This was to be the first semester of my graduate education in English. I had just completed 19 winter session credits across five universities in New York State. After this last semester with my friends still students at Binghamton, i would enter into a JD law school program elsewhere. The day my friend Sean packed up his room and moved back home, I got the email from the graduate school saying I was rejected from the masters program. I still remember printing out my transcript in progress and reviewing it with Sean before he walked out the door to leave for New York City. I was in shock, tired, slightly manic, and very angry.
My apartment-mate had returned to our apartment with the common space in turmoil. I had moved my computer and entire work station into the living room where I had been completing my winter session, largely awake, and glued to the chair for days on end. There, until the inhuman workload was completed, I was awake and typing for four weeks and nights to do what SUNY had banned out of concern for students health. Most universities have a cap on winter credits, and at Binghamton the number was four. Needing to get into graduate school one semester early, I figured out I could do six courses online and then transfer the grades and credits in electronically via the SUNY system.
But my friend wanted no part of the dysfunction. Most days he spent in his room working and in the evenings, would join me for television in the common room. As the semester progressed, I was spinning out. By the time I was arrested by the department for loitering, my apartment mate and I were not communicating. I suspect my behavior was increasingly bizarre and strange, and it must have been hard to speak with me productively like he had been accustomed to for the last four years. Either way, when I was called in for mandatory evaluation by the school to determine if I was safe to continue as a student, I was already so paranoid I was afraid of my apartment mate too. While I passed the exam, my apartment mate imparted his last words of wisdom on my situation to my parents who can up to support the evaluation process. His words landed on deaf ears, as whatever he told my parents I dismissed out of paranoia and out of anger that our relationship feel apart at the very moment I needed help.
It was at this time my mental status was in free fall. I became so paranoid that one night while I was on my computer I thought i discovered that my apartment mate was on my account impersonating me to my friends. I was furious. I walked into the common room, picked up a chair, and threw it against his wall yelling: “coward!” Given the situation in the apartment had decompensated so much, I went home to visit my parents one last time (this would be the last time I was in my families home until after my future discharge from the hospital) I remember being so manic that I took frequent showers and in the process of tryin to self-soothe, I broke the hand bar in the shower getting up. After getting out of the shower, my parents told me my apartment mate had called them. He told them he was afraid of me, felt I might poison him, or just plainly hurt him in an uncontrolled rage. I was even more furious and soon, very sad. I listened to music all night about abandonment, loss, and connection, playing Fleetwood Mac the chain ad infinitum.
When I returned back to the apartment, I hid in my room. Now seriously afraid of him, I began playing movie clips citing lines from the script I felt applied to the situation in the apartment. He didn’t hear it or maybe there was nothing cogent or lucid enough to hear or that made sense to someone who wasn’t self-referential and manic. Either way, I began cleaning out my stuff and packing it in my car. I remember changing the garbage cans and forgetting I was peeing in them when I didn’t feel like walking to the bathroom. As I tried cleaning up, streaks of urine covered the floor. I remember looking at my wall of pictures, and making the decision to leave them up. I was hurt. I would also later get the pictures back from a friend who collected them after my departure. I went to bed one last time after packing and woke up to the song, “Good Riddance” by Green-day that my roommate selected for my departure as I walked out the apartment never to return.
“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time…”