The Beginning

3:45 PM

During the few days before the semester started,
I discovered how delicious college life could be.
A carload of new friends headed to the lake.
In the middle of the night
Because we could

Wearing our swimsuits under our shorts and tanktops,
Crammed into the backseat of a Honda
Singing along to the radio and
Eating up the seconds with delight

Four people wedged into a seat designed for two
Our limbs were overlapped and intertwined
and I have never been so happy to be smushed

Seated beside me was someone with whom
I had felt an instant connection
A sharp, painful intake of realization
That my ideal had materialized

The terror of a knowledge that I would
Never be the same.
And that I’d never again have that first look or
Wonder what it would feel like to fall into that
Place in your soul where you knew what it was
To belong to another without meaning to

If I turned my head just a millimeter, I could practically
Taste his skin
But I was far too nervous to even dare to move
So I laughed with everyone else at the giddiness of
Being 17 and a freshman and alive and
In a car headed to the cliffs to jump out into
The great unknown.

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