Excerpt from “That One Time” – Anonymous ’26

The stars are bright lights above me. They reflect off of the darkness of the night and the silhouettes of those who do not want to be seen. The stars are unique. They have the ability to show off the parts of people and things that wouldn’t be able to otherwise. For example, me, laying down with my body sprawled out across the park grass at two in the morning with silver tears sliding off my pale flesh and my long brunette hair carelessly thrown around me. The stars give me the peace I want. The peace I need, even. They can see and understand who I truly am. I can be myself here because who is going to stop me? The stars are powerful but they can not get upset with me for being me like the other people in the world do. 

My torso feels sealed to the ground as if the Earth is trying to pull me into it. What would happen if I just let it? I know that I have class tomorrow, and I know I should care that my dorm mates are probably freaking out right now. I have been avoiding their calls and texts all night. 

As much as thinking about tonight makes me want to stay here even longer, I do have the common sense to know that even if I don’t care: I. Can. Not. Fail. All of a sudden, the weight holding me down lifts, and I am free. I only pull myself half up so that I can swipe the loose grass off of me. I sit like this for a few minutes when I spot a carving in the tree that I hadn’t noticed before. I pull myself up fully now, stumbling back due to the sudden rush of blood around my body. 

As the carvings become closer into sight, I can make out that the carvings are the initials of some people with a heart around them. “AA+CG” were the initials. My mind speeds through thoughts: “Are these people happy? Who are they? Are they dating?” I’ve always been curious about the couples who actually last. I’ve never experienced true love like what is shown in the movies. They have all been unreciprocated. Some days, it makes me feel unworthy of love. Like maybe it’s my fault that it hasn’t happened yet. Other days, I know that I wouldn’t be able to handle it in the first place. Still, I hope it happens one day.