Secret Life of a Pen

Mackenzie Hughes ‘25

Thrilled to be here

I have been the most perfect of witnesses. The lies, the thievery, the cheating. 

Thus, this is unquestionably the finest piece of text ever narrated by a pen. 

I don’t remember where or when I woke up. All I can recall is that I was in some type of cotton bed, surrounded by others who were still unconscious. It smelt of bitter grape, apple, and cherry. I bet one could make out Mr. Sketch’s scented markers if the lights were on. An unzippering event occurred, and I was exposed to the horrific overhead dorm lighting. Sticky hands tainted by iced coffee picked me up. These hands brought me to the temple, the notebook, the temple, and the notebook in acts of intense contemplation. Before long, I realized I was living my worst nightmare: rewriting lecture notes. There is no way I shall survive this; the class just started learning about derivatives, and I imagine much crossing out shall deplete my ink. Doesn’t she know this won’t be on the test anyway? As if making cute bubble letters for each chapter will help this student. What an insult to my talent! 

The fire alarm went off in an instant because a student was merely existing, and the girl rushed out of the room. Her roommate picked me up! Theft! Hopefully, my minty blue color wasn’t necessary for the palette of that girl’s notes. This other woman started scribbling nonsense on a flashcard while walking through the hallway and slipped the note into her pocket. No. No, this can’t be. Is she making me complicit in an act of cheating? Hopefully, the dean won’t hear of this, I can’t be summoned to yet another academic policy hearing. At once, I was heaved into the side pocket of a backpack. Even though there was little room in this netted space, between the gum packets and aspirin, the rush of the wind made possible by the girls hustling through Fenwick pulled me to the ground. 

I rolled and rolled on that tiled floor. I looked up, and some old president’s face was staring down at me. Haunting. However, it wasn’t long before a handsome gentleman scooped me up. It’s President Rougeau! I should have recognized the deep timbre of his voice right away. At last, I felt I was somewhere I could be used for a purpose. Oh no! What a disaster! Of course, when I wished to be handled for a wonderful task like signing acceptance letters or expanding budgets, I would be used for just the opposite. Instead, I have been burdened with bearing witness to the files of what they plan to serve at Kimball next month. These poor students deserve better… pork again? Although hopefully, the delivery will be softer because of my impressive stationary liquid. Such beauty, such shame. I should have known I would eventually learn that the power of being such a great penmanship tool, comes with great responsibility. I shook my head in agony, contemplating the glorious doodles I could be used to design.   

Eventually, I was tucked into the President’s jacket pocket, basking in the coolness of his purple paisley handkerchief. Over to Dinand? How strange. At last, his purpose was revealed: to return a copy of The Outsiders. Following his conversation with the lovely desk clerk, he abandoned me underneath a stack of papers. When all the children were done drying their tears and were out the door, the clerk assumed her chore of organizing the books in something called “the stacks.” I was brought down deep into the bowels of Dinand, in the hands of a woman having difficulty navigating the narrow aisles. Check this, check that. But, wait, am I to be forgotten again? On the shelf of some old archives, no less! I am devastatingly disappointed in the gross mismanagement of this institution and the frivolous attitudes demonstrated toward writing implements. The course of life never did run smooth. But, still, don’t I deserve more from a nationally ranked liberal arts college? A whole day and I was not used for one positive deed like passing a test or writing a love letter, but god forbid I overhear the trivial conversation amongst colleagues and roommates. Perhaps, I am destined to experience these experiences to teach this lesson: you can observe people doing things they would prefer to hide from others while living like a pen. 

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