I’m at my Christian alma mater, about to have dorm room sex for the first time. I feel cheated, humiliated, horny. Like being turned on in a dental chair—one of those has to go. I never had this experience; I never had any college experience here save for studying, transcripts, unknown loan collector area codes. This school, they breed you for suburbia: trying not to let you know about the Twin Cities secular lifestyle while marketing that they’re so close! They don’t tell you about the isolation, that most students live with their parents and leave for the weekends to wash dirty clothes.
I met her in a coffee shop. The one where Bible studies meet in that circle of scavenged chairs, where only the attractive women wear wedding bands or are chained to their initial-inscribed sacred texts. You know the ones. That suburban happiness: too happy for their own good, like they are running from something.
Me: all faux-angst artist-for-the-night, journal in hand, burnt tobacco cologne, the hollow/ forced can I sit next to you when the place is clearly empty and about to close. We talk about things that are not our school—my broken engagement, my recently diagnosed ADD/ psychological issues, problems with Christianity and my family. I may have used the term black sheep, and this is a word my mother uses. Jesus, so many Cliff Noted, sentimental, dad-joked sob stories work with the broken, searching, desperate ones. It seems I have a type.
Hers was this new dorm—all cinderblock, sterile, white—looking down the hallway was one long boring geometric proof they probably use to make criminals confess. We sit on couches made for the specific purpose of chastity—medieval torture devices seen on public television documentaries. I think there are spikes in the cushions; I can’t feel my legs; I think a cast iron mold for my penis was attached as soon as I entered the building. I have no key. Sober students pass us, all of them as if C.S. Lewis had written Lord of the Flies: bland, allegorical, deceptively placid. I was there once.
Back in her room, she takes off her pants and all I can think about is her wedding night. That: I’ll be there like my own funeral. Hell, I’m already gone. The walls are as bare as they were during my neuro-psych exam. Circle one:
(Seldom/Often/Always) I wish I were the opposite gender.
(Seldom/Often/Always) I’d rather be a city planner than a gardener.
(Seldom/Often/Always) I have a low mood or am depressed.
I keep thinking about her father (yeah the wedding thing again), standing up there, all vaguely proud and paternal. I will never meet this man. Don’t think about wasting time, about feeling old. Goddammit: I’m thinking about fathers and life events for someone I barely know when I should be all here—turned on, sexy, ready to go. And, this:
Maybe there’s so much God/ The Universe/ Science doesn’t know, like how we easily forget great books or sentences. There is so much lost in creation; there is too much to remember and care about. It is all too much, like Noah’s Flood—hell, any early civilization creation/ destruction narrative—sometimes everything must go.
But for now the only sound is the computer’s whirring fan. I won’t count our breathing. I tell myself to kiss the moles on her back, in order, like the constellations. It’s a shame to think we’ve run out of stars to name.