•68/ While brushing his teeth at night, Pan asks himself one of those pseudo-intellectual considerations freshmen in college usually discuss over a joint in renovated apartments small enough for really only one person, decorated with paneled wood and stale brown carpet, with winter outside pelting the windows with sleet and rain and so because we were foolish and reckless, we shared a small cig in the blue shadows, the four of us huddling close, feeling rebellious, defiant, sparking mild danger in our lives, which is when Charlie asked the cliché thought, in all seriousness, trying to be profound, despite the fact he would drop out in another term; Robert laughed at him with a holier-than-thou-sneer, but Charlie persisted:
is this even real?
his green eyes turning a glassy tone, so Robert, disgusted, stood up to forage for chips or dry cereal, maybe almonds, and I pretended I didn’t hear the question, avoided the point, I just wanted the warmth of the room to build up, carry me over to one more semester, find a resolution to the irritation building in my gut, my scrawny frame twisting without direction, without poetry, without self—
Yet. Outside, the rain became snow. And Charlie slumped into the couch with Amy, leaving me watching static on the television’s lost signal, rocking softly, hating myself for knowing the answer all along.