The corridor is long and dark. I lean against the cold wall, barely being able to catch my breath. They’ve been chasing me for god knows how long but somehow I managed to escape. I’m safe, at least for now.
I sigh deeply trying to steady my breath. It’s not over yet, I think to myself. They will come back. They always come back. Always too quickly, always when I least expect them. That’s why I need to be
ready to run at all times.
I can’t fight them, that’s impossible. Their numbers exceed my comprehension, their strength - my imagination. They are an organised group which rarely gets discouraged once they spot their pray. For that reason the only thing left for me to do is run. I know I can’t escape, I’m not stupid. But it certainly won’t hurt to try.
Suddenly, a familiar ring of footsteps reaches my ears. They must’ve caught up when I was resting, I think. I get up and try to make myself run but my body refuses to move. I fall down with a loud thud, tripping over my own feet.
I look behind my back, down the long corridor. Here they are, with their claws sharper than the edge of a mirror and their fangs seeking blood. Absentmindedly I notice I never looked them straight in the eyes. The boiling red suns now spilling over their angry faces drill their way through my body. I must admit I’ve always envied them such passion and commitment.
In the last desperate yet naive attempt to save myself I begin to crawl. If I’ll go down, I’ll go down fighting. Their steps are becoming louder with every second but I can barely hear them over the sound of my heart racing. One of the shadowy figures throws himself on me crushing my lungs in the process. He grabs my throat and slams my head into the cold, stone floor. It’s over. They got me. I’m trying to scream but all that comes out is a merely audible whistle.
As I’m blacking out I can feel their claws tearing my skin. It hurts but it will be all over soon. At least I can hope.
Their heavy breaths fill out my ears. Their screams shred my eardrums.
The last thing I register before slipping into the darkness is a question asked with that hoarse yet familiar voice:
Things I learned you’ll actually need for your dorm after one year of college that you probably won’t see on pinterest
So, I recently finished my first year at college (which was definitely an adventure, and probably one of the best years of my life so far) and I’ve made a few mistakes, but none that couldn’t be fixed. For example, I really didn’t do adequate research as to what I’ll actually need for my dorm room because I was too busy fantasizing how I was gonna diy decorate my dorm room into a pinterest masterpiece. Anyway, I quickly learned my lesson.
Basically, your dorm room isn’t just for display. You live there. It’s gonna get messy, it’s gonna have to store a lot of stuff, and you’re not always going to have time to keep it in pristine condition because life gets crazy. But you can deal with it, I promise, and for all the new freshman prepping for their first dorm experience, I want to give some advice on how you can be prepared for what college life actually hits you with.
Alright, so I actually ended up being in a triple (so I had two roommates) which meant I had even less space than the average broom-closet sized dorm room and I had two people I had to get along with. Thankfully, we all ended up being really close and very considerate of each other, and I am incredibly grateful for it. We learned our lessons together, and this is the list of stuff we came up with:
1. Vacuum: Get a real vacuum, maybe a cheap one (not like a crazy dyson), but a real one. Not just a handheld one (like we had) because it won’t be enough. Girls shed hair. A lot. (especially three long haired girls like us) People might accidentally spill a bag of powdered sugar on your rug, or you might rip open a bag of cereal a little too vigorously, or, more seriously, you might break something like glass and you don’t want anyone cutting open their foot on a shard.
2. Swiffer: If your floor was linoleum like ours (that’s why we needed a rug, which I’ll mention later), then it will get dusty and dirty. Having a swiffer is just nice to have because once you vacuum your rug clean, you don’t want the dirt on the linoleum getting on the rug. Plus, it’s gonna a rain and there’s gonna be mud. It’s gross.
3. Brita filter: So my dorm was actually the absolute best freshman dorm not just because the people were amazing, but because we had sinks. IN OUR ROOMS. It is just so CONVENIENT. Anyway, I am fully aware that not everyone is as lucky as us and the only sinks will be in the bathroom. A Brita filter pitcher is nice to keep in your fridge because you can have fresh clean in your room at any given moment.
4. Trash can: We had three in our room for each person but they kinda ended up being shared based on location in the room, but yeah. You need somewhere to throw away stuff.
