I wake up with a start and a sheen of sweat from one bad dream or another. the morning has come and I don’t even remember falling asleep. something even worse than the quiet dread of watching another faint arc of the sun over purgatory settles in my gut. something feels wrong. I pull out the cheap plastic earplug I shoved in my ear the previous evening to silence the house party in the apartment below mine and a wave of pain washes through me. I hear fluid dripping and with it goes my hearing until just static and a muffled approximation of reality remains. my stomach heaves but I’m late for a meeting so I ignore it.
my advisor listens silently to my tales of academic woe over the last semester and tells me that I’m not cut out for this, I am not distinguishing myself, and maybe I’m just wasting the school’s resources; she adds with a note of kindness that perhaps giving up would be wise to spare myself more pain. I make no effort to explain myself. I say nothing of the crippling death and other blood losses that 2007 has dealt me, nor do I discuss how the resultant anemia has rendered me so that I can only stare numbly at the organic chemistry textbook without absorbing a single molecule.
I turn the now-deaf ear towards her and look out at the desolate library lawn, grimacing because these days, hope shining thin as the december light. she’s angry. she’s still talking: I’m sliding into fuck-up territory.
but I don’t tell her that it’s too late and I am too far gone to turn back now. life is too short and too cruel to be faced sitting down, even if my bones feel as brittle as the ever-multiplying empty bottles on my desk and I fear a fatal misstep at any moment.
she concludes and I take my leave with my head bowed.
I am walking outside watching the clouds gather. it is silent; there is not another human in sight. I light a cigarette, shivering through my 3 wool sweaters, and softly curse the foreboding massachusetts sky. upon the sound of the words exiting my lips, sleet begins to fall in sheets, coating the long road before me with black ice. the skeleton trees stir as the wind picks up.