By Our Staff (But mostly Madeline Perez)
I’ve always hated that statue. That horrifying Bearcat statue. Nine-hundred pounds of bronze, shaped into an abhorrent freak of nature. Immensely strong, I always had the feeling that it could rip me to shreds without even trying. This creature was not one of God, but one created within the minds of men. Or women- who knows. The twisted grimace and dead eyes would make my skin crawl every time I passed it. So when those dickheads from P.E. dared me to stay the night with it, I was hesitant to say the least. Then they issued an ultimatum- do it or you’re gay. I couldn’t have anyone thinking that of me. My chances of obtaining a gamer gf were already low enough. I had to do it.
I walked to the Binghamton Events Center. The night was dark, almost too dark, and like every night here at Binghamton, the sky was bleak and starless. This familiarity was comforting to a degree, until I saw the statue. It seemed to be staring me right into my core. My hair stood on end. I was vulnerable and weak in comparison, and I knew if it was alive, I wouldn’t stand a chance. It would see me as a tasty snacc. Not to say I’m not, but I’d prefer to not be torn apart by horrific bear-cat hybrid claws.
I tried to rationalize to myself. This can’t hurt me. I mean, it’s just a statue. Right? I was going out of my mind as I stepped closer and closer to the statue. It stayed in one place. My heart was racing and I was sweating through my shirt, despite the reasonably chilly Binghamton weather. Maybe I was gay, like my peers so vehemently proposed. Who was I to say otherwise? No. I had to do this- I had to prove to society that I was epic. I finally got to the statue. It was just as huge and veiny as it was the last time I saw it. Not in a weird way, that’s just how the statue is.
I tried to stay calm the best I could, but my hands shook as I took out my epic blanket from my bag. I layed down under the massive metal rock the statue held onto so cordially. My thoughts were racing but I kept my resolve. It was no longer about proving myself to those dumb libtards. I had to do this to prove it to myself. I wrapped the blanket around myself unreasonably tightly, so as to protect myself from danger.
The fear in my chest was slowly starting to disperse, and I started to feel much better. A wave of peace came over me. I really had nothing to worry about, it was just a statue. It couldn’t breathe or move or make offensive jokes like the Binghamton Review! I started to feel very sleepy and cool. My eyelids were like bowling balls and other very heavy things. I started to feel myself slipping into a great slumber. It was only a matter of time before I was completely passed out.
I woke up in a cold sweat. My eyes were blurred and I was completely paralyzed. Immediately, I started feeling like something was terribly wrong. My skin felt like metal. Strange. My eyesight started coming back to me. I saw my bag on the ground and blanket being tossed by the wind. Very strange indeed. My heart was racing and I felt the panic really setting in. Or at least, what I thought was my heart. I looked around some more and saw the parking lot and sidewalk marred with poorly painted animal footprints. The same sidewalk I had walked on many times before and, unbeknownst to me, would never walk again.
All I could do was look around. Sounds were warped and metallic, and I grew familiar with the feeling of cold air. My thinking was the same. I still felt like me. It wasn’t long before someone walked by, most likely going to some obscure and subpar gym class. I tried to yell, but no sound came out. Nothing. I tried again. No sound whatsoever. It was then I realized exactly where I was. I was inside the statue. Either that or I was the statue, I wasn’t exactly sure. Day by day, students passed. Someone picked up my things. I got excited, thinking that he would find it intriguing and someone would investigate my disappearance, but he just took my things. It rained, and it rained often. I watched the seasons go by, with a faint sense of hunger steadily growing. As far as I knew, I couldn’t die.
It’s been two years since that fateful morning, and as of three days ago I can say I understand the meaning of fear. Fear isn’t some irrational possibility, a figment of one’s imagination, like monsters or elevators. Fear is what’s always there, what never leaves, regardless of how many times you tell it to go away or get a job. Fear, as I now see it, is the extensive loneliness that overwhelms me day after rainy, cloudy day. It’s a fight I will never win, a fate entangled within, and I will take it with me into the ground.