I lose my wallet a lot. I always get it back, but this is something I didn’t realize about myself until recently. I’ve lost it under a couch cushion in a New Apt. I’ve lost it in a bar in DC. And at 10:17 PM on a Sunday, I had lost it again. I remembered putting it in a plastic bag with a bag of chips and a jar of salsa. I was bringing snacks to The Horn for a Stairwells rehearsal, and didn’t have the hands for it all. The thing is, I also remembered throwing that bag out in The Horn later that day, and I hadn’t seen my wallet since.
As I scurried down the Farr stairs, praying that The Horn wasn’t locked, my back started to get tight. This was a familiar feeling. I get it when I let all my stresses hit me at once. I hadn’t solidified an apartment for the summer yet. My KCard had just run out of money. I had a 2,500-word paper due for which I had not even made a word document. Which makes sense, because over the past year or so, papers and schoolwork in general had stopped being something that I enjoyed and had instead become new opportunities to disappoint myself. I was leaving Kenyon not with a bang, but instead fizzling out as my final classes slowly drained whatever mediocre efforts I had left in me.
As I crossed the empty street, I had the strong feeling of just not wanting to be here anymore. I didn’t want to go back to my room and write, or get up in the morning and sit through a class that I took simply to fill a credit, or get to The Horn and have to call Safety to unlock it because I’m a dumb garbage can who’s a terrible student and an even worse adult.
It’s easy, when I get in these moods, to think about all the things I wish I had done differently. I wish I hadn’t stopped letting schoolwork be my priority. I wish I had focused more on myself as a person, instead of myself in comparison to others. I wish I took myself more seriously as a writer. I wish I did a better job of running The Thrill. I wish I had ended things sooner, and I wish I had taken chances that by now I’ve missed.
I ran down the hill to The Horn, and pulled on the door, preparing for a fight, but it swung open without protest and I was in the dark. I flipped the switch and, like a kid waiting to be picked up from school, my wallet was sitting in the middle of the room, safe and untouched. And I laughed because of this school. Because of this dumb school where I can leave my wallet in a public space for hours and have no consequences. Because of this school where I can run through the night in torn-up tennis shoes and pajamas and be back in my room in under ten minutes. Because, as I run, I pass by lit windows with familiar faces on communal couches. Because as soon as you start talking about someone, they round the corner. Because as soon as someone walks into a room, you know everything about them. Because things can go from rainy and horrible and fighting with your friends to clear, hot sun within minutes and you kiss someone for the first time. Because feral cats and Bookstore ice cream and popping champagne in Bushnell when Obama won. Because I always lost beer pong and was terrible at flip cup but I can sing “Sweet Caroline” louder than anyone. Because blisters from high heels and cold legs in the winter and folk songs and guitars. Because I was standing in the room where, in a few days, I’d sing with my friends for the last time.
I leaned down and grabbed my wallet, and told myself that, actually, I could be here a little longer. And, also, that I should probably start wearing a fanny pack.