One of my last nights in Beloit, my parents, and my friends from school went out to a supper club downtown. The place proved loud and strange. It felt like we had walked onto the set of an action movie from the 50s where there was no action yet. We had a long table with a white table cloth and got served crackers and butter as a pre-appetizer to the real appetizer of bread and butter. Then, we ate lots of meat for the main course and no one could hear anyone else talking so mostly we watched each other, looked down at our food, and watched the other guests, mostly other families of graduates and a few huge parties of Wisconsin locals out for a Friday on the town.
After leaving, we walked back to campus. My friend Theresa and I peed behind the bushes on the academic side. From our crouches we could see the hundreds of rows of plastic seats set up for the ceremony tomorrow. When we walked by the stage, we saw a lone security guard watching out over the dark. Looking at each other, we both started running, giggling away from association with our little crime.
We were talking about things once we cooled down:
“campus is so quiet”
“this semester’s been good and long”
“it’s been tough”
“we made it though, huh”
These little things hid bigger things we couldn’t say–that we were scared and terribly excited for the summer that beginning tomorrow. It was creeping toward us progressively faster with every movement. When we got to the door in front of Theresa’s dorm, we hugged goodbye like we always did. Silence.
“do you want to go lay in the grass?”
The grass was cool and the air hot and humid above us. It pressed us down gently like a smooth blanket. We stopped talking, all our tired limbs resting on the earth. The tiny dark grasses held us. Of course, the stars were there.
“what do you want to be remembered for? like, when you’re dead, what do you want people to say about you?”