A Tangled College Kid

‘ I walked away from the skyscrapers, through trashy residential areas, past barking dogs, chain-link fence, through the stench of dumpsters behind cheap restaurants, out of the city, slums, projects, suburbs; I walked on a road with dead cornstalks spread out to join a flat blue sky. I liked the horizon and the barren fields and the giant sky like a dome. The wind blew strong. I walked all day. I looked straight ahead to where I wanted to be…
…With the wind outside, a girl played a flute and for a moment her world was pastoral. The evening darkened; the wind blew stronger. A thousand miles away was a man she would meet in a thousand days…

…A pampered boy read a 900-page 19th-century Russian novel reclined in a lawnchair on a summer’s day. The refrigerator was packed with chilled drinks and packaged meat products…

…Zachary liked to climb on the roof of his house. It was sunny and breezy and the clouds stood tall like ships and white. The sounds of the whole world blew to him on the high wind and the leaves everywhere shimmered like fish…

…College was where young people strutted and sauntered, dressed in fine clothes, walking and chatting with good-looking friends. Boys were tough; girls were beautiful. It was a mating ground; people seemed interested in education; everyone eyed everyone else, like at an expensive social club. I didn’t buy a good looking backpack or a lightweight name-brand winter jacket…

…I was a romantic. I wanted to see the world. My life was dead. I wanted out. I wanted to live other lives, to live in a village in Mongolia, to see people that talked different, to walk in landscapes, to see what trees and fields looked like. I wanted to live in cities, to see traffic, hear loud voices, jackhammers pounding. I wanted to spend nights under bridges everywhere in America, not to have proper supplies, money for food, to walk on roadsides under hot sun and kick the dry filters of cigarettes. I wanted to go to other countries, to be in danger, unprepared, ignorant. I wanted to see what there was on this and every other planet… 

…I walked through obscure places in Middle America. I walked in small Wyoming towns, past drugstores, coffee shops, diners, rusted parking meters. It was hard to remember what state I was in. I could’ve been in Borneo. I had to develop a dream…

…I walked on a sidewalk past a picket fence with flaking white paint. The night air was damp. A brown bird perched asleep on a picket, head nuzzled under its wing…

…I wanted a true love and a house in impenetrable mountains, to live in a bright meadow with wildflowers. I wanted animals on a farm, not animals to slaughter or to milk or to make money off of. All the bodies living in a meadow would make me smile. I wanted to look over everything, like a wizard working a spell…

…The plateau was coming to an end. People were climbing down or running off and breaking themselves. There wasn’t much to do but shake our heads…

…People wanted to know where I came from, what my plans were, did I go to college, what I was doing in New Mexico. There were no good answers…I said what people wanted to hear. “It’s good and normal for a young man to search for his identity,” they said… ‘
-Anonymous Manifesto

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