The alarm clock announced that it was six in the morning with a jarring blare.  My hand slowly lurched out from under the covers like a zombie stumbling out of its grave.  I hit the snooze button on my third awkward attempt, rolling over with a groan.  Fifteen minutes later I repeated the process.  My covers were a bundled mess overtop my sleeping form, blocking out the world.  Only the insistent alarm intruded, interrupting me in fifteen-minute intervals until, finally, I sat up.  Rubbing my bearded face, groggy with sleep, I saw that it was eight o’clock.  I ran my fingers through my unruly shoulder-length hair and rushed off.

            I arrived in class barely in time for the professor to start at eight-thirty.  My hair was still a little damp from my hurried shower.  My clothes were a rumpled mess.

            “Enjoy your morning jog?” My Romanian friend Mihnea asked, referring to my supposedly daily ritual.

            I grunted in reply and opened my notebook.

***

 

I was a ghost in the shipwreck that was my life.  I had died at the age of fourteen, left in the snow like a discarded toy.  Rescued, resuscitated, I dreamed of my own death each night.  For years I concentrated my attention on my friend Hope, thinking she had saved me.  Believing that she loved me.  I eventually outgrew that unhealthy fixation, in time to fall in love with Faith Sheridan, and hope for new meaning in my life.  Losing her left me feeling hollow and purposeless.  Adrift.

I sat in the back of my classrooms, enjoying a silent contempt of my peers.  My teachers in high school had promised me that university was better, that people there were alive with intelligence, bereft of the need to form cliques and ostracize those who were different.  I was promised professors who were masters of their craft.  I was told that I would be challenged, my mind expanded, my potential would become realized.  I smirked now, listening to students who used twelve-letter words out of context, attempting to sound smarter than they were.  After class they would be preparing for their Friday night parties and drinking binges.  Granted, I had a few professors who could amaze you with their knowledge, but most of them were pompous idiots.  And certainly none of them were challenging me, not in first year.  On the whole, they were boring.

            So I sat in the back, turning invisible.  Occasionally I would speak up, hearing some infantile comment from some would-be intellectual and condescending to explain to my peers some insight about Nietzsche or Aristotle that would otherwise have been beyond their grasp.  I was this dark, brooding wunderkind that impressed professors with his youthful wisdom, intimidated his classmates, and surprised everyone with his rare breaks from silence.  Most people on my floor in the student residence had been unaware that I lived there for the first several weeks.  It was a shock to Daniel and Evan that they lived on the same floor as I did when we finally ran into each other.  I had known for weeks and just never bothered to say hello.  I had become so good at being silent, and unobtrusive, that most people didn’t see me even when I passed them in the halls.

            I didn’t care.  About anything.  I saw no reason to.  What use was any of it when I was alone?

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