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The Gospel

What the fuck is a gospel?

I look back and I cannot help but think about how much I learned while living at tep. Yes, I learned to cook and to handle money and to fix things; but, at least for me, that isn't what was important. There were the times when trying to relate to 30 people felt overwhelming and pointless; and there were the times the house was there for me when I really needed it to be.

I learned how to trust a compatriate only because he knew what you were going through. I learned how somebody you don't like can save you. I learned how an awkward ‘I don't know what to say' or a fumbled hug can make all the differance in the world. I learned how to talk to people about things that I really thought I couldn't. I learned that trying to reach out or trying to listen, even if you fail, can honestly help. I learned that I can help those around me whom I love when they need it. I learned that love isn't a sexual thing.

MIT is a difficult place, and the value of having people around you who know what you are going through is immense. I am a better person for having gone through tep, and I notice the same differences in trust and confidence every day across my colleagues who joined fraternities and those who didn't.

quarter of two a.m.. two hours ago, pounding down the street, will and rhett at my heels, the only thought to get to the ice cream shoppe before it closes. wet ground, the occasional car. boston still alive at that time of night, but headed for bed shortly. on the stereo, u2. “still haven't found what i'm looking for”. not exactly true, is it? something special here. got cookies and cream, size medium, and colyn insisted that we go to the supermarket afterward, silly thing really, only we'd go any damned place at that time of night, if you asked.

across the hall, bo doing that weird thing with his mouth while he studies, some freshman class. he does the same thing when he plays the bass, that chipmunk-cheeked expression. like there's a smile about to burst out. we all get together and play at cocoa sometimes: twenty-two dollar budget for snacks, and a steaming cauldron of cocoa (except the nights someone makes goddamn lemonade, but i guess i shouldn't complain). invite everyone we know over, and this strange assortment of people sort of spills all over our living room. like someone upended a box of weirdos. nice to see so many boys, girls, people from all over the institute. usually a good audience, as well, couldn't tell you why. guess it takes that spark to see what's special about this place. just left-of-center, where it belongs.

i miss edgar. not that we take the fraternity practice of “big brother/little brother” that seriously, mind you: he still owes me that dinner, because a box of mcnuggets isn't going to cover it. i remember last year, the first time i did rush from the other side of the line, how difficult it was. one day just broke down in tears (lots of reasons, i guess, but you know what 19-year-olds are like). he walked by, and didn't say anything, just lay down and hugged me. stayed that way for a while: you need the release of it, sometimes, the tears. afterward we laughed at it all, at how love is love, and little enough to be sad about. was making straight a's in eight classes when he left to join the army. wonder how he's doing?

something told me it was a little different here, even that first meeting when i arrived at mit. i was ready for water war, for kiddie pools of oobleck, for the hanging couch, the foam room, the lemon pie performance art. i wasn't ready for seppo crying when he moved out, for friday nights with rota and half the house, for eric's marriage at the aquarium, for the fred event, for the five of us sleeping in a basement in chicago, for holding nick's hand when i was sad.

been wondering lately about a lot of things, same as always: mit doesn't let you off easy. don't know about computer science, or graduate school, or midterms. i know i'm someplace unique, though. “don't dream it's over” plays, a kind of lullaby for a rainy night. feel so completely safe, so at home here. so difficult to just explain why: people ask, i always end up with, “you've just got to be there. to live it for a while.” sounds like a cop-out, but how else can i explain? i heard a man say to me, “i love my brothers,” and as silly as it sounds, i know he meant it: because i feel the same way. every once in a while, things just work. something about these guys: they just work.