My next stop was Badminton, the last session of that class I had to be there for. There were only enough students to fill half the gym. We played our game with intensity and speed. I cracked jokes at slightly less than my normal pace. We lost twice. On the way up I talked to one of my opponents. We laughed about Lou Gehrig not representing the school anymore. He would not have been a communist. Another split at the appropriate point. I went home to eat a too large lunch and slap together a research proposal for first ammendment class. It came out crap. I went to Foner's class.
On the way back from that class I shadowed someone I've known since he was 3. He was talking to some girl, possibly his significant other. I wanted to say something to him but there was no opportunity. He never noticed me.
I came home to finish my proposal. I emailed it in and went to film section.
Humiliated because of my dream, my subconscious having taken unwarranted license with another person's image, I latched on to Scott like a leach. I bantered with him desperately, saying unfunny things about how the School of Hard Knocks prints its diploma in ancient Greek and drinking vodka with a vodka chaser.
During class I spoke non-stop. I literally made 90% of the comments and all the first ones. I focused all my energy on talking, making observation, engaging. I burned bright and hard, refusing to allow my mind any time to think about verbotten topics. I was witty, at times, insightful, at times, made observations that others missed. At the end I walked out with Scott and hurried off to turn in a hardcopy of the proposal.
Then she rushed past me in the rain, running toward the same place I was until she was a good way in front and then slowing to a walk. I went to the computer lab, printed out my stuff. On my way she rushed past again, gripping a muffin. I watched her receed. Went to the office and slid it under his door. It was still raining as I walked home once more.
That is a summary of my life right now. My life in general. I am incapable of making any real friends, just aquaintances. I am not the smartest man in the world and it makes me feel pathetic. I feel loathesome, horrible, unworthy of anything. I feel like a waste of perfectly good carbon. The feeling does come and go, like the undulating waves of an incoming tide, but when it comes I have nothing to anchor me against the abyss. I have learned to ride it out, sit through it, let it surround me but not overwhelm me. It never fully leaves.
I can burn bright but not bright enough to attract anyone for anything external to the scholarly situation. I have classroom friends, aquaintances with whom to joke, talk politics, complain about the draft. In the end I have nowhere to go but home, alone. I've tried clubs, extra-cirricular activities, hanging around on campus. There's something fundamentally wrong with me socially. I'm missing some piece that normal people have.
I'll never be brilliant enough to make up for it. Never burn bright enough to cast back the shadows. It's impossible. I'll always linger around the edges of above average. Always slumping against the wall where the light barely treads.
I don't have the talent or intelligence to be relevant or important. I don't have the simplicity to be satisfied with that. I won't give up because I have nowhere else to go. Killing myself would be a non-answer to an intractible problem. I'd just be going gently into that dark night, and I won't. I refuse.
Still there are moments of extraordinary sadness and the intense feeling of not being loved by anyone. My father killed himself before I reached my teens. Cut our aquaintance short before I had a chance to be anything more than a boy. I'll never live up to my potential because of it. I should have surmounted it, should have been stronger. I wasn't. I am weak on so many levels.
My mother doesn't love me, never really knew me when I was young, sees me as a burden these days. A parasite to be bourne out, an added weight in her waning years. I want to leave the nest but I don't know how to begin. Get a job? Who would want to hire me? I'm nothing, beneath contempt. I want to rip it all out and start anew. I'm 22 and my life feels done. What have I left to do? There are no accomplishments inside of me, I'm an empty shell, subhuman in nature, a phantom with no Opera to haunt.
Yet I will linger on, on the edges of society, irrelevance incorporated in a shambling form. I will walk through the rain and long to talk to people who are not interested. I will watch them receed and turn my face towards home. Alone.