My only memory of taking ACAD, the introductory freshman course at Winthrop, during my starting semester in the Fall of 2007 is when a girl with freckles, a button nose, and waist-length straight brown hair, who claimed to be a model, who was attractive but in the preppy way where an otherwise kindhearted soul is naïve to the fact she hangs out with the bullies, asked a boy, around 6’1” or 6’2”, muscular but in a nonspecific way, perhaps a badminton or ultimate frisbee enthusiast, with a tousle of sandy blonde hair, what he was wearing around his neck. “It’s an ankh,” he replied. “It means peace. It’s from ancient Egypt.” The rest of the class awkwardly watched this encounter as it took place during the last thirty seconds of class.

The girl whispered to her friend as they left class together. “He’s so deep.” The ankh means life.

I went swimming with my church’s youth group. The girl I had a crush on caught a glimpse of my bare feet. “Are you alright? What is that?” It was dual circular patches of dry, flaky skin right above my toes. I said that I didn’t know, don’t worry about it. Well, it’s psoriasis. It’s not a big deal. I get the cream and slather it on and it goes away and if anyone does see an outbreak I have an answer at the ready. But that’s now and I didn’t have the answer for her at fifteen. I was embarrassed of my physical body, thinking it was a part of my physical body and not a disease. If I was fifteen again and developed cancer I’d just live with a gigantic tumor growing inside of me because I’d assume it was another natural part of myself to be ashamed of. I never went to my parents about the flaky skin, never made a fuss about an odd rash. I don’t know why. I don’t have a good reason, at least besides an unearned feeling of shame stemming from nothing.

The Wii came out over ten years ago. On launch day I went to Chris’s house and fawned over his console. We played a trombone in Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz but it barely worked. Later Nick came over and we got into Wii Sports. He and I stood parallel to one another during baseball, which is totally not how baseball works in reality, with me pitching, and Nick swung so hard he hit the controller right into my funnybone.

The first movie I saw in theaters was Beauty and the Beast. I was enraptured by the whole thing. I knew how to be quiet and pay attention to a book and was told it’s the same for a movie so I did just that. I don’t remember the experience but it’s what I’m told.

I do, however, remember my sister’s first movie, Aladdin. About half-way through, around the time a giant sand panther head emerges in the desert (I haven’t fully watched it since) I turned to look at my little sister and she had fallen asleep. The plebeian, I thought. She doesn’t appreciate the arts as I do. I was four years old.

My initial profile picture on was an image of a clock where every digit was replaced with the word “rape” and Pyramid Head, the sexually assaulting antagonist of the Silent Hill video game series, standing off to the side, saying, “Good Heavens, just look at the time!”

It’s hard to remember why I thought that image was funny. It was cheap, a rape joke, I guess, but did it even qualify as a joke? My girlfriend didn’t say anything, no one said anything. Perhaps I was enamored with the absurdity of the image, the mixture of a “lol random” word and a forbidden word, as in one imbued with meaning. I certainly never approved of sexual assault or found the concept amusing, but when the language was wrapped around an early nihilistic meme it became silly. I blindly scanned past the image for several years until one day when I was all of a sudden awakened and decided to change it.

Meanwhile my friends were being raped.

God knows what you’d find on all of my failed hard drives. I wish I knew too.

“As I have said, we stood there for a long time in a strong embrace, but with her face lowered against my chest, and my own eyes staring across the room and out a window into the deepening obscurity of the evening. When she finally raised her face, I saw that she had been silently weeping. Why was she weeping? I have asked myself that question. Was it because even on the verge of committing an irremediable wrong she could weep at the consequence of an act which she felt powerless to avoid? Was it because the man who held her was much younger than she and his embrace gave her the reproach of youth and seven years? Was it because he had come seven years too late and could not come in innocence? It does not matter what the cause. If it was the first, then the tears can only prove that sentiment is no substitute for obligation, if the second, then they only prove that pity of the self is no substitute for wisdom. But she shed the tears and finally lifted her face to mind with those tears bright in her large eyes, and even now, though those tears were my ruin, I cannot wish them unshed, for they testify to the warmth of her heart and prove that whatever her sin (and mine) she did not step to it with a gay foot and with the eyes hard with lust and fleshly cupidity.”

Last night I dreamt I was in the basement of my old Fort Wayne home, playing cards with the boys. As we passed around draw twos and draw fours I lamented about some girl I was pining over, which is strange because this girl is from Rock Hill and I did not meet her until years after I would’ve been playing cards in the basement of my old Fort Wayne home. We had been in a few classes and I had gone out with her a few times but it never led to anything and I wasn’t hung up on it because it wasn’t a new genre of rejection. Oh well!, I say to my conscious being. Perhaps it bothers me still, not because she had done anything wrong or because I was particularly deserving but because after years of being a rampant piece of shit I had finally approached a romantic interest as a mature adult and had nothing to show for it but a slightly-better understanding of coffee variants.

We all sat and lamented as we once did and when Glen Lake Drive was at its quietest, half-an-hour before dawn, Jarrett stood to leave. I helped gather his things, his controllers and wires, into a black duffel bag and followed him upstairs to the front door. He seemed perfectly confident in his exit of the home, having opened and shut my doors at his will dozens, if not hundreds, of times before. But as he turned the handle of my front door I felt a desire to stop him and hug him before he left. I wanted to call out, to say, “Alright, later,” and deliver my embrace casually as if it were a mutually understood way to part. I felt the passing of every millisecond as I waited for the proper moment to pull him in close, quickly, loosely, friendly, and as I waited for my opportune moment my throat became clogged with thought and he unknowingly opened the front door, said his goodbye as if we would see each other in the cafeteria tomorrow, and departed.