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The Mirrors in DRL Remind Me I Belong There

By Simon Oros

It was Monday, 8:26 AM. After two days and two nights and two full breakdowns, I finished my seventh complex analysis problem set of the semester. All that was left to do was reach the end of the mirror lined hallways of DRL and slip my tear crusted papers under my professor’s door before the 8:30 AM deadline.

As I hobbled down the hallway, I took a quick glance to my left and saw my reflection.

My cheeks were hollow, but not in a "trendy, Bella-Hadid-esque, buccal fat incineration" way, but in a "tapeworm that stayed with me from a Cancun spring break when I booked a $150 non-refundable massage at a hotel that closed down 4 years prior and then decided to turn my spirits around by getting sushi except the really good Yelp reviews were fake and the tuna ended up giving me nerve damage and taking up my $400 Penn Insurance deductible in the process" way.

My shirt had an interesting element, but not in a "$40 asymmetrical Zara crop top that gets weekly compliments" way, but in a "highly suspicious, rogue CeraVe squirt in the center of my chest that I haven’t noticed all day" way.

My eye bags were heavy, but not in a "TikTok peddled self-love, y2k-emo resurgence, disinterested vogue raccoon vibe, GenZ 'I am above this' aesthetic" way, but in a "second and third ball sack swinging between my legs and tripping me up" way.

My hair was slicked back, but not in a "James Bond-themed champagne and shackles" way, but in a "my shower is flooding with sewage and my landlord hasn’t responded to my texts so I haven’t taken a shower in 10 days and my pillows have grease stains and a vicious scalp scent follows me everywhere I go" way.

People behind me were zooming in the background to get to class, but not in an "Ivy-league, bustling academia, 'let’s grab lunch,' work-hard play-hard" way, but in an "it’s 8 am and DRL is empty and my freshman year acid trip induced schizophrenia is acting up because I haven’t slept in 3 weeks and I am imagining people behind me" way. 

I was slouching, but not in an "ultra-skinny 'broken rag doll' model selling oversized Saint Laurent 1999 resort wear" way, but in a "rat gremlin, anti-vax polio induced scoliosis, 50% neanderthal genetics uncovered via 23 and me" way.

Once again, the mirrors in DRL reminded me I belong there.