Posts tagged ‘college’

Adventure Awaits

“You know you want to come along.”

I rolled over in my bed and glared at the window. I saw the Tim’s lean frame through the window and was pretty sure I could make out a grin on his face. I also knew that if he was here, I was going to leave with him. The thing to know about Tim is that he always wears the most beautiful jeans from Buckle and that he is quite manipulative.

“I’m sleeping, go away,” I said in a mock-sleepy voice. I had hardly slept the last few nights. If anything besides manipulative, Tim was predictable. I could see his restless heart probably better than he could and knew he was about done with this place.

See this here is how it happened. We got recruited right out of high school. They bring in kids from all over the U.S. They train us and then send us out into the world to do quests or some crap. They didn’t really give us much detail but we are trained in most of the same stuff that the army is trained in along with professional business-speak and such. I could work in an office or be an assassin. The missions vary but this is a private company owned by some crazy old man who seems to want to control the world. It is all a little odd but we get paid really well and right out of high school, I wasn’t ready for the ramen college life and so I took up their offer.

“Don’t make me come in there,” Tim said, starting to hoist himself up through the window.

I went the two steps it took to cross my cabin and opened the door in a resigned manner. Tim often came to visit me. He was my closest friend here and we were probably the closest friends out of the group. But we didn’t really hang out with the same people when we did group activities, didn’t quite attract the same person, I guess. My friends were lamer and I knew it.

He walked in and sat down at my reading chair. I hated when people sat in my reading chair but his jeans were pretty damn nice today and I could see that even through the darkness. I decided to let the chair thing slide, like I usually did with him.

“Why don’t you want to go?” He asked me, putting his “I’m all ears” face on.

I climbed back into my bed. No sense in wasting the warmth of my comforter.

“I’m sorry, what?” I asked. He rolled his eyes. I always used that line when I really did want to talk about something but was being a pest about it.

“I’m waiting.” He told me, getting comfortable in his chair. I put the pillow over my head. He and a few of his friends had decided they wanted to go out and see the world and find a quest of their own because we had been here longer than any of the other training groups and we still hadn’t been assigned a place to go. We wondered why they hadn’t sent us out but all they would tell us was to be patient. It was odd that we hadn’t been sent away to a job and we were getting impatient.

He gave it about thirty seconds and then got up and I assumed started walking to the door. I heard his hand grab the knob and I peeked out from under the pillow.

“Wait.” I told him.

He came back and this time sat down on the bed next to me and looked down at me.

“So? Care to enlighten me?”

“Ugh. I’ve already close to killed my parents by going here versus being the good kid and going to college. If this falls through they’ll do that annoying parent thing where they are all disappointed.”

“That’s not the real issue though, is it?” He said, scrunching up his eyebrows.

“I mean…” I braced myself for this explanation. I was glad he wasn’t the type to laugh. “I think your friends are cool and whatnot. However, I just don’t think this will be a good fit. Like they think I’m cool ‘cause I’m friends with you but I’ll be the odd one out. I know this sounds lame but I feel like it’ll be uncomfortable.”

As usual he didn’t laugh. He pondered the room for a moment. I waited in my somewhat patient manner and tried not to move around too much. I was restless.

He looked back at me, “I see what you mean. But let me tell you, you don’t give yourself enough credit. People like you a lot more than you know.”

I couldn’t look at him. I had always been awful with compliments.

“Okay, lets go,” I said and then didn’t move. “Its just kinda warm here and out there, not so much.” I gestured to the outdoors.

Tim looked peered down at me and I felt like he was trying to decide something. I looked away for a moment and next thing I knew his face was inches from mine and he kissed me.

“I’m pretty warm, too. Grab your stuff.”

“Okay.” I smiled because I knew this would be my greatest adventure yet. He started to get up and I said, “Hold on.” I sat up and grabbed his shirt and kissed him again.

He pulled back and looked at me with a smile, “Quit distracting me and get your stuff. I’ve gotta wake the others.”

He walked out, his Buckle jeans still as nice as ever, and I started packing.

It was time to move.

 

 

 

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All the Signs

I heard a knock at my door. I stood up awkwardly then sat back down. “Come in,” I said resignedly.

It was my friend who was coming over to study. I didn’t know him all that well but the fear of an upcoming test brings all sorts of people together.

“How’s studying going?” he asked while he sat down at the chair by my desk. I shoved my Chemistry textbook into my backpack while I answered, “I mean, test preparation has never been my favorite thing.”

He pulled out his laptop. “I’m with you there, right along with the rest of the college students out there.”

“Oh, I don’t know. I feel like there are some people who really do like studying. Especially the one’s at the Big Fancy schools,” I responded while I pulled out the notebook for World History.

He laughed. I didn’t really know why he was laughing and so I turned a few pages in my notebook before I put my thoughts together and remembered my review sheet was in my folder.

We eventually started to study. Occasionally we had some conversation.

He seemed to start most of the conversation. “Is this your only test this week?”

“No, I have a few more. Organic Chemistry and Composition and Literature both have big tests or projects,” I replied with a sigh.

“That sucks,” he replied. I looked up to gauge his sincerity. People seemed to lose sincerity when they were worrying about themselves, which often happened during finals week.

