Shots

“Anything can happen. Anything happens all the time.” -Rose Byrne

One. Two. Three…

I knock back the harsh liquid and gulp, hissing from the sting of alcohol. I am just getting started. With a wave of my hand, I beckon for another.

Four. Five…

Things are getting fuzzy, my sight blurring in and out of focus. I let out a deep sigh, lean my head back, and smile with relief. After the excruciatingly long week I’ve had, I deserve this one night to kick back. I don’t even worry about fixing my top that hangs loosely off one shoulder. Instead, I laugh along with the guys playing beer pong on the table in front of me.

Six…

People cheer for me. Apparently, everyone is impressed by how many shots I can hold back. Standing up with the support of my new friends and a smirk of victory, I haphazardly shuffle my feet to the bathroom, placing my hands on either side of the sink. I just stare at myself in the mirror. As my eyesight comes back to me, I gauge the damage based on my features. My pupils are dilated. My skin looks clammy. My hair is disheveled around my shoulders. I’m fine. My tolerance is fairly high. Honestly, I could take a few more and it wouldn’t hurt, right?

I scoff at myself for being so damn cautious. I have nothing to worry about. Stumbling out of the bathroom, I giggle to myself as I sit back down on the couch. What a great party, I needed this. With what little eyesight I can control, I look around me and smile at the hectic but relaxed scene. I feel someone sit down beside me and put their arm around my shoulders. I’m too numb to care who it is or why they are doing it.

I feel his warm breath near my neck. His lips barely brush my ear, sending a shiver down my spine. He’s whispering something but I can’t understand him over the loud laughter and music. I watch with fluttering eyes as he slides two more shots of alcohol in front of me.

Seven. Eight…

He hands me a water and asks if I’m okay. Eyes betray his supposedly good intentions, the blue irises darkening to nearly pitch black, like a wolf stalking its prey. Leading me from the room, he practically has to carry my quickly crumbling figure. Pulling my hand, he drags me into another room off to the side, I’ve never been here before.

                My vision swirls again, my eyelids drop over my eyes and I can’t control it. Everyone carries on with their partying, and no one notices when he shuts the door.

Find Your Space

“Find your place of peace and carry it with you always.” -Unknown

I was always very independent. Typically, I opted to spend my days in my bedroom at home, reading books, listening to music, or watching my favorite movie for the hundredth time over going out with friends. It didn’t bother me much, I preferred to be left to myself and my thoughts. My parents were more concerned than I was.

My mom and dad would tell me, what seemed like every other day, to go out or call a friend asking them to come over. My usual answer was, “No, I’m good,” and oftentimes I was. I was unconcerned with the fact that I wasn’t considered popular, I had few friends I actually enjoyed talking to, and I was alone. I was content to be on my own. My parents understand for the most part, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t afraid for me. They told me if I don’t want to be around other people, I should at least have a place I can go to let what troubles me fall away. I took this advice in stride.

For those who haven’t been to Central Pennsylvania, most of it is farmland and in the center is the oddly small capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. Living in a small town means that there really aren’t many things to do or places to go. Sure we have Hersheypark and other entertainment, but it was a bit of a drive if you wanted to get almost anywhere. It was a miracle that I even found a lonely horse trail hidden in the heart of Pinchot State Park.

Funny, this place is perfect for me. Isolated, barely used to its full potential, often forgotten.

The hardest part is finding the entrance. On the right of a main road, just past a seemingly ancient cemetery, is a narrow path surrounded by foliage. It’s difficult to see that this path can fit a car, and it is difficult to fit a 2003 Ford Expedition through it. Once found though, the rest is fairly simple. A walkway leading down a steep hill beckons me to draw closer. I’m long past the point of hesitation to comply. Banking right at the lake, I can hear the splashing of water. Then I see it, my favorite place.

Tucked away from the lake, the nook holds tumbled rocks with water running over them. This place looks like something out of a movie, but you won’t see cameras here. I jump from rock to rock to get to the other side of the brook, where a thin path awaits. I continue walking until I get to my special place. Three rocks jut out from the lapping water. I jump on the first two to get to the third, the farthest into the water.

I don’t know what it is about water that I am drawn to. No matter if it’s an ocean, a river, or a lake. I always want to be near it. Maybe it’s the calm sound of shifting liquid. Perhaps the smell of the salty or sweet air. I am unsure. All I know is that it is one of the only places where I can think clearly and be on my own.

