The Apocalypse Now

July 8th, 2010 § 0

By Laura Grafham

Summer is when minds float away. All it takes is a tiny breeze. When the Falcon opinions articles talk about the need for an increase in modesty. For roses to unfurl their ruddy feminine petals. For seed pods to float across Tiffany Loop like snow, landing as papery puddles in the grass.

The time when I unintentionally wore a see-through skirt, pointed out to me by my roommate at the end of the day, sending my boyfriend into hysterics. We all imagined the people walking behind me throughout the day, pointing at the patterned underwear shining through.

It is now that my friends and I drink iced tea and put on Zeppelin’s “Going to California” on the turntable my parents found somewhere. We eat green and yellow avocados. We clink jam jars filled with ice cubes.

I notice that as the days get longer, the classes digress and shorten with the season. Teacher and students look at one another with expectant eyes, both parties coming to mutual agreement to end class two minutes early. Warm spring rain persuading us to come inside just a little bit longer, to read the book a little bit longer.

Today in Texts and Contexts II, I was taught that Henry the Fifth’s soldiers use longbows made out of yew wood. The strong heartwood is at the center of the six-foot-tall strip, the pliable young wood at each end. Yew wood leads to a discussion about the landscaping job Dr. Amorose held during college, back hoeing trees with his brother and ex-Vietnam vets.

They were slightly off, he said. Off their rockers, still needing to fight something. So they fought plants, hedges, and root balls with shovels and pick axes instead of guerillas hiding in the forest with guns. Crazy they were, staying up late, drinking coffee, going out to bars. Crazy like us college students, working late, getting up early, sleeping in, bags under the eyes, reloading our guns.

And sitting in the stifling, muggy room of Demeray, I picture Amorose and his brother as Martin Sheen or Robert Duvall, traversing swampy jungles in Apocalypse Now. Slogging through Shakespearean text, through dirt, through wet reeds. Right now, we all are at war with ourselves—fighting to stay afloat, to graduate, to find jobs, to hammock in a grassy yard somewhere. Fire, reload.

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