The Ivory Towers Are Crumbling All Around Me

 The following story is more of an allegory than anything else. It features Neil and Chris and how their lives are forever changed and there was no way back.  This is fictional of course (as far as I know).

When Neil arrived at the university campus, he was taken aback at how ugly it was. "I've seen better campuses on prison grounds", Neil thought, bitterly.  He realised that he and his parents should have checked it out right after he was accepted, but that was moot now.

Was it a huge mistake for him to leave his home in the UK, cross the pond, where everything was familiar? Neil was feeling uneasy, living in America had seemed to be a great journey, a way to shake off the shackles that had  kept him living a very sheltered life.

They didn't understand that he was emotionally traumatised--hell, neither did he back then.  One by one, former casual friends grew angry and impatient, thinking he was just looking for attention. To make a long story short, resident living was pure hell. But then Neil went back for there for his sophomore year and then his junior year as well. Neil couldn't afford an apartment, so had no recourse but to grit his teeth and sign up for the residence he always had, called . The end result was his taking a pile of sleeping pills, as he just wanted the pain to end. 

But not your everyday, normal aches and pains that allowed for some justified self pity wallowing. Because genuine pain doesn't just disappear in a haze of smoke, once you finish a project and leaves you twisting in the wind. Pain doesn't discriminate. It cares not if you are Black, Hispanic or Jewish that would fill several pages, will experience varying degrees of pain. Some will be fortunate enough to bypass serious tragedy and emerge relatively unscathed, Others will be caught up with too much emotional trauma for them to handle and become aggressive self-abusers. Cutting, starving yourself and getting addicted to drugs doesn't work for very long. And like every junkie can attest, the nice low that morphine and heroin provide requires more and more to reach that endorphin high that running, swimming and other endurance activities. He knows this as well as does Neil. Formerly devoid of the energy required to get that wonderful place. it was comparatively inexpensive amount of money to procure whatever he wanted. Big mistake, Neil.

You may notice that all of the pictures on this page are in black and white, or very close to it. There is a good reason. This story will encompass the theme of darkness and light, of the sane and insane, rich or poor,  tortured souls who just want to be left alone and those who can't stand being out of the limelight. Neil took a course when he studied at the  University of Dutton,  called "Illusion and Reality". It was in the humanities field, his favourite course, with a kindly professor who was encouraging, kindhearted and noticed that Neil struggled with depression. He wasn't ready to be at university, particularly  living in residence with a great deal of students, male and female just tossed together. It was akin to a miserable camp he'd been forced to attend that included campers spending two weeks in "residence" or in other words, spending twenty-four hours in a wild, unyielding jungle of sorts. Each tent held five girls and the five boys had their own. Neil was lamenting that these morons acted as if they were still in kindergarten.

 Similarly, Neil was surrounded by kids who never missed an opportunity to gossip and giggle and taunt the quiet and scholarly students (read: the nerd patrol). However, Neil hadn't accounted the fact that just because you reach a certain age, it doesn't mean a lot of graduating secondary school students have the mental and psychological capacity to make the leap to freedom from parents and rules, to something that compared, to me like the novel, Lord Of the Flies, where civilised, polite young kids, some as young as five, turn into savages after their plane crashes and they ended up with no adults to supervise them to wild, mean and war-painted faces ready to kill. Which brings me to the point of all this writing: William Golding's unique novel was, well, a work of fiction with a message: As humans, when left stranded, in a very short period, the savagery that lives in everyone's hearts as it has since we walked on the earth is simmering away and becoming murderous and actually do kill. It's rather scary to think that it takes very little, without adults to temper it to be a vicious, Jack Merridew who, along with a soulless savage and angry kid, named Roger, kill the laughingstock, pudgy Piggy and later, the entire band of hunters stab Simon (another outcast) to death and let his small body drift away with the gently moving tide. He was never found.

The reason for this seemingly odd inclusion is, when William Golding wrote his unique novel, Lord Of the Flies, he effectively showed us just how thin the veneer of civility is and how quickly things can devolve into a chaotic state where children are becoming murdering savages.  When there are no adults to keep everyone reigned in, or at least, prevent the horrible metamorphosis that played out on the sand. This was one of the most devastating and powerful novels I have ever read. If you want to see the book as a film, the 1963 black and white one is most chilling and believable. The inferior (in my opinion) big and flashy Hollywood movie can't even compare with the near-perfect one, which was filmed on a pretty tight budget and the fact that they had included scenes that were ad libbed, mostly containing the "Little Uns" (Small children) as they played on the beach and ate a great amount of fruits to ward off their hunger.

One of the younger children who were made to choose between Jack's tribe or Ralph and Piggy's.
Leader Jack Merridew and his equally savage friend, Roger


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