A cup of sperm
sluiced on a dormitory wall
A dusty stairwell
with lights that never turn off
A few slabs of concrete
misplaced on some dirt and weeds
sleeping has never been this fun.
I keep my eyes closed and try to sleep. The concrete is cold, dozens of chairs are stacked on top of each other, the walls are thin and broken in some places, and I can hear the night guards –just UCLA students, outside. I chose to sleep here.
About 2 years ago I’d done the same, also for similar reasons. I wanted to see what it would be like; what else did I have to do? I’d just dropped out of college. I had time, had a way with romanticizing certain things, had to just try –to be a hobo.
Most nights I feel completely fine. I come from a good family; if I get caught in a pickle, the safety net is there. The fact that I look like a student also has its perks –no one questions a kid who just happens to fall asleep in a stairwell with his laptop out, his eyes closed, his body propped up against a concrete wall, at say… 5am when the janitors usually begin their morning cleaning shift. I’m just a really hard-worker –always studying.
But why do it Will? What’s the point? Are you trying to prove something? Is having privilege too much for you? A burden? Is this just another attempt at feeling different? You’re not so different. But you want to believe you are? Well…
I ended up at the UCLA baseball field last night.
I walk up a side road and hop a fence straight onto the baseball field. The night sky greets me, and for a little while, I feel as if I’m back in New Hampshire, gazing at the stars –peace. The summer air is warm, but the night does get colder.
I walk across the field and head to the bleachers, what’s that thing that announcers shout out of during a competition? The announcer’s box? That thing. The door is always locked, but there’s a secret entrance on the roof.
I drop my gym bag and backpack. A little bit of climbing is all that’s needed. I leverage my weight onto the bleacher railings and prop my feet on the announcer’s box door handle. I stand up and grab a hold of the roof. I shift my left foot over to a higher up fence on the left, over the fence is a 30ft drop to concrete, right in front of the boys bathroom facilities. I know I won’t slip, but I could –I take an extra bit of time to get my footing right and then pull myself up onto the roof.
The view from the top of the announcer’s box spans a good distance. I take another moment to look, there’s a stillness in the air. I hop over another small fence –my landing barely makes any noise, but it’s enough to make me paranoid. I stay still for an extra moment then walk over to the roof latch.
I give the latch a pull and to my surprise, it doesn’t move. I try to feel around for what’s keeping it shut. A piece of rope, but I can’t see how its tied. I left my phone in my backpack. I climb down as carefully as I climbed up –and then I climb up again as carefully as I climbed down.
Even with light, I can’t undo the knot. Or rather, I could –but I wouldn’t have a clue how to re-do it. It seems like a no-no, so now, I can either find a new place to sleep or sleep on the roof.
I climb down again to get my jacket, and while I’m down, I decide to brush my teeth. I walk to the boys bathroom but it’s locked. I decide to use the water bubbler outside.
Up! Up! Back to the roof! I grab a folded chair that happens to be up there and put it on the ground to use as a pillow. Some light from the baseball field electronic score sign is annoying me, so I prop my jacket up against the fence of the roof to block it. It’s 10pm. I sleep.
But I can’t.
I keep my eyes closed and let various thoughts cross my mind. I like being Alone. I’ve never had a home. I’m surrounded by so many people everyday –and I have no choice but to stay. Why is it that I have no physical home yet I feel as if I’m at home? Do others feel that they have physical homes yet never feel as if they’re at home?
I blink. I should find a roof to sleep under instead of on top of. I know I won’t.
I open my eyes and check my phone. 5am –Chickfila will open at 6:30am. Good food, free wifi, power plugs, and a clean bathroom. Good morning. I grab my jacket and climb down.