The night sky was heavy with darkness, and revolved behind a thin, film layer of bright stars. The wind was soft, and panning down onto the rolling hills of campus, the golden lamps brought light to those sections of lawn that curved around the stone sidewalk, and vivid green mirages arose. Infront of Bellarmine Hall, at the nearest edge of one of those sections of lawn, in between the grass and its mirage, I sat alone on a wooden bench that stood below a hanging, maternal tree. My leg would not stop bouncing.

“If you have your tickets, step forward! Get out your tickets! You must have your tickets to gain admission!”

All the groups began to file between the red velvet stanchions with languid assurety; however, outside the dividing lines, the individuals waiting for more of their friends, stood leaning against the stone wall of Bellarmine. I entered the line between the two.

“Everyone please stay in a Single File Line, thank you.”

I don’t remember much about the crowd in line; just the ground. I did, however, know of the guy who was scanning everyone’s ticket; his name was Lars: he played rugby. 

“Hey what’s up”

“Sup, man.” 

He didn’t know my name. He scanned my ticket. Here was where the stanchions ended. 

I walked into the purgatory caught between two worlds, the line and Bellarmine; and it was all there; colors were between those two gray doors. A woman in a red dress walked across the polished parquet floor to say ‘hi’ to her friends. People were happy. It seemed so far away though, something done in circles of conversation with their backs turned. Before I entered I went up to Lars again.

“Hey, Lars – uh, I forgot something in my dorm. I’ve gotta go grab it, actually”
“Once I scan your ticket you can’t come back.”

“Sorry.”

I don’t remember seeing color on the walk back. I sat down on the wooden bench after asking my mom if it was alright if I came back home for a while, stay for the weekend. I told her I missed the dog.

Sitting there I only heard the rustle of the leaves from the hanging tree, which stirred my ears. They moved with the wind: towards the entrance of the gymnasium, a calm autumn breeze. Where lines of kids eagerly waited to enter, now the lines were empty. The only person left was Lars who was now sitting down at a large gray plastic table that made him seem lonely.

I finally got up, not knowing which direction to walk: back, or away, but what I did know was that the wind hypnotized me to stand and choose a direction. I stood up, with my body and mind telling me the direction of safety was away, back, back where I could find rest. 

But another part of me, the part that only listens to the wind, told me to follow it. Leading me back to the division of worlds. I walked the path I had known so well, and arrived at the lines, meeting Lars, who was unhooking the red velvet rope from stanchions and putting them away.

“I told you man, once I scan your ticket. I can’t scan it again”

I went to answer but, 

“GEORGE!”

Cooper rushed up behind me and took away my heaviness by wrapping his arm around me.

“Now, why didn’t you tell me you were going to the Ball?  Showing up fashionably late, I see – nice, I like it. Was that what you were going for? Oh, hey whatsup Lars,”

“Your friend already scanned his ticket but he won’t-”

“Don’t worry about it man, he’s with me. See, I’ve got another,”

Cooper showed Lars another ticket. We moved right past him.

“Alright, enough of that, This is George by the way, Lars! I’m so glad to see you man, how you been, why didn’t you tell me you were coming to this? 

I wouldn’t let you go to this alone.”

I didn’t respond. Cooper continued

“Alright, come on, I’ve got someone I want you to meet.”

 

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