The Skin Suit

by The Cowl Editor on October 26, 2017


Photo courtesy of

by Connor Zimmerman ’20


In class, my professor lectures about some boring equation that he has up on the board. I decide to ignore him and spend the last fifteen minutes taking a nap. As I close my eyes, I come to the place I love—the stage, the lights shining in my face, the absolute silence, the tension that you can almost taste, and the best part: I can be whoever I want to be. The only thing that can limit me is my imagination, and possibly the script. I can be the knight in shining armor, the weary warrior, or the despicable villain. I can actually be someone exciting. I open my eyes. I see that everyone is leaving, and as I gather my materials the professor says, “Make sure to have a spooktacular Halloween.”

I leave the room and begin to walk down the hallway. As I turn the corner, a person in a hoodie tackles me. As I slam to the ground, the guy pulls off his hoodie and starts laughing, “Did I scare you, drama queen?”

I get up and he laughs and slaps me on the back. “You should have seen your face. It was precious, man.” On the way to the dining hall, Daryl asks me, “Hey, are you going to the Monster Rager tonight?”

I look at him and reply, “Why on earth would I want to do that?”

He replies back, “You know, let off a little steam, socialize, act normal, get your Monster Mash on (or smash, for that matter).”

I laugh at him and say, “Look, man, I’ll pass.”

He shakes his head. “Alright Dylan, have it your way. I’ll just have to come up with something to tell Sarah, ’cause word is she’s hoping you are going to be there tonight.”

I laugh at him. “What do I have that Sarah could want? Trust me, she can find someone better tonight to mash or bash or whatever.”

As I come out of the dining hall, I bump into a person. I hear a clang on the ground and look up. I see a girl picking up her phone and then light brown hair hits me in the face as the girl comes up from the ground. Before I can even think, she goes to hug me. She says, “Hey, I haven’t seen you in forever! Are you going to the party tonight?”

I reply, “Um, I don’t know yet, Sarah. Haven’t decided and all.”

She replies, “Oh that’s too bad, I was really looking forward to hanging with you tonight. I guess just let me know if you change your mind.”

With a cute wave she begins to walk away, and I feel like banging my head against a wall.

At night, I’m in my room with a pile of shirts on my bed. I look in the mirror, as I hear a knock on my door and Daryl comes in. He takes one look at me and my bed and says, “Dude, you are a…dude. Pick a shirt and it will all be good. Sarah likes you, you like her. It’s a cycle, man.”

Dejected, I fall onto my bed and moan again.

Daryl walks over to my desk, leaves something there, and begins to walk out of the room. “Hey, man, it’s cool. I’m heading to the party in a few, join me if you feel like it.” He closes the door. I get back up and take one last look at the mirror and at my reflection. All I see is a puny, five-foot-two, anxious, lousy, infinitesimal freak. In the grand scheme of things, who would even miss me? I punch the mirror, and the glass falls to the floor. I look over and I see a pumpkin on my desk. Daryl brought a freaking pumpkin into my room. Frustrated, I take the pumpkin and smash it to the ground. Suddenly, mist comes out of the pumpkin and begins to surround the room. I begin to cough and I can’t see anything as my eyes tear.

I hear sounds bouncing all around my room. I can barely make out what is happening with the echoes becoming louder and louder. Then suddenly it all becomes clear. “What do you wish for?” Freaked out, I crawl my way to the door, but it’s jammed. Again, “What do you wish for?” I jump and head for where I think the window is, only to hear, “What do you wish for?”

Angrily I shout, “I wish I could be anyone but myself!”

The mist begins to disappear like it was never there. With everything back to normal, except for smashed pumpkin and glass on the floor, I head back to my bed to pick a shirt, but all that is there is this beige thing. On top of it is a notecard that says, “Put this on and your dream will come true.” I pick it up. It feels smooth, yet rough. Soft, yet tough. Kind of like skin.

Suddenly, I feel something on my neck. The thing begins to crawl around my body and wrap itself around me. Before I can move it, it covers my eyes and darkness envelops me. Light slowly peeks through and I look around and decide to pick up a shard of glass. All I see in it is the surroundings of my room. Then, suddenly I see a tall, lanky, blond guy standing where I am. It changes and I see a short, bearded, fit guy in his place. I begin to realize whoever I picture in my head I become.

I walk into the Monster Rager and I look around me. Everyone seems to be having a good time; no one says hi to me. I begin to think maybe this is not all in my head, and then I see Sarah and everything slows down. I realize this is my chance. I can finally be someone that deserves her. I change into some type of guy straight out of a magazine. I walk near her and say, “Hey my name is Brad. What’s up?”

She looks my way, and replies, “Hey, I’m Sarah.”

I ask, “Hey, you’re in my theater class, right?”

She says, “Maybe. To be honest, you don’t look familiar.”

I tell her, “Oh yeah, I’m kind of new here.”

She nods and says, “Hey, if you’re in theater, have you seen Dylan anywhere? I’ve been looking for him all night.”

My heart stops. I can’t believe she just said that. Dylan, of all people. I walk away and head to the bathroom.

My reflection shows me this ridiculously handsome, fit, and tall guy. And she is looking for Dylan. I give her everything any girl could want, and she is looking for me. I try and rip this suit off me, but then again I hear, “You can be anyone but yourself. That was your wish.” I reply, “C’mon this isn’t real. Just let me take this suit off and then you can go find some other person.”

I hear a laugh in my head, “Why do you think you can change into anyone you think of? Once someone puts me on, he or she becomes one of my many faces.” I begin to try and grab my face. I can’t seem to touch anything. I go for my clothes, shoes anything, but it feels like I’m grasping at air. I look in the mirror and I begin to disappear. First my legs, then my hips, then my chest. By the time I can only see my face I say, “Well, I guess we’ll see if anyone misses me.”