I like to think about the concepts of life, love, friendship, anything really that comes to mind. I take the book in the picture above with me when I come here. I write down all the ideas, thoughts, and sometimes poems in my little, poorly bound notebook. It’s cleansing to be able to let loose the jumble going on inside my head. There’s no need for someone else to entertain. No need for worry. No need for interaction with others. I am able to just lose myself in the wind whistling through the trees and the ripples on the water. I give my attention over to the wildlife, watching every movement and wondering why things are what they are.

I guess a scientist’s brain never loses an opportunity to conduct an analysis or question the laws of nature, but I don’t mind much. I’m used to overthinking and overanalyzing everything, but here, I am doing both in a more relaxed way.

Finding a place to be free from the stresses of civilization and society is so important for having a healthy mind. We all need a little peace at some point. I carry that overgrown horse trail in Pinchot with me everywhere I go, for that is where my best thoughts can be found.

All My Love,

Corrine.

A Poetic Night

“Everyone has a 2am and a 2pm personality. I’m more interested in the monster you become at 2am rather than the human being you pretend to be at 2pm.” -Unknown

It is so easy to get lost, both in thought and on the backroads of Greensburg, PA.

It had been an unusually long Friday, the hours inching on into infinity. I didn’t get to see my friends as much as I typically do. They were all busy with classes and in the evening half of them were performing in the play, while B and Haley went to see it (for the second time). It was a great show, but that is a story for another time.

It was when everyone got home from the show that the adventure began.

After taking care of our friend and making sure she was okay, Haley and I decided to go for a drive. There was no real destination, it was just a way for us to escape the weight of being on campus. We had no idea where we were going, and honestly we didn’t really care. We listened and sang along with Adele’s album, 21, dodged small groups of deer, and laughed away the fear of how dark and sketchy it was at two in the morning.

It’s funny what the early hours of the morning can bring two people to say. Haley told me her thoughts and feelings, as well as her memories and fears. I won’t say what they were, simply because this was a conversation meant for the two of us in her car, Penelope. In turn, I told Haley my biggest fears and things I have never told anyone else but my mom. I don’t trust just anyone with what burdens me, mostly because I worry more about what others are going through than I do my own problems. I tell my close friends a lot about me, but I keep the deepest, darkest parts of myself a mystery. I don’t know why I said it that night, but I don’t regret it. It was nice to let it go for once.

At some point, Haley and I started to cry, a rare occurrence for both of us. Haley and I are very similar in that we don’t like to cry, rather we don’t cry in front of people, besides maybe family. Haley is the only person at this school who has seen me full on crying. I’ve teared up over a movie and when I explained what happened to me, sure, but I’ve never actually cried in front of anyone here at college, except Haley. I think it was a relief for both of us. We needed to breakdown a little to be able to rebuild.

That’s why I would consider Haley to be my best friend. We do stupid things together, bicker, pull pranks on each other, but the best thing we do is understand each other 100%. I think we both trust each other enough to allow ourselves to be at our most vulnerable around each other.

After the tears stopped, Haley opened the sunroof, Adele’s album playing through for a second time. I knew exactly what she was telling me I could do. Grinning, I stood up through the gap and let the cold air beat at my face. From head to hip, I was flying through the cold March night, with Penelope keeping me planted. I truly felt infinite. Haley laughed from the driver’s seat as I yelled and pretended I was a plane. We neared a busier road, so I returned to my seat with a wide smile on my face. The conversation and mood became much less heavy.

When we got back to campus, Haley asked me where we should go. Right, I forgot to mention this. We brought a notebook, two pens, and a lighter. These things would allow us to get rid of some of the troubles we carry with ourselves. We drove back behind the baseball field in the pitch black darkness. As scared as we were, this was something we wanted, needed, to do.

We each took a piece of paper and a pen and wrote down a few of our regrets. We didn’t look at each other’s paper. We didn’t need to. This was to help us personally forgive ourselves and forget. To start fresh. Stepping out into the cold, Haley did the honors of burning her regrets first. As hard as it was with the wind, we lit her paper and watched it burn to ash. Then, it was my turn.

Regrets are hard to fully lose, and it certainly showed as I tried and failed many times to burn mine. It must have taken 5 minutes for my paper to light. The wind blowing out the flame as quickly as it lit. Birds made long whistling sounds that scared both Haley and I, so I hastily continued in my attempts to set my paper on fire. Finally, it caught and again we watched as it burned to dust. Haley and I agreed that it would have been more satisfying if the weather cooperated. Nevertheless, a weight was lifted off our shoulders and we returned home to go to bed.

I don’t think Haley and I become monsters at 2am. If anything, we become more in touch with the deeper parts of ourselves, and we break the walls we’ve built if only for a short while. I couldn’t be more thankful for a friend like her.

All My Love,

Corrine.