by Connor Zimmerman ’20
Sinking into my couch, I begin to close my eyes. The sweet aromas of baking cookies travel around the house and begin to make me tired. I let out a long yawn, when suddenly my phone begins to buzz. I grab my phone lazily and look at it. Several texts pop up on my phone, but the only one that I see, like usual, is, “Usual place, same time?”
I reply, “You know it.” I switch my phone back to its home screen and see I have 20 minutes to nap before I get going. Yeah, it’s good to be home.
Driving through the night, car headlights flash before my eyes as I travel down the highway. I put on my blinker and turn into the place. I pull into the parking lot and see there are eight other cars already parked. The gang’s all here. I walk into the place and walk over to the usual table. Eight guys are huddled over a small bar table laughing like one of them had just said the funniest joke on Earth. I grab a stool from the table next to it and pull it over. They all look at me and shout, “Heeeey, Brian is back!”
A tinge of nostalgia begins to hit me. I laugh and reply, “C’mon, don’t get emotional on me. What did college do to you guys?” They all say various responses at the same time as if I can hear what everyone is saying at once.
When they settle down, Kevin asks me, “So man, what is college like for you?”
I reply with the basic answer, “Pretty sure like yours, man. Classes are kind of difficult, but I live for the weekends.” That gets everyone excited. They all raise their drinks and take a giant gulp. The waitress comes over and hands everyone their burgers, placing one in front of me.
Frank, seeing my surprised face, says to me, “You think we don’t know your order by now, man? We only came here every weekend during high school.” We all laugh at this and take a bite out of our burgers. The grease and juice drizzles down my chin as the burger falls like a rock in my stomach. I realize how much I have missed this, how much I have missed them. I’m not the only one, as the nostalgia strengthens its claim over us.
John says, “You guys remember our trip down to Block Island? Those were the times.”
Colin replies, “Dude, what about our trip to Montréal, that was legendary.”
Ryan says, “I can’t even remember those trips, man.”
I reply, “So your usual weekend.”
We laugh, and Ryan shakes his head. “Yeah, man, you’re right.”
I look over at Ben and begin to laugh. I hadn’t seen it before because of the lighting, but I say, “Ben, you legitimately look like a serial killer with your shaved head. I bet you don’t even drive past a police station for fear they will take you in.”
Sarcastically, Ben says, “Funny, man, funny. Even with a shaved head I look twice as good as you.”
Mike jumps in and says, “Yeah, Ben, your crazy eyes don’t help either.”
Ben shakes his head, “So I go to a military school, get over it. Next year, I don’t even have to shave my head.”
We all begin to laugh again. With every laugh the nostalgia has grown stronger and stronger until Jason finally blurts out, “Man, imagine if we all went to the same college.”
We all nod our heads solemnly thinking about what could’ve been. We take another sip of our drinks, when Frank decides to break the tension, “We’d all probably end up in a ditch somewhere.”
Colin replies, “That would have to be some massive ditch, especially if you fell in with us.”
Laughing again we finish our drinks and burgers and begin the usual goodbyes, “I got to get back to my family.” “I got to finish up my paper.” “I got to go see my girlfriend,” etc. Walking back to my car the nostalgia ebbs, but something else begins to grow in its place. Regret, guilt, sadness.
I look back and think this is our future. Yeah, it’s good to be back home, but for how long will it be home?