Esther Lustig, modern co-ed in the Fall of 1986, was determined to rush the Psi Delts; she was willing to give all, including her life, to be numbered alongside the sexiest girls at State.

Her friend Dashiell now called himself "Dusk". Dusk worked at the Student Union Information Desk for $3.35/hr. He was not a student, he called himself a "neutral observer," in love with Esther, in love with life and death (maybe) and rock music and whatever. He was 19.

Esther met Dusk at the end of the day at the front gate of State U.:
"Dash! Dash! It's dusk!"
"I'm Dusk, Esther! You're all day, all night, dear Esther!"
"Dear Esther? Dash, dearest Dash ...."

The two of them waited a few minutes for dusk to resolve itself into night.

Esther and Dusk walked High Street. Esther said, "I'm in college in the capital city, you're getting paid to read books all day, I mean are our lives over with or what?"

Dusk answered, "Esther, I'm pretty sure that this is nowhere near the end of our lives."

"I know, Dash, sad and happy and all that--I mean, this, right now forever, right? I'm 21, it's all over, right?" Esther cried like mad, Dusk held her, kissed her face, her mouth, like they were lovers.

Three weeks later on a Friday night, Esther was hazed by the Psi Delta girls. The sisters got her drunk and put her through the rituals: the symbolic rape and versions of every kind of horror until Esther fell comatose into a ditch.

Dusk rang the sorority house buzzer early Saturday morning. What a vicious lie, he thought, as a beautiful Deutscher Girl opened the door wide.

"You must be Dusk!" she gushed.
"My name is Dash or Dashiell. Dusk is just a stupid nickname from a long time ago."
"O.K. 'Dash!" How about some champagne?"
"At eight in the morning? Perfect! Where's Esther Lustig?"
"She'll be around soon."

Their eyes locked. She was blandly beautiful like every other Deutscher Girl. Dash was unfazed, he almost didn't see her at all. He felt panic. Calm. Then panic again.

For an hour, Dash and the sister (whose name was Trish) sat almost entirely silent side-by-side on a couch. When the university bells rang nine times, another sister helped Esther hobble into the room.

Trish crossed the room, smiled, kissed Esther lightly on the mouth, and announced, "Esther Lustig, Psi Delt For Life!" Dash clapped once.

The Next Winter, outside at midnight by Lake Erie, Esther and Dash stood in the snow, breathing in New Cold Air, looking around in wonder at the New Frozen World.

"Are we married?" asked Dash.
"Never. Ever. Never," answered Esther.

They turned to face each other, reassurance for now, for then, for the future, for the no future, slow, fast, stop, go, wreck, repair--the snow started up again. They walked back towards the car.

Dash drove. Esther slept and dreamt she was in love with somebody or something.

1 comment:

Darius Smith said...

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