Lonely Hour


Nothing about Rory up until this point lined up with where he was now — who he was now. He had gone about his life perfectly, doing everything he was told to do in order to live out the dreams that had come pre-packaged to him the minute he was born.

He had been a wonder child, whether by providence or pressure, reaching up instinctively to grab at the bars that were set for him, turning each one into a rung on a ladder that he climbed with increasing fervor. By the time he graduated from high school, he’d lined his bedroom with trophies, padded the hallway with awards, and stacked his college resume — Eagle Scouts, Habitat for Humanity, debate team.

What Rory hadn’t planned for was, according to the laws of physics, the direct result of nineteen years of constant movement — up, up, up to the next Varsity letter, up to the next AP test, up to a higher SAT score. Something inside of him had heated amongst all of that friction, boiled and expanded, until last night. The flashpoint.

Now, instead of moving, he sat, the rain on the windows blurring the campus green outside just as the pounding behind his eyes blurred the night before. His mind was wired to be concerned over the fact that he was missing final exams, but within the hour that he sat there, he began to realize that the “A” he might have earned wasn’t worth nearly as much as what last night had likely cost him.

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