We stumbled into the gray dorm with the coordination of a baby fawn. The soda machines glowed bright next to the community bathrooms. I am sure we stopped along the way, avoiding a public urination fine from the campus police clad in bike helmets and heavy-duty fanny packs. The bathroom was surprisingly clean for a Saturday night and we held ourselves up before the urinals by leaning on the speckled dividers. I leaned too hard, belly full of beer and cafeteria food, and heard the sound of plastic cracking. Ryan looked over and chuckled before leaning into another divider.
We both hit the floor chuckling next to shattered urinal dividers. Out of breath and wheezing with laughter Ryan stepped in front of the mirror. He lifted his right arm, pointing at the line of blood creping down his arm. His wide grin lingered in front of the mirror as I picked up the broken divider and fired it up into the fluorescent lights above. A cloud of white dust and glass showered the top of my head. It was my time before the mirror.
I shook my head sending glass fragments onto the tiled floor. I didn’t have any blood to show, but my grin was just as strong.
I then assumed a three-point stance and sent myself into the side of one of the stalls. Bolts snapped and skipped across the floor. I was left laying belly down on a cold light-brown piece of hollow metal. I didn’t feel a thing and rolled onto the floor laughing maniacally.
Ryan and I are high school friends who went to different colleges in the same city. His school was filled with stone buildings that held the reverence of castles. It was a school that held soon –to-be presidents and cancer curers. A school that would have scoffed at my SAT’s.
My school was a far ride down the Metro amongst once gorgeous dilapidated homes and corner bars. Everyone looked the same and drank beer together on the weekends at the same place. Wearing sweatpants everywhere was the norm.
Ryan assumed the same three-point stance and leapt before crashing through the hollow metal of the second stall. He growled like a cat in heat, wind knocked right out of his gut. I fell to the ground laughing, leering at the third stall, imagining its fate.
The destruction of the third stall left my sweater ripped from shoulder to hip. Ryan noticed first. His blood stained arm aimed at the casualty of war.
With his last bit of gusto Ryan destroyed the fourth stall with ease. He stood over the rubble, gnarled hands above his head, violently catching his breath.
The bathroom was left with at least hundreds of dollars in damage and an awful mess for an unsuspecting janitor. We were first semester freshmen and this was one of the most exciting nights we had all year. Getting into a bar with a good fake ID, and heading back to the dorms with drunk anger and aggression blowing out of our ears. This is all we knew and what we lived for.
Ten years later and I look back upon that night with guilt and wonderment. Why would I run through a bathroom like a wild hungry beast smashing through everything before me?
As college moved along I stopped visiting this school filled with castles. Ryan was there, but I didn’t belong there. I leaned against the bars alone wondering if people were whispering about me. My future was bleaker than theirs. My sweater had a big rip in it.
That cannon ball of a night was inferiority firing out of my pores. I knew early on that my school was a long way down the Metro. Sometimes I wonder if Ryan was feeling the same way. Did he want to smash that whole place with an axe? Part of me thinks he did, but then again…I started it.