By Annaliese Meyer
I’ve done this to myself, I think as I pull myself out of bed at 6:00 a.m. to endure my first terrifying Wednesday at Ryerson. I’ve slotted myself in for three three-hour lectures and even though it hasn’t even begun yet, I hate myself and everything around me.
The thought that my schedule may be an issue had occurred to me prior to my first day back to school, but it had be usurped by the glory of having Thursday and Friday off. Yes, the glory of a four-day weekend lured me into this trap. I’d drink piña coladas and bask in the glory of my defeat of the five-day work-week foolishly thinking I’d won …
My first class is “Word and Image” and the rage in my heart has already begun to boil. I quickly decide that the anger I feel towards myself and my decisions can no longer be contained within the limits of my flesh-covered body. The first phase of my descent has begun: projection.
Everything around me suddenly becomes irritating and seemingly unbearable. Why is the cream cheese in this bagel so cold? Why is everyone in this room dressed like Kendall Jenner? Can’t anyone think for themselves!? Oh that jacket is pretty cool actually. I wonder if that’s real shearling?
I start sending out texts to my sister, hoping she’ll be jolted out her joyful sleep. Everyone must suffer. By the time the prof shows up I am a demon. My head might as well been spinning a full 360 while I speak in tongues and vomit up pebbles. When he explains that “Word and Image” is actually a class about comic books. Sounds interesting.
By the time my second class rolls around I have reached phase two: defeat. My “Children’s Literature” professor begins to discuss the complexities of innocence while I begin to feel guilty about my projection. Who am I to judge? I’ve recently bleached my hair and am wearing a replica of Kurt Cobain’s infamous “Flipper” t-shirt. I’m the worst.
I’ve sat beside two girls in my program, one of whom is in my next class. “See you there!” she calls once the lecture is over. I wonder if it’s safe to be around people. My eyes are turning into swirls and I fear my crazy will spill out towards others and cause some real damage. Better grab a sammie!
After a quick pork belly boa I head to “Gothic Literature.” How fitting. At this point I run into my friend and her friends. Then those friends multiply because they have friends of their own. How do people make so many friends?
The doors to my third and final class swing open and I half expect Poe to ride out on a gentle steed, lead me away to some dank cellar and brick me in slowly while singing a soft lullaby.
Instead, a wave of hot and hurrying students fill the hallway. One of the friends of my friend tells me I should sit with them. “Join our squad!” I automatically think of Taylor Swift and her Amazonian supermodel gang and am officially scared. Phase three: madness.
My heart is racing, and this classroom is one million degrees (that is a fact, ladies and gentlemen). I have sat between two of the friends who begin the class casually joking with one another, but as time passes their jokes turn sour and they begin to consistently mouth angrily around me to each other. No squad is perfect, I suppose.
I try to steer my attention away from this argument and onto my professor. He discusses the themes of the gothic; the supernatural, violence, decay, death … death is inescapable I think. I look around at my fellow classmates laughing and taking notes rapidly, clicking on their keyboards and scraping their pens against the page. Don’t they know what’s to come? Sure we’re all young and happy now, but what about when our bodies begin to fail us and bitterness overcomes joy?
My heart is beating quicker now. Why have I been worrying about defeating the five-day work week when I should be preparing myself for death?
Finally the professor releases us and I quickly gather my things and dive for the door. The hallway is filled with a sea of ghouls. They stand mindlessly blocking the door, either looking around without purpose or down at their lit screens. I keep my head down and push my way through the army of stiff shoulders. By the time I get to the stairway I’m running. My hand grips the banister and at every landing I swing myself to increase speed. Lightning roars in the background, I’m terrified but cannot stop.
Finally I burst through the doors and a wave of fresh air hits my face. I watch the delicate snowflakes fall onto the Quad for a moment then I check my phone. I’ve got a text from my sister: “How did your day go?” I take a moment and then respond “It was kinda long, but I made some new friends!”