I miss the days of being a pack animal. Freshman year, when my friends and I would work on homework sets together, set out in a group to walk the corridor of Lake Avenue searching for dinner together, fill the hallways with a gravity well as we just hung out together. I miss those days.
I felt accepted. I felt I belonged. I had a family. I had a with. I had some place I was expected. Some place to be missed from.
Things feel so disparate now. My friends are scattered throughout the hallways, a clump here, a clump there. And I belong to none of those envious alcoves. I am in a hallway by myself. Alone.
I desperately, painfully hate being alone.
I have spent too much time being a loner to go back to that now. I grew up on my own, choosing work over interaction, achievement over connection. I felt guilty if I laughed with people, blaming myself for “being too loud” or “smiling too much.” Hanging out with people used to feel like a sin. Now it’s become a lifeblood – one that is running dangerously thin.
I want to click again, to meld back together. I’m panting for a place among my friends again. I want that family, and I want it now. Because next year – it’s all going to go away. Next year, effectively all of my friends will have graduated, and I will still be here, because I missed first term and have classes to make up. They will move on, and I will be left behind. Alone. Again.
I understand why lions call it a pride, badgers a company, baby birds a clutch. I am clutching with flailing hands to the last of my congregation.
I desperately miss being a pack animal.