We are all busy, so stop making ridiculous plans to go on “that Stone Mountain trip” this weekend. Spoiled by the surprise holidays thanks to Hurricane Irma early in the month, every week of classes is a test. We must — as I always say — admire the small, beautiful things in our lives in order to march through the high obstacles in our path. Delight in the comfort of the wet grass under your bare feet as you run; enjoy the kisses of the wind as you leap into the air; and smile at the confident thud of the soil as you land.
It has been seven days since I ventured into Lullwater Preserve to escape the police. I could not help it — the candies placed on the front of the counter looked so enticing.
My plight began exactly one week ago. My puppy Reginald had a sore stomach, so I looked up the nearest veterinarian hospital on Google Maps. I drove to what I thought was the veterinarian near Emory University, but when I arrived I realized that I was actually at the Atlanta Veteran Affairs Medical Center. Silly me.
Not wanting my trip to be a waste, I eyed the glass bowl of sweets on the counter of the reception desk. The crimson crystals of peppermint beauty shone under the white lights of the hospital, the fine cuts of the candy glistening. It was as if the sweets were calling my name, begging me to put them in my mouth. I approached the counter and popped a candy into my mouth.
I kept eating those edible rubies until my plump, hairy stomach could take no more. I could not bear to live in a world without that ambrosia, so I did the unthinkable. I took all the candy out of the bowl and put it into my backpack.
At 4:13 p.m., the police stormed the hospital, searching for someone whom I overheard was a “dangerous individual.” Knowing that the heavens had seen my heinous crime of pilching those sweets, I lifted Reginald, jumped out of the window and ran deep into Lullwater. Within the hour, I heard the droning of helicopter motors in the sky and the barks of the dogs of a K9 unit.
I managed to escape arrest but have barely been able to stay alive. For food, I pilfer thrown chocolate wrappers left by negligent joggers, licking the wrappers clean to maximize my calorie intake. For protein, I go swimming in the lake and grab unsuspecting turtles, breaking their brittle little necks with a forceful chomp of my incisors, gobbling on their entrails as if shucking an oyster, saving the smaller organs for Reginald.
I have written this message using a large leaf as parchment and a blood-sullied fibula as a quill.
This is not a life I want to continue living, but I cannot possibly turn myself in to the police. I have resigned myself to a life in the wilderness, like a dance major with no other options.
How do I live a prosperous and secret life here in the woods?
From Lulling in Lullwater
Dear Lulling in Lullwater,
A wise man with red eyes once said, “From experience, cops aren’t good at finding people in Lullwater.”
In my egotistical opinion, the value of a life is measured not by the happiness of the individual but by the vastness of the legacy. Abandon menial, fleeting feelings like happiness and focus on being remembered.
Maybe you can haunt a gaggle of unruly undergraduates who sneak in there at night and perpetuate yourself as a legend: the mysterious man who lives in Lullwater, Emory’s very own version of the werewolf. Imprinting yourself on the annals of history is the only means of obfuscating the constant feelings of fear and anxiety that consume your life.
A friend of mine — who just to clarify is not me — once got into a horrible accident that sent them far, far away from everybody that they love, with absolutely no hope of return. They were suddenly an alien in a strange world, anchored to their old life by melancholy. At some point, they realized that going back to how things were was an impossible goal to reach, that the joys of their old life — like the smiles of their children and the touch of their loved ones’ hands — were ephemeral and served as nothing but anguish manifesting itself as longing. They sublimed, as if ripping the skin off their body, and grew tired of their goal of going back to the way things were. They made a name for themselves in their new home and enjoyed their new life for whatever it was worth.
Learn to love Lullwater because there is nothing you can do to escape. Do not complain about the cards you were handed; just do the best you can with what you have.
Also, you are probably not the criminal — there was another dude who actually committed a crime.