No familiar human saw me as I got on a plane Tuesday on my way to Massachusetts. No one saw me as I took a cab to school, carried my luggage to my dorm, and got my keys. Everything feels vaguely unreal, false the way September sounds cold but is very hot. Who did I tell I was going here? My immediate family, one friend, and my neighbor when she asked about school. I didn’t tell many of my former professors or acquaintances and forgot to tell one of my roommates I wasn’t coming back.
After carting around my shit in the sickly, soupy air for 45 minutes, I turn into a greasy red hot dog. I go into my room, open the windows, and take off everything except my underwear bottoms, and lay down on my suitcase, breathing deeply to catch the slightly less soup-y air coming in through the window.
I wake up to the sound of someone opening my door, struggle to place where I am, and tilt my head backwards to see a pair of work boots and khakis. I yelp, the handyman looks over, sees me, screams, and fumbles out. I don’t tell anyone until I email Danielle and tell the story to a group of sophomores I met in the cafeteria. Then it feels more like it happened.
Later that night, it rained as I waited outside my dorm for a pizza I would share with some freshmen. While waiting, I think I see a robbery in the faculty offices next door. A man parks a car adjacent to the building, the emergency lights go on, and several men get out. They enter the house through the side porch, and I see a basement light go on, then off. A minute later, two men begin to exit the house from my side, one carrying a clear trash bag with something black inside, look in my general direction, and re-enter the house. I, nervous at this point, moved through the shadows to the other side of the building. I don’t think I hallucinated, but it didn’t feel real. Maybe I should have called campus police, but I felt it wouldn’t work or that everything was fine and I projected my mild fear of being outside at night onto these people.
Later that night, everything was sticking together: sheets to my skin, my thighs to each other when I walked, and all items to the surfaces on which they were resting. I walked through a row of showers on my way to the bathroom—the shower curtains moved backwards as I walked past them, making scraping noises as they unstuck. Calmly thrilled by the effect I was having on the curtains, I pushed one towards the interior of the shower. It made a noise. I act and objects respond.
Saturday night, I walked into town to go to CVS. In the cleaning aisle, an old man farted and leaned slightly my way as he passed. An accident, I thought. As I passed him on my way to another aisle, he bent over and aimed a fart at me, shifting in order to fart at me a few more times as I got further away. I was shocked and grossed out and texted my brother. “Nasty,” he said. Being at school is beginning to feel like reality. ♦