5. Plastic bags or just garbage bags: And not only do you need a place to throw away stuff, you need plastic bags or garbage bags for clean disposal. And trash piles up real fast in your tiny room, so you’ll need to replenish these bags very often. I learned from my mom that you always have a place to store your plastic bags, and so we had a designated plastic bag drawer where we kept all the bags from our local campus convenience store, or the drug store, or wherever. Trust me, it’s saved lives. (as in, barf bags)
6. Command hooks: So we had to bunk two beds and loft another to have enough room and it’s kind of a pain in the ass to constantly climb down to throw something out so we had a trash bag hanging from a command hook on my roommate’s lofted bed and yeah. That bag has saved lives. (same situation as above) Plus, you can hang hats, bags, towels, little caddies for your toothbrush off of these hooks and it’s just so nice because you don’t lose things.
7. Clorox wipes: Again, stuff gets gross, and you’ll unfortunately need to clean things (ie your mom doesn’t clean everything for you anymore). Have two packs stored because you never know.
8. Dish soap: Real dishes need to be washed well, or else you’ll get sick.
9. Sponges: For the dish soap. And the dishes.
10. Windex: For our mirror, which we wrote on with washable marker, and I killed ants with it too.
11. Storage for food: Something airtight so bugs can’t get to it, like a trunk. We also had mice sometimes go into our vents. And then into people’s rooms. They’re looking for a warm place to hide, and food. Don’t leave food out is the lesson. But also have food in your room! Our room was well known to always have food and its really nice when you’re staying up late and everything is closed.
12. Tissues: Freshman plague is so real. You will most certainly get it, and probably several times too.
13. Vitamins and medicine: Your immune system is gonna get a work out in college. Help it out with some vitamin C tablets. Have some tylenol or advil for headaches and aches and pains. And side note, if you’re really sick, just go to the health center, you don’t have to suffer through it.
14. Slippers: Get a comfy, cheap pair (because sometimes dorm hallways are gross, especially on the weekends) that you can wear all around your building and still be comfy.
15. Power strip: So much stuff needs to be plugged in and you definitely won’t have enough outlets between you and your roommate(s).
16. Printer: Okay, this seems a little unreasonable, but we were lucky because my one roommate had a spare one at home (how though??) and I have frequently said it is my favorite thing in our room. It has come in clutch so many times. But if you have a campus printer near you, or if its too expensive, it’s fine not to have one. But if you do get one, I would recommend getting one that is NOT wireless. University wifi doesn’t like you using other wifi (ie it won’t work). Get a printer that has a cable.
17. Plastic plates and forks: We have real dishes and silverware too, but plastic stuff is just easier clean up.
18. Rug: I almost forgot about this one.The floor gets cold and a rug also makes a room feel homier. You and your friends are gonna sit there and bond all that fun stuff, and someone might even sleepover on it (if they have a sleeping bag).
19. Chairs: So we actually didn’t have any other chairs other than the ones that university gave us for our desks and those are okay and everything, but some of our friends had these amazing, foldable, springy chairs that were so comfortable and also a lot of fun, and I am definitely getting one for my room next year.
Other things you might need but might forget (maybe?):
Make up wipes
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, you’ll definitely need other things (like a fridge, microwave, sheets, pillows, decorations, etc), or see that you really don’t need some of the things I’ve mentioned. Honestly, do what you feel is best and good luck! I loved my first year at college! Like basically everyone, I had some trouble adjusting at first. I felt pretty lonely in the beginning too, but once you start going, things start to fall into place. I met some great people, had some great classes, and honestly, I’m going to miss my first year–even with all the excitement of being an upperclassman next semester.
I hope this helped and that you have just as great of an experience in your first year as I did–actually, even better!
Four long years, but here I am writing yet again another confession about you. It’s still you anyway. Whenever I hear a song or gone to places that we just used to tell each other, it brings back all the memories of you. Everything feels like yesterday.
I almost died when you left. The pain still lingers on and everyday I would wake up praying to God to help me recover. And it helps because there are times when I don’t think of you anymore. But you know it’s never a one-night process, up to this day I’m still picking up the pieces of myself that was shattered when you walked away.
The saddest part of it all, no one ever knew how I feel. They thought I moved on easily when in reality I still cry myself at night. It’s hard whenever they joke around me about what happened to us and I just shrugged it off like I don’ care, but the truth is, it still breaks my heart.
I have proven it myself that time doesn’t really heal all wounds, it would always be a choice. No matter how long the process will be, I surrender it everything to God.
I know you have someone else right now and even if it hurts (without any bitterness) I’m at peace knowing you’ve found a reason to be happy because you deserve it.
I’ve seen AqAdvisor gaining traction again and I am really not a fan. It has a lot of flaws, so much so that I don’t at all recommend bothering with it. I think it’s too easy for it to mislead you. Really, I’m sugar coating it. I think it’s a nice idea, but the calculator just doesn’t actually apply to real life tanks, so to me its pretty much worthless. I cannot stand how much positive attention this thing gets when it can so often be very VERY wrong.
