The man felt rejuvenated when he set foot back on campus in mid-January after a much-needed Christmas break. After fighting lust and all its nasty tangents for the entire semester, the man had made much needed progress over vacation. Being back at home, around his family and in the midst of the Christmas season had been just what the man needed to refocus his attention. And as he sat down in his first class of the spring semester, he felt ready to take on anything.
“Wesley Anderson,” the professor shouted.
“Here,” said Wes in a dull, monotonous voice that ruled 7:30am classes.
“Claire Billings,” said the professor.
“Here,” said Claire in a slightly more chipper voice than either Wes or the man could ever have mustered at that hour. The spring in the voice caught the man’s attention, and as he looked up he fixed his eyes on Claire for the first time in his life.
“How have I not noticed her before,” the man thought to himself. He sat there, struggling not to ogle Claire, trying not to notice her long blonde hair, blue eyes, or athletic body but trying just as hard to find a reason why he could. He eventually gave up, and the rest of class was lost in a fantasy world unfit to be described by words.
The man slunked back to his dorm room and sank in the oversized beanbag chair Tony had brought. He sat there, puzzled by how, after making so much progress during Christmas break, he could fall back into his old habits in less than one day.
“What’s up, dude,” Tony said as he entered the room. “How was class?”
“I messed up again,” said the man dejectedly. Over the course of the first semester, the man and Tony had developed a close friendship, close enough for the man to open up to Tony about his lust problem and close enough for Tony to come to the man when he realized his drinking was getting out of hand.
“I’m sorry. Who was it?” asked Tony.
“Claire Billings,” stated the man coldly. “And I did so well over break. I was ready to really be a different person this semester.”
“O man! Claire Billings!? That’s like coming off the DL and facing Justin Verlander right away. It’s just not fair,” said Tony.
The man chuckled, not quite sure if he understood the metaphor but realizing what the appropriate response was. That was why he liked Tony – he was never too serious. Sure, Tony understood the seriousness of his own problem and the man’s, but he never let the worry of it ruin his life or the opportunity to crack a joke. Maybe that was the reason he never came close to beating his drinking problem. And maybe it was the reason lust never completely enveloped the man.
“I’m just so tired of having this hang over my head all the time,” the man said dejectedly.
“I know what you mean, dude,” replied Tony. “Break just made things worse for me. I got home and found out most of my high school friends were still drinking in college so when we got together, guess what we did?”
“I’m sorry,” said the man. The two sat in the room for the next few minutes, silently reflecting on the problems each faced. Eventually, the man spoke. “Maybe we need to, ya know, get some help?” the man said questioningly.
“What do you mean?” replied Tony. Tony had never considered this option before, had never really realized it was an option until now.
“I mean maybe somebody a little smarter than us can help us beat what we’re going through. We obviously aren’t getting very far on our own, and I’m always hearing about the free counseling service on campus. Maybe someone there can help us out.”
“I don’t know,” said Tony. “I know I have a problem, but I’m not sure how comfortable I am talking to just anybody about it.”
“Well I’m going to go,” replied the man. “And it would be great to have a friend going through the same thing that I could talk with.”
Tony sat and thought for a moment, silently weighing the pros and cons of the decision he was being forced to make. After what seemed like too long to the man, Tony said, “fine, I’ll go too. I suppose stumbling into the dorm room at 1am isn’t too inconspicuous, so maybe telling a professional what’s going on won’t be so bad.”
“Great,” exclaimed the man. “All we have to do is make appointments and we’re good to go!”
“We’ll see” said Tony, not nearly as enthused as the man. “I’ve got to go get something to eat or else I’m going to die. I’ll see ya around.”
“See ya,” said the man. The man soon made an appointment to see his school’s counseling service and the rest of the day he felt a fresh sense of invigoration; a sense that only comes from the hope of change.