Dear School, It’s Hard to Love Anything at 4AM

Nikki Fisher

School, Darling, we’ve been together for 17 years now, so I know the true weight of this statement: I love you. I promise, I love you. You don’t even understand how much I dig the way you’ve taken me under your wing and shown me the world. Your ideas, my dear, they light up my mind, and so often, there’s no place else I’d rather be than sitting in one of your classrooms. You’ve made me a better person, I swear. But over these past four years, you’ve been asking too much of me. I’m a Senior this year, and I can’t be your everything anymore. I love your company, but when it’s 4AM, and I want to sleep, you push my forehead up and beg, “Stay awake. For me.” It’s hard to love anything at 4AM. I need my space. When I’m not with you, you make me feel guilty for not being with you. I’ll settle down into the couch to watch an episode of my favorite show, but it’s your voice that’s in my head. This voice haunts the forefront of my mind, asking rhetorical questions like, “Is this really what you should be doing right now? Is this more important to you than I am? More important than our future?” After an anxious half hour spent wondering if you’ll be mad at me, I grab the remote and angrily press the red “OFF” button, upset with both you and myself. Sometimes, I feel like it’s either your way or the highway. I just want some “me time” without a side dish of visceral and mind-numbing guilt. You seem to think everything else is a bad influence on me. You’re jealous when I spend time with my other interests, with my other friends. Maybe you don’t show it verbally, but when I pull up BlackBoard to look at those grades, your evaluation is clear as glass: I should have spent more time with you this semester. I’m just not sure this relationship is working anymore. I’m not breaking up with you; I just think we need a re-evaluation. You and I have become inextricable. Maybe this love has just become egocentric. Do you love me, really? Or do you love the fact that I love you? You seemed to care so much about me in Kindergarten—you gave me recess every day for God’s sake—but somewhere along the road, I became wholly and utterly consumed by you. Don’t you think we can compromise here? I’m only asking for a little space.