Just check this out:
I trimmed it down to the important bits, but this is me just playing around real quick to see how ridiculous I can get this. I would hope you can all look at it and immediately see the things wrong with this imaginary tank without my help, but just in case I picked some fish you’re unfamiliar with I’ll break it down.
So first off, I started out with a 180g tank (the favorite of “monster” fish keepers that like to keep their fish in undersized tanks - I guess 180g just feels really big or something), with 200g filter capacity. I overshot the filter because one of AqAdvisor’s biggest flaws is that everything revolves around filtration capacity - it seems to run on the premise that overfiltering effectively creates a larger usable volume. I’m sure I could get really ridiculous and make a tiny tank with massive filtration capacity, and REALLY see how far I can push it. Maybe I’ll do that next.
Then I started tossing in a horrible mix of incompatible fishes, to see what it would let me get away with. Let’s look at those: 1 x “Lima Shovelnose Catfish”, Sorubim lima - A 19.9″ SL fish that really ought to have a tank no smaller than 500g based on size alone. Aqadvisor thinks it’s acceptable to house a fish in an tank closer to 3 times its length. I have so many complaints with this, but I’ll move on. 5 x “Neon Tetra”, Paracheirodon innesi - A schooling fish naturally found in massive groups, that really ought to be 12+. Aqadvisor let me put a minimum of 5. Oh hey also, check that out. S. lima is a huge predatory catfish, but AqAdvisor isn’t concerned about these little guys getting eaten. 1 x “Guppy”, Poecilia reticulata - These are social, shoaling fish that should not be housed singly. But AqAdvisor thinks a solo guppy is okay, and doesn’t think S. lima is going to eat this lonely little fish either. Also hardwater to brackish? But supposedly they’re compatible with all these soft water fishes. 1 x Royal Pleco, Panaque nigrolineatus - This is no small fish either, maxing out at 13.4″ SL. But AqAdvisor is only concerned about the availability of wood for this fish. This fish does actually fit in this tank size (bare minimum based on size, without waste or activity taken into account), and the tank being overfiltered is good for it being a pleco. I mostly tossed this one in here to see if a waste producing machine would make a measurable impact on water quality values. (Hint: It didn’t.) 5 x Denisoni Barb, Puntius (Sahyadria) denisonii - Tossed them in for fun. 5 is apparently an acceptable shoal size. Another group to fill space. They are river fish though. (See WCMMs below.) 5 x “Galaxy Rasbora”, Danio margaritatus - See my notes on neons, except wow true nano, still supposedly not S. lima food. Maybe AqAdvisor just thinks these fish are too small for the cat to notice or care? (Not accurate.) 5 x “White Cloud Mountain Minnow”, Tanichthys albonubes - Same notes as above small schooling fish, but I’m skeptical about how well their water needs match these other fish. These are clear water, basically hillstream fish that like it cool. The others are tropical, and I know off the top of my head that Neon Tetras are blackwater fish. But AqAdvisor is fine with them living together. 1 x Licorice Gourami, Parosphromenus dessineri - Hang on, hang on, REALLY? Monster cats in little tanks is a special sore spot for me, but I think this upsets me the most. I can have a solo rare fish from a disappearing habitat that needs to be preserved by the hobby, in this mess of a tank? A blackwater specialist that belongs in a breeding project? And oh hey, snack sized for S. lima. But nope, AqAdvisor has no qualms with this. 1 x Zebra Oto, Otocinclus cocama - Did a zebra just for fun. But hey, ALL otos are shoaling fish that require large social groups and established tanks. I’m hesitant to even suggest that 6 is a sufficient minimum - they’d do best if you shoot for more. Aqadvisor let me keep one solo, maybe they thought it was intentionally in there as another snack for the S. lima. (Either way, it will be.) 1x Dwarf Cory, Corydoras hastatus - Also a shoaling fish that needs a group, which AqAdvisor somehow seems completely unaware of. Also will be S. lima food. 1 x African Butterfly Cichlid, Anomalochromis thomasi - Okay, I was trying to last minute tack on the African Butterfly Fish and grabbed this guy by mistake. I know nothing of cichlids. I’m sure there’s something wrong with him being here too, who knows. (For those curious, if I had added the ABF it wouldn’t have told me anything about it eating my nanofish - it just warned me that they jump. Thanks AqAdvisor.)
