They all step around it. Over it. Next to it. Jump. Skip. Hop. Walk. But never on it. It’s like it holds some sort of curse. But in reality, it is a piece of stone. Stone — that hard stuff. Stone, the stuff that when dropped from heights doesn’t break into millions of pieces, rather thuds to the ground- making a loud, cracking noise. Kind of like thunder, except not thunder. All this stone says is the name of our school — Brown University. Nothing more. But it has been given much greater meaning. At least that’s how it seems.
Because as I watch people walk down the eight steps that lead from one piece of walkway to the next, they all seem to stray away from this piece of stone. This flat, hard, carved surface. It repels them away. Like magnets. But the opposite. It seems to say, “Hey you…don’t step on me. I’ll fuck you up.” But obviously it’s not saying that…well, because it’s a piece of stone. What if it doesn’t understand why people are so scared of it? What if at night when the weather turns from humid, to slightly chilly, it sweats out tears of sadness? I guess it isn’t possible to bestow so much meaning upon this piece of stone. After all, it’s just a stone. But other people seem to do it. Other people seem to think it possesses some sort of quality, that when stepped on, will ruin their lives forever. If you can give so much meaning to a thing like this, can you give meaning to a leaf? To a shred of grass? A lump of dirt?
See, the thing is, I have this lucky straw that I carry around in my back pocket. It’s white with a worn yellow stripe. It kind of just rests in my pocket, getting squished every time I sit down, and then popping back into shape when I take it out and put it on my bedside table every night. The whole straw megillah began one day when I found it on the ground and decided that it would be my lucky straw. It really had no special meaning, but now it does. I take it to school with me everyday. I take it on every airplane. I take it to every test. To every party. To dinner. In the shower. When I sleep. When I mow the lawn. People just don’t seem to understand why. My parents are always telling me to “throw that thing out already.” But I never do. I never will.
Because since I’ve had it, I’ve had the best luck. I’ve never gotten in a car accident. I’ve never crashed in a plane. I’ve gotten straight B’s on all my tests. I’ve passed every class. I haven’t made any enemies. I haven’t made any friends. I’ve eaten good lunches every day. Oh, and I’ve managed to grow a little mustache. So life is good. I guess my straw allows me to keep on living. So with that, I think I’ll go step on that stone and let it feel the sensation of a rubber sneaker stepping on its cold surface. I’ll let it feel the weight of my skinny body sink into its every crevice. And I know nothing will happen to me. It won’t repel me away — it won’t land its curse on me. In fact, maybe I’ll make its day. I’ll make it feel wanted. I’ll give it some attention so it will know someone actually cares. It will not feel the need to cry tears of sadness every night before the sun goes down and the moon illuminates its gloom…and you lie in bed feeling alone. But no one cares.