Last weekend, I stayed with my sister at her college, Chapel Hill. She’d been asking me to come visit her all year but I would always brush the invitation off. I think the thought of being evaluated by her friends made me uneasy. Then, I got a call from her telling me that she was kidnapping me for the weekend. My first reaction was to start thinking of every excuse that may convince my stubborn sister to leave me at my comfortable campus. But as she rambled about the itinerary for the weekend, I could hear the excitement in her voice and I knew I was already on board.
Our car bumped down a gravel road and arrived at a lopsided house. Though it was a house styled from the early 1900s, it was clear that it had been colonized by millennials. An upside-down American flag was nailed proudly to the front, accompanied by several psychedelic tapestries. Bongs were lined along the porch railing like a display of glass-blown art. Blacklight seeped through the door and windows, highlighting our teeth and anything else that was white. I was greeted by a posse of misfits that were lounging on the porch, passing around a rand-rolled cigarette. I noticed a pattern of scraggly hair, unkept beards, and smiling eyes. For some unexplainable reason, I immediately felt affection for these people. Maybe it was because my intuition was telling me that they had different demons that they were escaping and this house was their safe haven. Maybe I felt like I had finally found a safe haven….that I had escaped (or at least taken a temporary vacation).
I fell in love with everyone that I talked to. Every once in a while, I would catch my sister observing me hitting it off with one of her friends, and a subtle smile would spread across her face. As much as I hate to admit, she usually knows what’s best for me, more so than I do.
The rest of the weekend consisted of tribal print, glitter, strange dance moves, perfectly flawed people, forts in the woods, and every possible style of music.