The Cafeteria



I walked into the cafeteria and noticed that there were more people than usual.  As I was trying out for the soccer team, I had been on campus for four days already.  This was my domain.  I joined the team in making fun of the scared looking freshman, as well as checking out the cute new girls.  I was part of an Alpha group, I suppose.  I even considered hazing some of those freshmen.  Indeed, I am one as well, but I was indeed still savoring some residue of my senior status in high school.  I watched, with my gang, as my peers looked around, tripped over seats and looked for someone they were half introduced during a tour.  I was comfortable with the twenty-five others whom I could count on to keep me from seeming like a loner.  It was quiet, now that I think about it, in the cafeteria.  There was noise, but the attitudes were still subdued.  No one would do anything to have himself classified in some way or another.

Then the rest arrived, and I was no longer on the team.  I looked out upon the sea of heads.  There was boasting and bravado, and whatever it is that girls do to show who is dominant.  It was almost a fever in which the student body interacted with each other.  They hugged each other as they were reunited with the friends that they had not seen throughout the entire summer.  There was intensity in their competition that made me feel as if it were a competition to see who could relate the most stories as fast as possible.  It was the energy of wild beasts on edge.  I was scared at this intensity.  They were excited so at the necessity of socializing.  I spilled my chocolate milk.  Embarrassed, I asked for a rag, cleaned the mess, and found a place to sit at an empty table.