“How about you?” I asked with little to no feeling in my voice.

“Nothing too bad, I chose an easy major for a reason.”

We went back to studying.

“You really into movies?” he asked a few minutes later, gesturing to my movie collection, which was rather extensive.

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“I’m more into music, ya know, feeling the beat at the gym?”

l looked up at him with a facial expression that probably made it clear I did not feel the beat when I went to the gym. I actually really did like music but he didn’t need to know that. We just needed to study.

“Am I asking too many personal questions?” he asked of me when there was a lull in study-talk.

This got my attention. “What possibly gave you that idea?” I replied with sugary sarcasm.

He gave a sheepish smile. “Sorry, I’m going to head out. I tend to get too personal, too easily.”

I almost told him to stay but decided against it. I’d rather not get closer with someone whose mood seemed to change with the review question we were on.

He walked to the door and was reaching his hand to it when he instead went for the sink mirror and opened it. I was looking at him incredulously, “What are you-“

“I knew they’d be here. So what do you have? Schizophrenia? OCD? Depression?” He read the bottle. “Ah, depression. Had it a long time. He pointed to the empty tic tack box on the bed. “Coping thing? Having something to concentrate on? I bet you overload yourself with classes every year. Take yourself down without anyone’s help.”

He looked at me with the look of someone who has disowned his child. “Bet you had me pegged for a nice guy, huh.”

And then he left me. I sat there for a few minutes, unable to move. No one had ever seen my antidepressants besides my parents. Many of my friends, the trustworthy ones, knew I had depression.

I eventually got up and put the bottle back behind the mirror. Maybe when people saw me, they saw through what I saw in the mirror and saw the pills. Maybe everyone thought I was crazy.

His tweet later that night said it all. The signs are all the same, I can spot em from a mile away.

So I was just another depressed person for him to spot. I must have all the signs.

Same Kind of Broken

Professor Orefield hands me a pamphlet. “And here’s the guidelines for your volunteer project.”

“Volunteer?” I find myself shaking my head. I’ve never liked volunteering. “I don’t have time for that.”

“I’ve heard that one before.” My academic advisor grins at me, almost in a mischievous smirking sort of way. “I’d be happy to recommend an organization. This city is teaming with places that need your help.”

I hesitantly take the paper from his hand and sigh. “What if I choose not to do it?”

He gave me a sad shake of the head. “It’s a graduation requirement.”

I sigh. Of course it is.

“I think you’ll be surprised how similar the people in this community are to you,” he says suddenly.

This community? The alley ways, the graffiti, the dark streets where drug deals and muggings happen?

“They’re the same as you. Same kind of broken.” He chuckles to himself. “That’s a song by Jason Castro. Ever heard of it?”

I shake my head, only half listening. I stare at his office wall clock.

“Well, thanks, I guess,” I say. “I need to get going.”

By the next month, I had coordinated my volunteer time with a local homeless shelter. Professor Orefield had recommended I go there, and so I went along with it. I didn’t have enough time to look for other opportunities, anyways.

I sit on the city bus on the way to my first time volunteer time slot. I cautiously sit next to a lady on crutches and pull out my homework. My British Literature reading is due in the morning. I open up to a poem by Jon Donne.

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man

is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…”

I frown. Why couldn’t the poet just say what he meant? I didn’t have time to search for meaning. Yet I read on. My bus stop was coming soon.

“… Any man’s death diminishes me,

because I am involved in mankind.

And therefore never send to know for whom

the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

I slap the book closed and push past the crutches lady. My stop is here.

*                                          *                                         *

One year later

Hundreds of things happen in one year. Among those things, I now understand the meaning of Jon Donne’s poem. I also understand why Professor Orefield had mentioned Jason Castro.

I had been at the shelter all year. I finished my volunteer requirements, and I graduated last spring. Now I work at the shelter, as the co-director. I feel as thought my eyes have opened. I never realized how much alike all of us really are, until I really immersed myself into the work of the shelter. It doesn’t matter if we have a house to our name or not – the things inside us are the same.

Today is the day my best friend Kadie comes with me to work, since her training at the shelter starts today. Kadie is a senior in college, with only a few credits and her volunteer hours left to complete. When I suggested coming to the shelter, she half-heartedly agreed.

We pull into the parking lot, and she stares. “This is it? This is where you spend all of your time?”

I admire the rundown building. “Yep,” I say. “Isn’t it great?”

She sighs. “I don’t get why I have to do this. I don’t have time.” She looks at me for sympathy, but I just grin.

“We’re the same – you, me, and the people inside this building,” I start.

“What?”

“Have you ever heard the song Same Kind of Broken by Jason Castro?” I ask. She shook her head, and I shut off my car. “Google it when you get home.”

“I don’t have time,” she whines.

“Don’t worry. It’ll all be worth it.” Kadie is my best friend; has been for years. Sometimes she needs tough love. She needs to be challenged just as I do.

“I don’t see how,” she persists. “I’ve done this volunteer stuff before. I know what it’s like; it’ll just be the same.”

I can’t help smirking. She is going to learn more, grow further and experience far greater things than she could imagine. She has no idea what she was getting herself into.

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