By Hallie Cantor
Dearest girl I hooked up with last weekend,
I write to you from the lowest and most wifi-bereft trenches of the campus library, where I have set up camp to await the results of my Bio 101 practice test. My Calc test approaches from the North, and a ten-page World Religions paper from the Southwest. I face battle on multiple fronts.
They say it’s the worst finals period in decades. I confess, from time to time I feel worry that I won’t make it out of here in time for move-out day. When I get like that, I just look at your profile picture that I printed out and hung up in my study carrel. If I ever get out of this hellhole, I swear I’ll make an honest woman out of you. We can do a Netflix night or something.
My darling whose last name I cannot remember,
My heart lifts each day at gmail call and falls when there is no word from your sweet hand. I pray for your safety.
In any case, I’m sure you’re awaiting news of our rations. I have been living on stale bagels and energy bars purchased from the library café. Many a day’s gone by since I had a taste of real water, but coffee and Red Bull do me fine for now.
The days all run together. I’ve forgotten what the sun looks like outside of this place. I’ve heard tell that even when people come home, they still think they’re down here. They wake up in the middle of the night, certain that they’ve a paper due. Their lovers slumber on in innocence as our men leap to their feet and desperately grope for their crumpled syllabi. Shaking, sweating, scrambling, their eyes wide and their hearts crushed by the grip of terror.
My dear Melissa(?) (Molly? Sorry, I know it started with an M),
Still have not heard from you after my last letters. Surely your response must have been lost in the chaos of finals period.
I must report unfortunate news from the field. My laptop took a hit in the Battle of the World Religions Paper, yet a skirmish with 19th Century Literature cannot be far down the road. I’m making do with a school computer now, though competition is fierce for printers.
I think fondly of my beanbag chair, Internet connection and other comforts of home. Oh! what I wouldn’t give to join my old cohort for a rousing game of NFL Blitz. But this is no game. My mission consumes me. I’ve trained all semester, and now everything is at stake. My Calc final is like, 30% of my grade for the course.
As my grandfather found his manhood during the second World War, so will I define myself as a man by being slightly uncomfortable in a library for a week.
To my lovely lady with the blonde or possibly red hair,
Conditions worsen here in the basement stacks. I’ve a nasty case of trenchfoot from stepping in someone’s spilled coffee, but was able to fashion a tourniquet for the paper cut I sustained while proofreading. The cold I got from streaking the night of the Spring Concert still lingers, and I pray I will not have to be airlifted from the field of battle to Health Services.
You and I did not choose to begin this fight, but God willing we will end it. Every generation has its trials, and this is ours. The boys next to me, I see the fear in their eyes too. Also, I hear their music playing, because they obviously don’t know how headphones work, which is super annoying. It’s like, at least listen to GOOD music if you’re gonna blast it everywhere.
Yours in battle,
I grow wearier of finals by the moment. I haven’t slept or bathed in days, nor have I done my laundry in several months. (I know finals have only been going on for a week, but the psychological effects of their anticipation have been severe.) I can’t trust anyone, even those here on the ground with me. Mike’s Bio study guide was a joke.
I hear tell from a friend in the library on the East side of campus that there’s free pizza over there. Still, I am settled on the West, and losing time to travel is too big a risk. I will succeed here, or I will fail Calc.
If I ever get out of here, I’m going to take a shower and dress in pants that button. I’ll wear shoes that cover the entire top of my foot, and I’ll finally take off this hat that I’ve been wearing for the past two weeks.
Tell my mother I love her, and no I haven’t booked my flight home yet and can she get off my back about it?
DEAR RECIPIENT STOP WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU THAT ANDREW HAYNES HAS BEEN KILLED IN ACTION STOP
SPECIFICALLY THE ACTION OF CHOKING ON A STALE BAGEL STOP
PLEASE CLAIM HIS BOOKS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS AT YOUR EARLIEST CONVENIENCE STOP