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I have always felt wrong - like I am living in a stranger's body. When I left home for college, it was a last ditch effort to figure out how to live with myself. It didn't work. Until Jesse saved my life.
By Kathleen Hayes
January 1, 2013
It was January 1st. I always went out to visit my spot on the first of the year. At first it was to hope things would somehow get better, that somehow the next year would not be as hopeless and lonely as the year that had just ended. Then, it was to remember, and take a moment to give thanks.
It was a little after nine in the morning, and the snow had just started to fall, though the not quite freezing temperature meant nothing was sticking to the ground. I rounded the corner from 37th St to Prospect St and made the decision that it wasn't too icy to take the Exorcist steps, which would cut about five minutes off my walk. I smiled briefly to myself, thinking of the first time I had seen The Exorcist. Jesse had been horrified that I hadn’t seen it, and brought it to one of our early movie nights. Despite all the changes in the area, you could still recognize a lot of the places in Georgetown that were used to film it.
It was a short walk down to the banks of the Potomac River, and before long, I was picking my way through the grass to the slight cliff that overlooks the water. I love open space, heights and water. There is just not much of that in Washington, DC – at least not within walking distance of school – so when I discovered this little outcropping, I made it my place. If there isn’t much traffic, I can close my eyes, sit with my feet dangling off the edge and listen to the waters of the Potomac race by as the wind plays with my hair.
This year, when I sat down, there was no despair in my heart – only joy and hope for a wonderful year. As I looked at the tiny snowflakes dancing their way down to the water, I thought about Jesse. This was where I had first met him.
Five Years Ago
I woke up with a pounding head and a roiling in my stomach telling me that whatever I had done at the party last night was not my friend. Apparently, I’d fallen asleep in my clothes. Tights – which had been ripped to shreds at some point, a too short skirt, and a too low cut tank top looked even worse the morning after. I knew it was a mistake. The few people from my dorms who didn’t go home for the holidays had decided to go out on New Year’s Eve and had insisted that I come along. I had convinced myself that, if I could just act normal, then maybe I would start to feel normal. All it did was make me feel worse. And leave me with a hangover from hell.
I stumbled into the bathroom, briefly noticing that my roommate, Kira, had not come home I tried to avoid looking at myself in Kira's mirror hanging on the door, but, unfortunately, my eyes were drawn to the reflection staring out at me. As always, it felt like I was looking at someone else.