Be Younonymous: On Atonement

| April 5, 2011

Welcome to a series from Culture Shock, Be Younonymous. Here, anonymous members of the BU community contribute their stories from campus life and beyond under the condition of complete secrecy. Have a story? e-mail it to . We’ll take it to our servers’ graves.

I entered the room and there you were, sitting next to me, wearing a plaid shirt and dress shoes, staring at me with green eyes too big for your thin, thirteen-year-old body. You had a Mensa level IQ and were too shy to hold a conversation. You weren’t the kind of boy I thought I’d ever befriend. And you weren’t the kind of boy to become a drug dealer. But how could I be expected to predict the future?

We dated for most of high school. I remember the hundreds of scribbled notes and doodles we’d exchange between classes, the messages and little programs you’d put in my calculator. Everyone thought we were such opposites. You would get lost in math and chemistry, were reticent and cheated through school despite being much brighter than any of the other students. And I was lost in poetry and storybooks and psychology – a good student by any measure, but never testing the boundaries. But most books claim opposites don’t really attract – on the contrary, we tend to like those similar to ourselves. And it scares me how similar you and I are, given where you are now.

The relationship began to fall apart after the first year. First you lied about little things – nice things like hiding the effort you’d taken to plan a date. Then big things – marijuana, then LSD, then amphetamines. And you’d pretend you were teasing me, that you just liked learning the science. You strung words through loopholes, and when I finally broke up with you, you argued that you had never once lied. That it was all in my head. And now we talk, half a year later, and you’re in rehab and kicked out of college. After we broke up you told me you were clean. That would had realized drugs were meaningless. And when I ask why you said that you just give me a long hard look and you say, “Sometimes boys lie.”

And here we are. You made your decisions. And by not doing enough to stop you, so did I.

So here is my atonement, and here is the honesty I’ve needed for so long. Despite all my stories and psychology, I cannot predict what will happen to your mind, and nothing I learn in my textbooks can solve your addiction or our lies. I can label the physiology of your mind, I can connect allegories, but I cannot change who you and I have become. While you were synthesizing drugs and creating science, I buried my face in my books, blind to the world around me. Where did it get us? While you walked the tightrope between genius and insanity, I hid from reality in theory. Where has our learning gotten us? This all leads me to wonder if our education has been more self-destructive than beneficial.

What I know now I know not from books or theorems, but from experiences. There are a great many things I cannot change in the world. But it is wrong to idly watch reality engulf those around me. The silence must be shattered. And this is where I begin.

Category: BeYounonymous

About the Author ()

Beyounonymous is an account where people in the BU community can feel free to post to Culture Shock anonymously. The purpose of this is to allow people to talk as freely as possible, particularly when the issue may be sensitive or difficult to discuss.

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