Being human is strange
At the conclusion of my sophomore year, I feel like I’ve been living in a dream for most of my time here
He extends his collapsed umbrella into the drizzle and gives it a twirl. It falls to the pavement without forte, without remorse. He pauses, assesses the situation, but doesn’t bend down to pick it back up. He continues to walk, spinning his empty wrists to the sound of a song that no one can hear.
“… the Y chromosome,” a passerby mumbles as if to reply. But of course, she isn’t talking to him. She turns to her friend as they perambulate toward Kenmore Square, chuckling to the punchline of an unspoken joke. Everyone’s a comedian; humans are such funny creatures.
There’s a bus driver somewhere around here. I know because the postage said so. He doesn’t take fees. I look down my rain-soaked jacket and reach into my pocket for my phone and CharlieCard ID just in case. A small puddle of water awaits me at the bottom. Nothing is ever waterproof, even if it’s advertised as such.
Like my coat, my phone is “waterproof,” though to its grave misfortune, it lacks the delicacy of eloquence: the time, the background, the same face I’ve seen a hundred thousand times. I slide my ID out from the compartments in my case and wait for the bus to come.
The door slides open. I enter hesitantly from the middle of the bus; nobody swipes their card, so I sit down without swiping mine either. The mask hugs my face. Two Pfizer shots later, I’m still as nervous as I’ve ever been.
The bus begins to rumble, and then we begin to move. We pass a few stations, and soon, a tough summer breeze displaces me from my seat. I find myself standing at the bus stop again, rain pouring down the eaves of the booth.
I stand up and leave the comfort of the bus stop and begin the trek back to campus. There’s a certain calmness in being still, in walking without burden for the first time. There’s a curiosity to being human, both in the delight of existence and the inevitability of suffering. We are many animals in one, though we generally hesitate to deem ourselves as such.
We may find ourselves at our most timid, but we can find ourselves at our most brave. We may struggle to find our place but in it find humor, love, and grace. And most importantly of all, we can dare to dream, fly, and fall. And that’s something to remember about the human, the strangest animal of all.
I arrive at the entrance of Harvard Bridge at last, looking toward the second half of my time as an MIT undergraduate. At the conclusion of my sophomore year, I feel like I’ve been living in a dream for most of my existence here; I’m slowly waking up.
I feel my chest. The heart can be a strange quantum thing, being broken, whole, or both all at once. But today, my heart is whole; it beats fervently, ready to pounce into the dawn of new life. It’s been a while since I’ve felt that way.