That John Belushi poster is there, right, Animal House in all its prime.
And the red beer pong cups are certainly there, and all the nights spent in the tragic confines of an apartment rarely cleaned, dishes in the kitchen piling up with mold and vomit and rancid uncertainties.
But does it bother me? Not enough to clean it myself. My roommates are grown men and can clean their own grown man messes.
So the girls come over and see the frothing bulk of dishes still there and overstep the porcelain floor sticky with cheap college beer, mostly Keystone and Natty Light with the occasional Newcastle if we have the coin. A faint buzzing is heard from the corner cabinets and tiny black flies are seen hovering there, taking residence weeks before in a forgotten bag of potatoes on the bottom shelf none of us will find until the day we move out. The living room smells like a $5 plug-in air freshener from the grocery store. Spring Sensation.
A Friday night bonus.
The mini fridge is packed with beer. Every inch in that fridge is filled with the nectar of college and we indulge. Issac comes at some point with four giant orders of Nachos from Free Birds and the rest of the night is spent eating and dancing and forgetting to remember all the good parts.
An open door policy wakes me in the morning. Friends come over to piece together the night and have shaken me from sleep. My mouth is dry but I refuse to drink the water coming from the tap and settle for the open bottle of Orange Soda stuck to the kitchen table.
Tonic is there and Green Thumbs and Kalen and Preston, Graham with his long hair and video game container, Scruton stuttering his words, still drunk from the night before, Donny in his room like always lording over his Warcraft account; Glen is there, too, staring at nothing in particular, his typical vacant stare part of him now, the look of a man who has rolled his memory into a joint and smoked it long ago, leaving him with a quaint, cloudy remembrance of something he couldn’t quite remember type of stare. Jefferson Airplane spins in the record player and the blinds are pulled shut to protect our hungover eyes from the sun and its rays.
Quite an ensemble of friends. Truly.
Then someone mentions something about grabbing Mr. Pickles and a short skate board ride has me there eating the best sandwich I have ever eaten. And I think for the hundredth time that my credit card company must think I am visiting a male whorehouse every day around noon, the name Mr. Pickles not too common for a sandwich shop.
And the breeze of the open air and open streets hits me and I breathe in everything college has to offer like it is the last breath I will ever take and am exhilarated at the prospect of the next day coming and the future coming and all the good things that are supposed to come to an English major who thinks he can write.
And now, years later, I understand why John Belushi looks so confused in his poster.
It does not last.
And college becomes a lettered word on a stitched shirt that more than one girlfriend will tell you to throw away.