I closed my eyes, letting the shower spill over my face and hair.  I lost myself in the sound of rushing water, the feeling of the hot beads spilling over my skin.  I tried to forget the world.

            I dried off eventually, putting my boxers back on and then my bathrobe.  Wearing flip-flops, I left the bathroom and walked down the hallway.  I could see Daniel down the hall, talking to someone through an open doorway.  As usual, he was wearing only a towel around his waist, displaying his big chest.

            Seventy percent of our student population was female.  Out of thirty people in our section on this floor, only five of the students were boys.  That wasn’t one of their rooms.

            I returned to my bedroom to dress, pulling on jeans and a sweater.  I headed over to Evan’s room, which was beside Daniel’s.  I figured he had finished his last class by now. 

            As expected, he was in and his door was open.  This was a universal signal throughout the residence, telling everyone you welcomed visitors.  I knocked on the doorframe anyway.

            “Hey, Ethan!  What’s up?”  Evan grinned.  He was just setting down his books.

            “You busy?”

            “Not really.  Come on in.”  He gestured to his chair.  I took a seat.

            “How was class?”  I asked.

            “Not bad.  I hate that it’s so late in the afternoon.  By the time it’s finished it’s dinnertime and dark, and no one pays attention for the last half of class.”

            I nodded.  “I’ll try and avoid evening classes, then.”

            “You going home this weekend?” He asked.  I nodded.  “Maybe you should head over to church.  I bet Reverend Craig would like to see you, and so would Farrah.  I’m going home to play in the worship band on Sunday.”

            “I’ll think about it.”  I shrugged, not committing to anything.

            “You haven’t been all semester.”  Evan probed.  “You love church!”

            I shrugged again.  “Try working until six in the morning and then going to church at ten-thirty and classes all week.”

            But that wasn’t the real reason.  How could I explain that, for me, church was about connecting with God in my innermost self, and I could only do that with trust.  Now I felt so disconnected from everything that I lacked faith in myself, and couldn’t bear to enter God’s house.  I knew God could see me anywhere, but I couldn’t go to a place of celebration and worship.  In all honesty, I could see nothing to celebrate.

Dan was training me in the gym, getting me to go to the sports bar and meet people.  Evan was teaching me guitar and engaging me in philosophical discussions.  Both thought that they were bringing me out of my shell.  Neither of them suspected how far inside it I was hiding.  I had become a chameleon, blending in, acting the way they wanted me to act.  I didn’t want them to know how badly I was hurting.

            I had not told anyone about dating Faith that summer, or about losing her.  Some things lie so close to the heart that you can’t share them.

            I sat alone in my room, attempting to write an essay.  In a single day, I might be too tired to remember to tie shoelaces, zip my fly, or shave, but somehow I still finished my school assignments.  Often at the last minute, but still, I was getting excellent grades.

            Now, sitting at the computer, I had a dizzy spell that made me sag back against the chair, my head rolling back so that I was staring at the ceiling before I regained enough control to right myself.  I stumbled to my bed, and felt vertigo even while lying down.  I couldn’t tell if my sleeping pattern was driving me to exhaustion, or if I was going insane.

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