Randomly, I'll remember
bits and pieces of it,
and feel a pang in my chest.
How could I ever forget how
we rapped to Twenty One Pilots
then sung our hearts out to Jelly Roll.
How certain songs on the radio
make me smile when I hear them now.
How relief washed over me when they
saw me sitting alone in the dining hall,
and immediately pulled up chairs.
How we smirked and tried to invent
new ways to eat with only sporks.
The strange fellowship of sharing a table.
Of not feeling self-conscious,
somehow finding it easier to eat.
The mad rush for french vanilla creamer,
the way we helped each other clear trays,
the way these meals reminded us of home.
I'll never forget,
the grace we extended to each other
when someone was having a hard time.
The understanding and non-judgment
as we tentatively shared in group.
The simple nod of a head.
The space held sacred somehow.
And I'll never forget
what coming home felt like.
The hesitation, the fear,
the reality that my actions
had very real consequences.
The way I focused on cleaning
the remnants of that night;
someone had already thrown the
bottle of vodka away (the officer?)
and I quickly tossed the rest of
what went down my throat.
A gnat kept circling,
even after taking the trash out,
and I was reminded that life
somehow stopped for me,
yet also continued in spite of that.