Things were wild back then. My body ran on coffee and fruit loops and vodka and a variety of other substances pressed or cut to forms suitable for consumption. Substances suitable to get me through the next shift, the next party, the next lecture, the next assignment, the next fucking family dinner. There were always friends around. Coming and going. Always someone to talk to. Always someone to tell me about a new band. Always someone to get coffee or drinks with. Always someone to hug me without asking why I needed it.
Things had been fun then! Roman candle wars in the alleyways, dodging the explosions of red and blue sparks. We huffed whip-it’s on the porch and laughed until we were grasping at our stomachs and gasping for air and red in the face. Above us the moths dancing around the porch light, ethereal and ghost like. We got drunk and broke into outdoor pools to skinny dip and ran like hell when that police helicopter started shining its spotlight down on us. Yelling FUCK YOU as we sprinted naked though the fields.
I wrote an essay at 3 am on a Sunday once to meet the 8pm Sunday deadline, pupils like dimes, wearing nothing but a bra and a tutu with the help of a room full of people. I got an A on that essay and laughed like a maniac when I saw the grade, texting a picture of my marked essay to my contributors. It was a bunch of damn nonsense but it was passionate and inspired and sometimes that counts for more than sense. I’ve got through a lot of life in that way.
Everything was surreal back then, ultra-real, magnified. The days dripping into one another like melting ice cream, sweet and sloppy. It all ran together, a Technicolor blur. Everything was funny and bizarre and sometimes I’d wake up in the morning and have to ask around to confirm some of the unbelievable details I remembered from the night before.
“Were there two people fucking against the wall in the corner back there?”
“Yah, that happened!”
“Did Graham fall off the roof last night and dislocate his shoulder?”
“Yah, but there was a nurse here! She popped it back in and they ended up going home together! Hahaha!”
What had started out as parties on Saturday night had turned into parties that lasted through the weekend. Then it started to extend back into the week; Thursday night, then Wednesday, then most days there were people over at the house. Some days I’d get home and find people I didn’t even know sitting around on our gold floral couches drinking beer, smoking my pot, blowing smoke rings up to the ceiling.
“Uh, hey? Who are you?”
“Oh we’re friends of Kelsey.”
“Who the fuck is Kelsey?”
“You know, Kelsey!”
It started to wear me down. It’s not easy working two jobs and taking a full course load at university when there never seems to be a time that is quiet enough to sleep in your own god damn house. Sometimes I’d fall asleep in the university library, Dante’s Inferno, covering my face, blocking the light from my eyes.
There was nowhere else for me to go, and no way to get there, even if there was. My mom lived in town but she was nuts and her house was like a war zone. My grandma… but I was too feral and wild and she was too old to have to deal with that. I had no money for a car, I just bussed around back then…. I was stuck.
At first I had loved to have people around me all the time. I felt anxious if there wasn’t someone to talk to. After a while I started to crave peace and space though. I’d dream about buying a motorcycle and riding it out into the prairies where all I could hear were the crickets! I’d dream of lying down in the grass and feeling the heat of the earth and the whisper of the wind. I craved the ability to just be gone, to get away.