there is so much to do, you think. you make to-do lists. you make more to-do lists. you are drowning in bullet points. you continue to make the lists, growing steadily more hyperaware of that which you are not doing. you don’t make eye contact with your textbooks. you keep writing bullet points.
all of the lights are on in your dorm, down the hall, in the bathroom. when you look outside the window, the buildings are almost blinding in their brilliance. it is 2:13 in the morning. you have not slept in- well. you have not slept. is that the sun? you drink another cup of coffee and draw the blinds.
there are ink marks on your hand and highlighter stains in your hair. scraps of perforated notebook paper are permanently wedged beneath your fingernails. yesterday, you wrote your lecture notes with just your index finger. the notes are still there when you check them- bold and a dark, dark color. you stare at your hands. you take some more notes without reaching for a pen.
there is a boy who walks through the campus lobby every hour, like clockwork. no one will look at him as he ambles through the halls, shouting his commentary at whoever he sees. you made the mistake of catching his eyes once, the first time you saw him. there was nothing behind his glasses. you snapped your head down to stare at your feet, and convinced yourself it was a trick of the light. still, you have not tried to look again since.
someone whispers the valedictorian will be chosen soon in the back row of your statistics class. your spine gives a lurching shudder before you process the words. you don’t know who was valedictorian last year. no one does. there are only absences in class photos and mis-numbered attendance sheets from old courses. you peek over your shoulder. there is no one sitting behind you. you shudder without thinking, and press your finger onto your notebook until the page is nothing but a puddle of ink.
you probably shaved around the last time you slept, which was- well. there is never any time, you rationalize it. you go to the dorm showers, but someone is always using the good one. you have never seen the stall unoccupied. how do you even know it’s the good one? you wonder, but do not truly consider. when you pull all nighters, you can hear the water rushing through the walls. you think that maybe, you wouldn’t hear it if you fell asleep. maybe.