King of Campus

By: Jennifer Sucevic

Even though his grip isn’t biting, it has every cell within my body seizing up with panic.

I don’t like being touched. Or grabbed. Or manhandled.

In all honesty, I’d been nice to Alex. I’d let him off easy. But this… this isn’t okay. I don’t even realize that I’m baring my teeth until I’m already doing it. When my words finally tumble out, they’re nothing more than an angry hiss from between tightly clenched lips. I can’t stop the fine tremble that slides its way through my now taut body.

“Take your damn hand off me!”

Eyes flaring wide, he immediately drops my arm as if I’ve burned him with the heat of my words. Silently we stare at each other for a long painful heartbeat… or maybe it’s more like twenty. The rowdy laughter and pulsing music surrounding us fades into the background as our eyes hold. My ragged breath hitches as I suck in a great big gulp of oxygen before forcing it slowly out.

Even though he’s dropped my arm, I’m still gripped by a tidal wave of anxiety as it crashes over me, threatening to drag me under. The slight trembling turns into bone shaking tremors. My chest feels like it is being squeezed by a vise.

I can’t breathe.

I have to… I have to get out of here.

In another moment I’ll be choking on my panic. I can feel the familiar tendrils coiling inside me. The last thing I need is to lose my shit in front of all these drunken strangers.

Without another word, I spin on my heels before frantically shoving my way through the thick press of bodies until I find myself at the front door. Staggering outside into the brisk night air, I inhale deep gulps of fresh oxygen as I stumble my way down the sidewalk like some drunken idiot. I need to put as much distance between me and that god awful party as I can. Even though I try desperately to settle the frantic thoughts rolling through my head, it’s impossible.

It’s way too late to rein in all my out-of-control emotions.

Bending over, I promptly vomit my dinner onto someone’s overgrown front yard. The only bright side I can find in this mess is that my pile of puke probably won’t be the only one gracing the lawn come morning.

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