I made friends at college; stupid, lost boys who were always drunk. Bearded artists and philosophers, retching their dreams on the side of the road like magic shows, calling out for an audience to help them clean up. I might even have become one of those boys, sad and dark and twisted into spaces I didn't fit into. Kill me, I said to the walls. Kill me, floor. Drown me in my own vomit.
There was a forest along two sides of the school, dark and silent, watching us destroy our immune systems in the light of the street lamps. I watched it follow me home, out every window up the stairs of my residence hall, out my room window at the end of the hallway. I remembered Reed saying, "The woods are all the same." Because they were.
The first night I went out to that tree line, shaking and scared, was the last time I ever hoped to be normal. I watched my fingers reaching for the bark, trembling fingernails pulling back to reveal the nail beds, pulsing red, blood blisters boiling on the backs of my hands. I closed my eyes and smiled at the pain.