it's thursday night, 11.55pm, and i'm on ryan's balcony in Nic 6. he knows exactly how i feel, and he's spilling the beans. i'm too old, i'm dying, too far gone, done trying, downhill, down, down, down. i tell myself this all the time and now he's telling me too. "five minutes to go, ivan," he says. it's the eve of my 21st birthday.
we start off by beating quinnipiac 20-16 at the postponed old meth' under the stars. this is a bunch of hardcore ruggers who enjoy poetry, music and beautiful imagery, not very unlike jun ren and some of the rj ruggers. tonight's drink-up is at washington and vine, and tonight we celebrate our victory and my birthday. old meth' then sends me off on "the ride" nicely buzzing and looking forward to the rest of the night.
terrence and laird bring me to town on friday for a trip to the bottleshop. of course i pick up some frangelico, back from the melbourne days with marty. on the way back from horseriding, we stop at dunkin' for even more birthday treats. to be fair, this is only the first time since i've been here that i've eaten at a chain. back at home, the skies are pouring and blair and i run off to play. we scream from the centre of the grey deluge that is emptying itself over our heads. the rain is cold and so are the puddles. pieces of foss hill stick to our skin and what remains of the clothes we were wearing. today i am 21, and playing in the rain reminds me of slightly better times when i was young. this odyssey is inexorable, the rain is unforgiving. "rain is a common metaphor for rebirth," i tell blair. rain is a common metaphor for rebirth.
back indoors, blair and i share a steaming hot shower before the cocktail reception. it is 8pm and the guests are fashionably late. before long, the girls have arrived in their dresses and heels, the boys come in blazers and their thrift store vintage tees. we sit in my room, mixing drinks and eating birthday cake with the cool breeze drifting in from the open window. i ask them if i should shut the window, but they are distracted with handing out party hats. the posse brings the reception out to the hallway and down into the westco tunnels. there a pinata awaits, it is a fire truck. i widen my stance in the future, and swing the squash racquet of time and age against the past.
the 19th of october is also the night of the coming out day party at eclectic. i'm pretty fucked up by now so i greet every friend i see like we're best mates. but dom is there, looking really cute. so we dance, dance, dance the night away. his hair brushes against my face as we lean together so i can whisper into his ear. "i like you," i say in my imagination. instead, i take a gulp of water from his bottle. p-safe comes to break up the party at 2am as usual, so we go chill out, and in my stupor i fall into more mad love. we walk back together to westco in the chilly 4am dimness. he's sleeping 50 metres away from me tonight.
the aftermath. is hunting at the state park. three boys, one man, a shotgun and a slingshot. no rules, one orange vest and a runaway squirrel. no catch. we return in the walk of shame and decide instead to go for a yard sale and satisfy our sick consumer instinct by spending money on a 12' swimming pool. the school's long lane farm is hosting pumpkin fest tonight, where for the first time, i see people post-eclectic party. it is too embarassing.
to salvage what's left of our camping pride, we head off on our bikes to wadsworth falls. four boys, one man, a girl and a pot. everyone's freaking out about the setting sun but i use a little of my gravitas to calm their adolescence down. we start building a shelter and a fire, collect water, and start cooking stew. dinner time is in front of the glorious fire, feeding our tummies, the fire feeding our eyes, and good company for the soul. we dont know the time, and we have a colossal chat that gets us high on ideas. this is life, this is college life, in a secret spot in the forest. like minds, like young minds, planning to change our lives and the world...
there's five seconds to go and ryan and i are screaming. i want to cry; my party hat is falling off. i am 21. my time is time accentuated with peace, agitation, experience, wisdom and courage. my mother gave me life 21 years ago, and took me under her care. now she's sent me off to college in america. for my 21st birthday, she's given me the ultimate present - the gift of rebirth. this is my new life, this is mine and i am under my care. after the party at nics we run to indian hill cemetery but matt and i leave early. i hit on him. he goes off to sleep. 21. i wake up the next morning at 9am on ryan's floor. i had work at 7. 21. i am under my care.