I don’t have to be the one to tell you that we are living in very strange times. Many of us (myself included) had plans to work or intern at a resume-deserving company as a way to gain coveted “real-world experience.” Instead, a lot of us students are at home with our parents, unsure if we will be going back to school in the fall. We are missing our friends that we left behind in Ann Arbor and are unable to see our friends from home in person. The feeling of longing is only slightly alleviated by our ability to talk to each other through programs like Zoom and FaceTime.
I have to put my hand above my eyes to look up and see how high Walker has stealthily climbed up the tree in my yard. The sun behind him creates a sort of halo effect. He looks like he has conquered the land as he leans his back against the trunk, sprawling his legs on different branches.
I hear the sound of wheels on the sidewalk rolling toward me at an accelerating speed. Lindsey flies into my driveway on her rollerblades, holding a lacrosse stick and ball while discussing her most recent spy mission.
I slip into bed after donning my extra-large Yankees t-shirt and rubbing an extra-large scoop of vaseline all over my lips. I pull the covers over my body, prop my back up against two pillows, and place my computer on my lap. My screen lights up to 20 open Safari tabs — some of the filled shopping carts with items that I will never purchase, and some with articles that I will never read. Still, I refuse to close the tabs (is there a word for that? Perhaps ‘tab hoarder’ works). It is late, and I am getting lonely, so I peruse the web for companionship. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.
Heat emanates from the womb of bodies that surround me. Our movements are synchronized, like gravity has mistaken hundreds of us for one singular being. Branches of purple light beams extend from the ceiling of the stage to the back of the bar.
At one point or another, we’ve all had a case of main character syndrome. We go through our lives feeling like we are the protagonist in our own story – our own world – and everyone else is just a side character. The blog Fraternal Philosophising described it as a “psychological phenomenon in which everyone sees themselves as the ‘main character’”. This idea can seem quite narcissistic, but it’s a natural feeling for anyone to have.
Growing up, I would frequently visit my mother’s native Mexico. These trips were always a relaxing change of pace from the hustle of everyday life. We would go around four times a year until I was in high school and didn’t have time anymore. Even then, we would go at least twice annually. There were many highlights of these trips, including seeing family, going to the beach and doing a little shopping. The only problem was that I stuck out like a sore thumb.
A couple of days ago I found myself curled up in bed with my eyes glued open. My foot moved back and forth along my sheets, searching for a cold patch that had not yet been heated by my body. My fingers played with the edges of my pillowcase. My computer laid shut next to me, ready to be kicked off the bed during my next nightmare. My mind wandered from chocolate lava cake to men with muscular arms to nuclear war. I was thirsty, but could not risk the energy kick that came with getting up for a glass of water. My heart rate was slow, but not slow enough.