More than 50% of all sexual assaults on college campuses happen during the first six weeks of the semester.
I believe that. I know you did too. And in between are-you-sures and I-don’t-trust-yous, we stood in solidarity, promising to believe each other.
There was a lot of anger in us. I remember us avoiding Mason Hall, talking shit about fakeass people and half-voluntarily opting out of the community. We would go out during summer nights, yelling “fuck boys” and taking shots. Every weekend we would line up for Rick’s and Skeeps, go up the DJ booths, and compliment random girls’ outfits while waiting in line for the bathroom.
It became no surprise that we would inevitably end up with the worst of the worst. I don’t know why, but we kept falling in love, or at least tried to convince ourselves that we were in love. Funnily enough, we always gave each other the “girl talk”, to remind each other that “you are better than that” and “his ass needs to do better.” Why didn’t we listen to ourselves? Maybe we saw ourselves in each other and felt the need to reiterate what we secretly hoped to be the truth.
Do you remember the time that you ran after a boy in bare feet down Oxford Road because he hurt my feelings? He definitely was interested in you, even though you were with his friend and he was with me. I stupidly got upset at both of you instead of dumping his I’m-an-athlete privileged ass. We were often frustrated at each other because we each couldn’t see our own worth. I remember yelling at a boy to give me his phone and stay away from you, and you giving the stink eye to the “other” girl. I remember us texting each other that so-and-so is in the dining hall, and that we should eat somewhere else.
It wouldn’t be fair to say that we didn’t try though, right? You trained me at the gym, so we can go to an all-you-can-eat buffet afterwards. You would pick me up in the early mornings to go to work, and I would bring you a breakfast muffin from Twigs dining hall. Because of you, I finally realized that I had been assaulted; you also made space for me to explore my bisexuality. Do you remember how I kissed a girl that one night, to “distract” her from the guy who was interested in you? And how we panicked when we found out that someone had uploaded it on their Snapchat story? You were always there, every step of the growth.
I don’t know if I’m writing this story to alleviate my guilt. I don’t know if I own any of this story. Maybe you’ll be mad that I’m writing this. I hope you’re not mad. I don’t want you to be mad. I’m sorry.
When things went awry and we stopped talking to each other, I was pretty lost. Our mutual contact asked you why we don’t talk anymore, and you answered something along the lines of, “I guess she didn’t really consider me a friend.” I remember sending you a message when my mom went to the ER at 2am in Korea; I’m still sorry for not paying attention to your text the night that it happened.
I heard you’re doing well. I hope you make a lot of friends, friends who actually understand what you need, instead of friends who pressure you to make choices, even if they’re good ones. I wish you friends who love you no matter what. I know your family will always support you, and I’m glad to know that.
I guess I’m just trying to say that I’m back to square one. The college that I work at kind of reminds me of our school, with football and all. I tell students that first six weeks are the most dangerous time of the year, and I teach how to intervene when they see something wrong. Sometimes I question if what I’m doing is effective or helpful at all. Sometimes I think about how much we had to carry in college.
Do you remember how Rick’s would play Sweet Caroline when they were about to close? We would sit on the ledge outside and accidentally scrape the back of our thighs on the nail popping out of the concrete. Strangely enough, I don’t remember what you used to get at Pizza House. I always got Cinnamon Sticks, but what did you get? Maybe that was the problem. Maybe I just never knew what you wanted.
I still think about you a lot. I still don’t know what went wrong. I’m still sorry.