Katherine

Today in the woods at the edge of campus, a St. Bernard ran into me and pressed his wet snout against my right hand. It was sweet and goofy. I wanted to say hi and pet him, but his owners called him back. I walked past a professor who knows I’m woefully behind in my work, and almost felt bad about spending a lot of time in those woods this weekend (and going to the mall and the movies the night before). I think a woman saw me wipe a booger on the leaf of a tree.

On my way into the wooded area, I saw a woman and a teenager sitting on a tree that had fallen over the water. They were beautiful, so on my way out I sat where they had sat for a long time before I went back to campus and I felt beautiful but not like myself. I could not feel my own existence. I stared down at a spot where a bunch of leaves had dammed up in the water. I stared at the leaves, and what looked like someone’s phlegm, and the rocks below the surface of the water. Nothing feels real. Writing about it doesn’t make it feel more real, because writing just turns experience into something else.

The night before, after I got home from the movies and read for a while, I heard voices outside my cracked window. I stood up and looked out. If I’m close to the window, I always look when I hear people pass by—I don’t understand people who do homework in public and don’t look at all the people passing by.

I leaned forward and saw two dudes. “Hi,” one said. His tone was very LOL so I felt LOL and was like, “Hey, ’sup.” Then his friend looked up and was like, “Hey, have a good night,” and I was like “Yeah, thanks. Goodnight,” and I smiled. I always feel invisible when I look at people, but this was like someone throwing dust on me to make my form apparent. It felt OK. It made me know that I am present but didn’t help me feel reality much more keenly—it was still something that happened in a dream state.

I wonder if being around people more will help me feel more real. It never has in the past, but I’m still going to try. People tell me that alcohol will help me talk to strangers at parties (which I’m supposed to do because I haven’t joined anything and party is what you do to meet people if you don’t join anything), but that complicates things because alcohol always makes me feel wayyyy less real. I’m not sure what can help me sense reality. I sense that this will not be resolved soon. ♦