Your childhood bed with the pilled cotton comforter. The mini-blinds on the windows, drawn tight to keep out the light of the setting sun. The muffled sound of prime-time coming from your parents’ closed bedroom door, interrupted by the laughter of other kids playing in the street.
The next-door neighbor who paid you three cents to smell his dirty sock.
The religious summer camp you attended. The twinge of homesickness as you watched your parents drive away. The shelter you built out of fallen sticks and dead leaves. The far-off sound of twigs snapping as you waited for sleep. The realization that camp costs more than Disneyland.
The girl you dated when you were fat.
The Philosophy 101 lecture, where you took hurried notes with three-hundred other freshman. The thick books you pored over by greats like Freud, Kant and Socrates. The late nights in a windowless room with a textbook, a laptop and a Red Bull. The discovery that you didn’t know a thing about ethics or morals or the meaning of life—and still don’t. The D+ on your final.
Your first text message.
The apartment you lived in your first year out of school, the walk-up with a view of the street. Your tiny little IKEA couch. The classic movie poster, this time framed, under the dingy light of an energy-saving bulb. The crazy landlord. The satisfying itch of what you soon learned to be bed bugs.
The used car into which you sunk every dollar you had.
Your local coffee shop, the table near the outlet. The keys on your laptop, worn clean from years of instant messaging. The feel of your skinny jeans clinging tightly to your thighs as you put the finishing touches on a new piece of writing. The knot in your stomach that forms just before you hit “send” and never goes away.