February 20, 2010

Conversation with a Campus Safety Officer

"I forgot to tell her," I said to the Campus Safety officer as he approached out of the dark parking lot, "My homework is in my locker."


"On the third floor of AB." I pointed, but it wasn't necessary because the building was right behind us.

The officer was an older black man with a lazy eye that made me want to avert my own eyes while I talked to him, saying half of my replies while starring up at the sky or to the left. During our walk to the elevator, he asked me how I was doing. I told him I had been working the entire day, and I was tired. It had been a crazy day, four hundred extra people had come for the Spectrum Scholarship Competition, and as a cafeteria worker I had to feed all those people. On top of that, two people didn't show up for the night shift later that day. So, at the end of the day, already tired people who had been working all day, myself included, had to clean up the mess.

"Well, now you can relax."

I laughed bitterly and said, "Not really, I work all day tomorrow."

In the elevator he asked me what I did for fun. I said I read books. On the way to my locker he asked me if I did anything with my housemates, and I said I played Guitar Hero with them occasionally, about once every two weeks. While I was getting my books out of my locker, he asked if I needed help, but I declined the offer, hoisting the books under my right elbow and slamming the locker shut, locking it with a twist of my wrist.

"I mean, I used to be shy in college, way way back." The guy said, driving me to my house, a mile from campus, "But, if my housemates offered to go to the movies, or play video games, I would."

He seemed bent on seeing if I was like that, but I had to disappoint him. I told him I was one of those people who could have fun by themselves. What he didn't know was what I was telling myself.

Of course, I have more fun when I am with my friends.

However, I didn't tell him that. I did tell him that all my friends either live out-of-state or are going to different colleges across the state. I told them they all graduated or transferred. Right now, I just didn't have anybody to hang out with. Oh well, sometimes life's that way...

He dropped me off at my house, and I said thanks, "have a great night!" I shut the van door. The house was dark, and I didn't have my keys. I tried the front door, knocked a couple times, and then went around to the side door. It slid open. I kicked the snow off my shoes as I entered and closed and locked the sliding glass door. No one was home on a Saturday night.

I sighed. Back to homework, back to forcing words out of my brain and onto a page of paper, back to the grinding stone--back again. Here in my room, my refuge and my prison, a constant struggle of independence in a social vision.

My feet ache as I take off my shoes, but I change out the cat litter, pour water for the cats, and clean up the dirty clothes that are scattered around my room before I sit on my bed. I am tired, frustrated, and alone.

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