Take a look at the temperature range. These fish can only be housed together in a way that some of them don’t end up in inhospitable conditions if they are maintained at this one precise temperature. (That means they’re incompatible!) That pH range is a bit narrow too.
And the only note is the concern about providing the pleco wood. At least they don’t want the kiddo (a xylivore) to starve. But for those unfamiliar, AqAdvisor DOES let you know about incompatibility issues right here in this note section if the species has had anything programmed in about it. It doesn’t think these fish are incompatible at all.
AND IT SAYS I’M STILL OVERFILTERING, ONLY NEED TO CHANGE 18% PER WEEK, AND AM ONLY 66% STOCKED! The Panaque alone could be a fully stocked tank. The Sorubim is an overstocked tank. This is ridiculous. This is unacceptable.
This is why you don’t use AqAdvisor.
(Anyone else feel free to see what other horrible stocking it lets you get away with and add them on!)
From the moment you woke up, you could tell it was going to be a bad one. It was one of those mornings where you woke up with what felt like an empty pit in your stomach, like a black hole that made you feel uncomfortable from the moment you opened your eyes.
You went through the motions in the morning, shower, breakfast, getting ready for work, and head out the door still with that strange anxious like feeling in your stomach. Usually, you had Hercules at home with you in the mornings, while Lafayette has to quickly make his way to work, but this morning Herc wanted to get something done and left before you even woke up.
You tried to ignore the feeling in your stomach, to concentrate on something that would make you feel better but every time you tried to think of something else it was like the feeling got stronger like it was calling out for your attention.
When you finally got to the office and sat down at your desk you tried once again to focus on something else to ignore the feeling but it just wouldn’t go away.
As you tried to get yourself caught up in your work, your eyes drifted down to the picture you have framed on your desk. It’s one of you Hercules and Lafayette in Paris last year when Lafayette had taken the two of you to meet his family and show you around where he grew up. The photo is your favorite one of the three of you, you’re all smiling brightly at the camera standing in front of the Eiffel tower for the compulsory tourist photo in Paris.
A small smile pushes its way onto your face as you think about the time the three of you spent in Paris. You and Hercules loved seeing how excited Lafayette seemed to be, to be back in his hometown. He was so happy showing the two of you around, getting the both of you to try different dishes and doing his best to teach you as much French as possible.
You glance at the time in the bottom corner of your computer screen and sigh, you still have four hours until you can get home, and you can’t just daydream about your trip to Paris for the whole time to ignore the weird feeling in your stomach. So instead you decide to text Hercules.
It’s not a long message, you quickly send him a message telling him how crappy you’ve been feeling all day and how you’d really appreciate it if he and Laf could be waiting when you get home.
Owning his own tailoring business, it’s easier to talk to Herc during the day than it is to Laf. Herc can do what he wants and finish at whatever time he want’s to. Laf, on the other hand, isn’t as easy to reach, he’s a French teacher and is always busy either teaching or grading his students work to have any kind of proper conversation during the day and he doesn’t really have the option of leaving early unless it’s an emergency.
Luckily for you though, since Herc can choose to finish whenever he wants both boys can finish before you and be waiting at home for you when you get there, and that thought is what keeps you going all day long.
As soon as you open the front door, you can smell something incredible and you know Lafayette is responsible for it.
“I’m home,” you call out, dropping your keys in the bowl on the table by the door and hanging your coat up on the hook.
“There she is,” Herc says, making his way down the hallway to where you stand and wrapping his arms around you tightly, lifting you off your feet just slightly. “How you feeling darling?”
“Ugh, I’m just glad to be here with you two,” you mumble into his chest.
You let out a deep breath, allowing yourself to really relax into his hold. “You wanna talk about it?” he asks.
Before you get a chance to reply, however, an accented voice calls out from the kitchen. “Hercules, don’t hog all her attention I want to hug her too,” Laf calls out.
Both you and Herc laugh as you pull apart, he swings an arm around your shoulders tucking you close against his side. “Let’s go into the kitchen before french fry get’s upset,” he teases as the two of you make your way into the kitchen.
“There’s our girl,” Laf says as you and Herc turn the corner into the kitchen.
His face breaks out into his signature, wide smile and you pull yourself away from Herc to crash into him, letting the Frenchman hold onto you tightly.
“Oh mon coeur, I’m sorry you had a bad day,” he whispers to you, pressing a gentle kiss to your head. “I’m cooking your favorite French meal and I brought home the perfect wine to drink with it,” he announces and you can tell how proud he is of himself.
