Its three in the morning. I’m awake again. I want to pound the bag until I’m forced to the ground, but I know it won’t work. Even now my body won’t obey my commands, It’s my damned brain. It’s racing. I want my head to shut the fuck up. I put my heavy ass legs over my bed, because I know there is no chance of going to back to sleep. I go to the bathroom and shower.
Most nights like tonight, I’m relaxed enough to play some video game or read some book but tonight is different. Wounds that never closed seep with blood and pus... And to top it off that sticky shit on the band-aid doesn’t work anymore. I can’t ignore it tonight. I can’t act like ... like I’m not afraid.
It seems like the university was a long time ago, but it wasn’t. When I was there I was a different person from who I was just prior and after. Alone and with the work and doubt I was darker, cut off, especially in the second semester. I worked my ass of so I can go back somewhere else but still. I fucked up. I still don’t know how, but I fucked up. And for some reason I still can’t explain why I want to go back. If I could make this situation a person I would tell them to fuck themselves in ten thousand different ways. I can’t. Especially since I’m the one who flunked out. And then there’s the differences. I still don’t know where I’m going to go or what I’m going to do. And this time it matters. Nobody’s going to say don’t worry about it your still a freshman.
I also think I’m out of practice. Its not the academics I worry about so much. Most of the class work is the same. Calculus is calculus no matter where you take it though I dropped out of that class here too. I still make the MacArthur like speech about it calling it a tactical retreat and vowing to return when the stakes aren’t so high. Anyway here at home things aren’t the same. I can’t have mommy and daddy looking over my shoulder with a shot gun the rest of my life. My parents think that I flunked because of a lack priorities. It wasn’t fucking that and it pisses me of every fucking time they say that idiotic shit I worked my ass of while I was there. Sometimes I wouldn’t have but a half hour in the day when I didn’t have to do something. Me being up now is probably a hold over from when I stayed up till four back then. Hell most, nights I didn’t even get home till twelve. It was probably my people issues. There alone I couldn’t cut it.
I was raised to believe that of you work hard you’ll get what you want. Now I know it’s bull. The rat in the wheel can run ‘till he’s dead but he’ll still be in the same place. You got to work smarter not just harder. In high school if you compare answers with your neighbor there you’re a cheat. Here its called studying. Profs even flat out said work together and you’ll be fine. Hell in lab we even worked the shit out. I never wrote it down thinking that I should pay attention and try to do it myself later. Fuck. I was a moron.
And then there’s my penance. I can’t apply for a pre-professional degree. Which of course means I couldn’t get back into engineering if I wanted to. Most of the time I don’t. But I hate closing fucking doors. Truth is I know less about what I want to do with my life then I did then. Then at least I had a plan. Now I’m just floating. I have to chose a major by the end of the week to go on the transfer applications. I’m going with journalism. I want to be a newspaper reporter but the truth is print’s dieing. I refuse to be a TV reporter. As a mater of fact the only reason why I’m even putting that down is because I want to write. That’s the only thing I know. I want to write. Hell its the only thing I came out of the last 3 years doing with any amount of confidence. If college has given me a skill it is only this one. Fuck it though. I’m too chicken shit to try to get anything published.
I get out of the shower. If I was groggy before that feeling’s gone. I figure I should work on the applications. I already filled out the monkey parts you know name address shit like that. Its the other parts that make me want to walk away from the table like I’ve done the other five times I tried to do this. “Is there anything we should know about your academic record”. The truth is I almost never talk about this shit with anyone and I don’t want to write some stupid nonchalant shit and have it read by some stupid nonchalant clerk who will then proceed to nonchalantly judge me. I also don’t want to lie. I know I can’t say everything will be great this time because I don’t know. Like I said I’m out of practice. At the community college I got good grades but there are small differences. At the university, I was game to do anything at anytime. If I had to be somewhere at eleven I was fine with it because the buses ran ‘till two. Here whatever needs to be done needs to be done by seven. There the library was walking distance from my pad too. I always lament the loss of the closeness of the place. I could easily get anywhere I wanted to be within fifteen minutes. Here its like an hour. That of course adds to the out of the way factor. Whenever I tell mom there is better time to do something she always cries about how I have my priorities screwed up but doing things her way could add hours of wasted time that I don’t have to my day.
I think of where I would want to go. NYU. MY parents said they won’t pay for me to go out of state. But there’s nowhere in state I really want to go. NYU seems like it would be a cool place. I know chance are slim of going there. I would need a scholarship. Ten grand more, than I got, I need. Dad’s pissed about the money he spent on my last academic venture. Even though by going to community college I actually saved him twenty grand counting his losses. It was always a gamble. Everything is. He once told me the worse thing I could do to him is not go to school. Would he, now that things get a little rough, have me give up. Fuck that shit. And there’s also all this talk of restrictions. Fuck that shit too. If I leave I leave to grow up. I can’t do that if I have to defer to mom and dad about my every decision. Nobody’s going to get me though the next few years but me.
He makes speeches about how all the littles make a big, about how I should cut my hair and get a driver license. Probably would have cut my hair if he hadn’t made such a big deal about it. I have it now because I can’t change it. Had had this fro for a good 10 years. I can’t just change it on a fucking whim. I’m a fighter, but I can’t fight with fists. This is the only weapon I have, to be different to do things my way.
I bang my head against the desk, get up and pace like a wolf in a cage. I always preferred wolves to tigers. I used to say I would grasp what I wished with the speed and ferocity of the wolf, and now I hesitate. I think about my friends. Although for most of my time there I was trapped in melancholy solitude, I had a few friends. I feel regret that I haven’t spoken to them since I left. I always hope that maybe I’ll go back there for a masters, so I can see them again. I’m one bastard who knows how to fall off the face of the earth when I want to . Every time I thought of messaging them I had to work though my shame. Eventually I just quit trying. Even when two of them died, I did not pick up a phone or go to the funerals. I know that is going to be something I regret for the rest of my life. How could I talk to them after that. The grand irony of this is that if I get accepted and attend my second choice I’ll be meeting up with a lot of my high school friends.
I decide to skip the question and move to the next. “Has disciplinary action ever been taken against you by and University or Secondary School”. Yes, in my freshmen year of high school. I’ve only been in 3 fights in my life and the last one which is the only one I’ve been suspended for in high school was one of the stupidest. The only downside of being a geek is that people occasionally take it as a license to fuck with you. And one of the few downsides of being large is people think you want to fuck with them. The former relationship takes place when people know me and the latter when people don’t. Nobody really beat me up in high school. They all would prefer to steel and hide my shit and see how the resident pacifist would react. As usual, I started with the usual bark which one person mistook for bite. The guy thought I was trying to start a fight with him and jumped me after class. I’m less embarrassed that I was in a fight than the fact that I lost to a guy half my size, like everyone else needed another reason to start shit with me. That fight was nearly a decade ago.
I feel old. I feel the ticking of the clock. I’m twenty and it sounds weird to say that. Both my peers and my elders both still call me a boy. At one time in my life I was the youngest guy in the classroom. My freshmen year I was seventeen. The older I get the more doors I see closing. There are more and more roads not taken. More things I could have done and I didn’t. Things I could have said and didn’t. Certainty is gone. A few years ago I knew things would be okay now I don’t. I hate closing fucking doors.