Dearest Companion,

I have received your most recent correspon- dence and I regret to inform you that I am unable to attend your formal gathering— which you have so delicately titled “Getting Hammered”—at your domicile, located so conveniently within the veritable confines of Amherst College campus. I’m afraid, dear friend, I am somewhere far far away, at the House of Tyler. Upon the acclivity, in the crow’s nest of iso- lation, I must content myself with simply looking out upon the horizon, to the sphere of depreda- tion in which I may unfortunately play no part. Ah, my feeble legs have just barely conceded to my ascent, and I fear that the return odyssey might very well constitute my end.

Well, well! As I write, I have just received word from you again. How convenient are these electronic passages through which your thoughts travel.

It reads:

“Dude can you stop being so goddamn dramatic and get over here?”

My word! I will remind you of the scarcity of electronic accessibility I am afforded, being so far from civilization. My response, which you shall receive by sunset tomorrow, is that I’ve not thespian affectations but instead the very fractured spirit which they of the stage have aspired, so naively, to reproduce. Is it heartbreak they want? They know not the despair they seek.

A story from earlier this evening:

In the crepuscular hum that marks off the cessation of Friday night academic labors and the rhetorical investigation of for what the students may agree to turn down, I found myself being inexorably drawn down the architectural masterpiece of descent, known also as the Greenway stairs (the hill at Tyler House more so constructed for Bighorn sheep, quite content with bounding down the alpine meadows of the Southwest) towards its adjunct dormitories. As they always do, one thing led to another—new companions were made, I tossed the singular ball down the track of the moribund skee ball machine—and then I was again out into the night. There my predicament became apparent.

A sudden, quite gelid breeze swept over from the southern hills, sending shivers over my bare limbs. It was a cadaverous breath, a sepulchral embrace.

“It’s cold as tits,” said my friend. Well put, I thought. “Insomnia, anyone?” said another

friend. My mouth salivated diabetically at the thought. But at this point my torso was trembling. I knew at once that additional raiments would be the only means of assuaging the frigid brush.

I raised the point.

“Hell no, I’m not walking all the way to Tyler House!” they responded.

Oh, heaven’s mercy is blind! Have they no compassion? Am I not human enough to warrant empathy? Am I alone in the universe? Is anything real? Will Insomnia close if I don’t hurry? A barrage of dread, indeed. Where to turn?

“It’s too far. I could just grab a jacket from my dorm for you,” a friend offered.

But my delicate skin! Do they have any idea what being a transfer student means? I have experience! Sophistication! I know the importance of high-quality cotton garments. They expect me to simply don any old fabric? Do they know me at all? Do I have true friends? Am I alone in the universe? Is anything real? Does Insomnia have peanut butter cookies?

“Hello?” I raised my objection. “Okay…well, Insomnia closes at three and we don’t have time to run back. So you’ll have to take a jacket or be cold. And yes they do, and

they are delicious.” The tongue watered. The skin shivered. Decisions loomed. Surely a compromise was needed. What if, I suggested, you all went to pick up the cookies and I went to warm up.

“What? Where?”

Why, the source of all heat in the universe, of course. “Jenkins,” I said.

They expressed consternation (for my safety, I assume), but reluctantly they agreed. I seem to recall something along the lines of, “Whatever dude, you’re an idiot.” Within moments, it was as if Niagra herself had swallowed me whole. Not only had the thought of the cold left my mind, but I distinctly remember questioning whether or not I would ever feel anything but dampness again. But one can only spend so much time in a two-story academic nightclub before the existential crisis starts setting in. Soon I was out on the lawn among the disciples of Jenkins where my troubles returned once more. I checked my cellular device—the battery was as empty as my stomach. Cold and cookieless, I knew what must be done.

Three-quarters of a mile, says the latest orbital technology. That is 613 steps, or 1,190 thuds of the isolated (though well-conditioned) heart. The nighttime paints a favorable stroke of jocundity over the campus but, though ‘all roads lead to Rome’, most do not consider that they lead away as well, and those paths prove a steady gradient towards a deflated darkness. Did I mention the goddamn hill?

Such was my night. I regret that we did not cross paths. I shouldn’t be so selfish, but maybe one day you will come visit me out here. All is still with the transfer students, the refugees of academics. My phone continues to rumble like tenor thunder. Like its soul is hungry for my response. But I can only receive and never reply. My dearest companion, I conclude this missive, which, when it comes into your possession, may be blurred behind the fog of intoxication’s ugly cousin, the dark side of the drunken moon, and I can only recommend the smoothies of the great Valentine dining hall to elicit a most favourable recovery. Oh, one more word from you, let me see!

“We have Svedka.”

On second thought, maybe I will deliver this note by hand. I best pack my overnight bag. I can’t be expected to make the return trip.