“Thank you, Gilbert,” you mutter as you reluctantly pull away from his hold. “I need to change into something more comfortable,” you tell them before heading into the bedroom.
After your long and miserable day you want nothing to remind you of it, so you strip out of your work clothes, pulling on a pair of leggings you rummage through the draws until you find an old t-shirt of Laf’s and one of Herc’s hoodies to pull on and after wiping off your makeup in the bathroom you make your way back into the kitchen with the boys.
While you were changing Laf had poured the three of you a glass of wine and he hands one to you after you pull yourself up onto the counter.
“Did you spend ages picking out ‘the perfect wine’ again?” You ask with a grin, swirling the dark red liquid around your glass before having a sip.
“He did. He kept pulling out the same three bottles before making a decision,” Herc explains.
“Do not make fun, I can’t help it if I like to drink good wine with good food,” he says, turning away to check on the food as you and Herc chuckle.
Herc moves to stand beside you, one of his arms snaking around your waist and you lean against him slightly.
“Hey I’m grateful for it, if I didn’t have you around I wouldn’t be able to pick good wine for myself,” you admit with a shrug.
“Me too, actually before you I never used to drink wine so I wouldn’t have known the difference between the good stuff and the bad,” Herc says causing Laf to roll his eyes.
“You are both lucky to have me around,” he mutters.
You smile, putting your glass down on the counter and slipping down onto your feet. You wrap your arms around Laf’s middle and rest your head on his back.
“I’m lucky to have both of you around,” you tell him sincerely.
At that, Herc comes up behind you, wrapping his long arms around both you and Laf, sandwiching you between the two much larger men.
Both the boys laugh at that, and Herc leans down to kiss your head.
“Sorry darling,” he says, pulling away and pulling you back with him. “I just wanted to show you how much we both love you.”
“I love you both so much,” you tell them, looking up into Laf’s eyes who has turned his head to look at you both over his shoulder.
“After dinner we were thinking we could watch some movies and cuddle on the couch,” Herc suggests, resting his chin on your head.
“And we bought the candy we know you like,” Laf says pointing to a bag on the counter.
“You two are too good to me,” you tell them, a bright smile spreading across his face as Herc squeezes you slightly.
You’re grateful to have two amazing boys in your life, they are always there for you when you need them, always ready to do what you might need to make you feel better when you’re down. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that you’re this lucky, to have these boys in your life.
“Oui, but it is because we love you very, very much. You know this yes?” Laf asks, smiling back at you.
“Yeah, yeah I know it,” you mutter, holding onto Herc’s arms around your waist as Laf comes over to hug you from the front.
With the boys around you, the smell of Laf’s cooking in the air and the taste of his carefully picked wine on your tongue, that horrible anxious feeling in your stomach has finally faded away until you’re finally feeling comfortable and happy again.
“I got a chance to have a small conversation with her.”. She said. “She’s indeed nice. And she’s an interesting person.”. She continued, as she smiled a little. She knew what she has to say. She needed to let him go, and she knew only one person who could take care of him more than anyone else. Of course it will hurt her so much but some things never lasts the way we wanted it to. “I know you weren’t mine anymore. Or maybe you were never even mine from the very start. The moment I saw the two of you together, I knew then that I lost you already even if you haven’t told me about it yet. You know it hurts, but you have no idea how much it would affect me and my damn heart. Because it’s me, who will have to fight these feelings of mine, just to make you happy. Just to see you smile, I need to hide every little tear that’s going to come out. But don’t worry about it, I can do that—for you. Anything for you. I always do that, right? ”. She smiled as if she can’t feel any pain inside her. She wasn’t mad at him. She wasn’t mad at anyone else. She was just so sad she thinks she can’t say any word anymore. But in the end, she told him one thing she hoped he would do. She gently grabbed his hands and said, “Please do me one last favor. Please be happy. This time, please be really happy—do it for me. Will you? ”. Without waiting for an answer, she let go of his hands and walked away—without looking back. But with the acceptance that things between them will never be the same anymore.
You don’t taste the memories in the same way that I do. It’s the soft spot in me that you like to play with, the one that you think had always been there and will always be there for you. I’ll never know what it is that’s keeping you stuck in who we used to be, as though even after everything I’m just supposed to treat you in exactly the same way, I’m just supposed to love you in exactly the same way. I’d been waiting for those words and I thought that they were special, but I’m not going to wait on them when you’ve used them to shatter another girl’s world. I don’t ever want them to come from you, and I’m sorry if you don’t like that. Our time has passed.