VI

crepuscular; adjective, [kri-puhs-kyuh-ler]

  1. of, relating to, or resembling twilight; dim; indistinct
  2. Zoology: appearing or active in the twilight, as certain bats or insects.

orientation week. i’ve been having a lot of weird and beautiful dreams, standing in the midst of deserted landscapes, american deserts, the baltic sea, outer space near jupiter. and then, abruptly, i’m wandering through an empty metropolitan museum, and there’s a miniature model of the milky way galaxy spinning gently above the main staircase.

this year’s orientation theme is “out loud.” i get the idea, the excitement, (we’re gonna be loud! make our mark!) but sometimes i need a little quiet after all the cheering and pounding music, i.e. burrowing myself in my room during the witching hours while everyone else is out playing smash bros or chatting in the hallway. i must seem like a recluse. (hey, i’m just a lil tired). 

my mom gave me a pair of baodingjianshen qiu (baoding balls) for college and they’ve helped tremendously with my anxiety. i try to imagine the earth and the moon twirling around each other, locked in a gravitational dance. i’ve also been toying with a foot-long strip of paracord, learning how to tie different knots to keep my hands from fossilizing. butterfly knot, figure eight, bowline, half hitch. that’s another surivival mantra, another prayer to keep me afloat.

i’m meeting so many extraordinary people, and even though i will only keep in touch with a few, everyone gives me light-years of hope for humans. people from trinidad, korea, mexico, italy, ethiopia, studying biochem, art history, economics, engineering, history. everyone seems to have such nice self-images put together and it’s easy to think my own to be rather lame. 

on a similar thread, i was thinking about whether people nowadays are less willing to take bullets for each other, if we’ve hardened our shells and dismissed love and vulnerability as secondhand values. it’s much more impressive to seem cool, reassured, witty, perhaps even with an air of casual aloofness. i wonder how deep these relationships will run. maybe it’s too early to tell. maybe it’s a healing process. maybe we need time to realize that we’re all just trying to survive and if we help each other, we’ll have less weight to carry on our spines.

i miss home, but i am starting to embrace the city. at the bottom of each page of the notebook tiffany gave me, it says “discover your senses.” there’s a guy on my floor who has synesthesia—what’s it like? i want to stop thinking about language and start feeling everything—sunsets slicing through the skyline, battered hands, the pockmarked moon, fruit stalls with aplomb. i want to talk to people without scrubbing my face or fumbling with the edge of my shirt. i want to be able to look the world in the eye and smile.