Dear Pamphleteers,

Oh, how I used to hate your guts. The way you owned the bricks of the Diag. Intercepting me at every conceivable pathway through the heart of my campus. Unavoidable obstacles. Your arms extended, long towards me, blue, yellow and pink papers between your thumb and hand. “Come to my group’s event! Ahhh!” How you battered me with your announcements.

How, just to spite you, I’d take your pieces of worthless paper. Oh, I would smile back. Smile at you. Look you in the eyes and tell you I couldn’t wait to “Check it out.” Then I would proceed to fold your pamphlets into the sharpest of paper airplanes, hoping you were still watching me, hoping that you felt your dreams being crushed and folded, and then I would fly them, ever-so-gracefully, into the nearest garbage can where they would crash and whimper. I’d hoped you’d notice that I’d opted for the trash as opposed to the blue recycle bin — the two are literally right next to each other — just to spite you more, secretly hoping that enough people would do as I did, and in some weird swing of events that was completely irrational, highly powerful “officials” would have to ravage the Diag garbage cans in the middle of the night. They would find thousands of your papers that were perpetually demanding things of me.They would see all of the paper you’ve wasted that could’ve been recycled.

Best case scenario: your group would be disbanded, or at the very least, suspended, and you would have time to think about what you’d done.

Oh, but time. Time. Time. What a mover and a shaker of minds. Like those paper airplane pamphlets, time has flown past me and found its way to waste. Now, it’s summertime. I sit here attempting to type, my butt on a concrete block, my feet on the brick where yours once stood, my only thoughts of you. You’ve been replaced now by sun, trees and the chirping of birds. But to say you’ve been replaced, if we’re going to be real — and I’m ready to be real now — is to be mistaken. You are irreplaceable.

Ssshhhhhh….. Do you hear that?

Well … there’s a little whisper of wind. A few birds. But, no, I didn’t really hear that. No! That’s because there’s nothing to hear! You’re all gone! No one is here to haggle and barter for my time.
“Have you heard about this App I invented?” “Pizza House Fundraiser on Thursday.” I can only hear you in my head. I’m the only one here.

To be alone is the worst condition for someone who spends the vast majority of their time making fun of other people. I’m the only one left. I can only make fun of me for so long before I get, like, offended, you know? This is a lot different than previous scenarios. I feel my feelings. But I don’t feel your feelings. I am left to be oppressed by the spirit of my own silence, haunted by my best memories of you. They play over and over again in my mind … Every replay another menacing paper eagle, dissecting my weaving intestines, my butterfly stomach and my waning, regret filled heart. I’m chained to the top of this concrete block.

There’s Groove banging away on the tops of metal garbage cans while they stand on top of ladders. I used to cover my ears when I walked by, grimacing. But, oh, how they would smile, enjoying themselves, playing their music! There’s the Every Three Weekly, who I could’ve sworn were out there like every three days with their satirical commentary that made me so envious wallowing in my own lack thereof. There’s DoRAK, the a cappella groups, the activists, the artists and the religious guys with their bibles and flags. And how could I forget the Hare Krishnas? I simply never will.

And my most favorite of all. My very, very favorite. I really should make a shrine to her on top of one of the other concrete blocks, maybe sculpt one into a statue of her with a chisel and hammer or something. The brunette girl conducting a simple survey for her psychology class. She was asking fellow pamphleteers, fellow students and simple passersby how they felt about the Squirrel Watching Club on campus.

She asked me.

I knew it would be too easy to criticize her and her survey. Look at her. She’s probably a freshman. Cute, young, innocent. Out here in the world, this big world, this tiny Diag, collecting opinions like acorns, storing all of the crucial data in her pantry of a three-subject notebook.

I did it anyways.

I said, “I think everyone in that club needs to get a job.” I said, “Including the squirrels! I mean who do they think they are?” Then I said, before turning away, “You’d probably be better off picking a job up too,” and I didn’t turn around to see her face or her reaction.

The horrible irony of it all. I didn’t even have a job at the time. I didn’t get one until like yesterday. Who was I to say any of that? But even if I did have a job, that’s so stupid. What a terrible thing to say. The Diag is the domain for life. People doing what they like. Hey, the point of her going to school is to get a job anyways. I’m so dumb. Spirit of my silence, how can I forgive myself?

I don’t want to be bound to the walls of my own subpar, comic nutshell any longer. I want you to know I’ll be waiting for you on my concrete block. I can’t wait to see and hear about all of the events and fundraisers and action plans you have lined up for me in the fall. I can’t wait to hear about all of the dreams you’ve been dreaming up — all of the ink you’ve put on paper.

Sincerely,
ES

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