The Olive Tree

I had a roommate in college that couldn’t get used to it. Frank would walk in and say, “How come you’re always just looking at the wall when I come in?” I wanted to tell him that I was actually staring at the corner between the ceiling and the wall, but I knew it wouldn’t matter. I was socially inept back then, but I wasn’t that helpless.  

But I would just lay there and think, feeling an immense sense of sadness about my life. I wanted to get away from who I was without losing my heart, my mind, and my beliefs. Daydreaming provided a drug-free buffer from a world that didn’t get me but still couldn’t get rid of me.   

It really seemed to bother Frank though. It was the way he’d say it. Not with malice, but not jokingly either. Like he’d caught someone smelling their own underwear. In time, whenever I heard him approaching the door, I’d sit up and find something to do in order to look occupied. It was like working a minimum-wage job and hearing the boss’s keys jangling around the corner. 

I still do it today when I hear Yvonne walking upstairs yet she’s one of the few people who’s ever understood me. It’s another little complex of mine that I’ve picked up like a common cold, and I don’t see it leaving my body anytime soon. 

It takes love and it takes guts to undo what’s been done by an idiot. But we only have less than a lifetime to undo it. And there’s no shortage of idiots.

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