again and see her spin and I follow. I don’t want to be by the hands. I feel a rush to get away and I am confused. I check my phone. I forget the time and look again. I think it is early, and I will be here for a long time.
I am afraid of the grabbing hands. I work my way back to J---- and he holds me. My eye lids are heavy, so heavy, so I close them until J---- sets me back into the crowd. E---- is here. We are dancing. We are all dancing. I feel out of breath but I keep going. I close my eyes. My head is high and when I jump, it falls back onto my shoulders. The cup that was in my hand has vanished.
I see people pressed together in the corner. I think they are kissing. They are kissing. I close my eyes and they are still kissing. Where is M----?
If what they say is, “nothing is forever,”
Then what makes love the exception?
It’s hot. It’s so hard to breathe. Where’s M----? He’s not here. He’s not with me. M---- is not with me. My eyes are tired and my head is tired and I need M----.
I am still dancing. I am with my friends. But I am not with M----. He is not with me. He is with others. Someone else. It’s hot and M---- is with someone else.
But she’s touching his chest
Now, he takes off her dress
Now, letting me go
I’m replaceable. I’m replaceable. I have stepped into hell and M---- is not replaceable but I am because everyone is so dirty but they look so clean and my eyes are closed but they should be open. I’m dripping. I’m melting.
Tell me what you know about dreams
Tell me what you know about night terrors: nothing.
I am hot. I am burning. God has killed more people than Satan but they are all here and we are burning when we dance and we do not know what we are doing. We are one so we are alone. I am alone.
I close my eyes because it will be this forever.