He drinks coffee. He embraces the bitter liquid. He does not care that it burns the roof of his mouth. He does not care that he can see his hands trembling. He does not care that he can feel his body shaking.  

 He drinks, and drinks, and drinks.

He vapes. One drug is not enough for him. He needs to see his hands tremble, and he needs to feel his brain inundated with dopamine. Otherwise he cannot focus. Otherwise he is not happy. Otherwise he is not satisfied. He is not addicted though. Or at least he tells himself that.

 He vapes, and vapes, and vapes. 

He finishes his classes. He climbs the four flights of stairs to his room. He collapses onto his bed. He surrenders. He does not understand why he is in college. He does not understand why he is in New England. He does not understand anything. He is not swimming in his own mind, he is drowning. 

He drowns, and drowns, and drowns. 

Yet he does not drop out. He does not leave New England. He stays, and continues drinking coffee, and vaping, and drowning. Caffeine and nicotine are the crutches holding him upright, his life vests. 

He stays, and stays, and stays. 

He is a pleaser. He studies hard to please his parents. He arranges his hair every morning to please his suitors. He makes people laugh to please his friends. He talks in class to please his professors. 

He pleases, and pleases, and pleases. 

His parents do not care for his grades. His suitors do not look at his Instagram story. His friends do not laugh at his jokes. His professors do not remember his name.

For these reasons, he will drink coffee tomorrow. He will vape tomorrow. He will drown tomorrow. He will stay tomorrow. These things make him a better pleaser. And to him, a better person.

He will drink coffee the next day. He will vape the next day. He will drown the next day. He will stay the next day. He will please the next day. 

He has become addicted to pleasing. It’s his purpose and his destruction. 

Writer | Sebastian Paredes ’26 |
Editor | Rania Adouim ’26 |