Do you ever yearn?
7. The Echo Bench in front of St. Paul’s chapel. Kill two birds with one stone and wallow in your loneliness while you reflect on your estranged relationship with your faith. Whisper song lyrics and bits of poetry at one end of the bench and imagine someone sitting at the other end, hearing, and whispering back. Imagine a love almost religious in its devotion, intoxicating as communion wine, nourishing as sacred flesh.
Recommended song: Hozier – Sunlight
6. The lawn in front of the Journalism school. Shadier and more secluded than the Butler lawns, but equally prime real estate for aching. For best results, invite your unrequited lover for a picnic of cheese, crackers, and Honeycrisp apples that taste like a night on the Santa Monica beach you’ve been thinking about for ten years. They will leave you, as they always do, full of kindness and apologies. You will watch their shadow, as you always do, so you don’t have to watch their back.
Recommended song: Mitski – Strawberry Blonde
5. The Great God Pan. The statue of the Great God Pan is that ideal end-of-the-night aching stop, when you and your friends aren’t drunk anymore, but not quite ready to turn homeward and crawl back into the gigantic emptiness of your beds. The ancient Greek god of nature, Pan represents everything you ache for: simplicity, authenticity, unrestrained passion. Make a pact with your friends that, after graduation, you will run away to New Zealand together and start a sheep farm. The pastoral life you secretly long for will never suit or satisfy you. What do you know about sheep?
Recommended Song: Punch Brothers – Julep
4. The Milbank staircase, between classes. This is the ideal location for on-the-go Barnard students to get in their aching before class. Sit at the center-side of one of the marble steps, making sure you’re not blocking anyone’s path, but feeling the dip where generations of feet have worn gentle, sloping grooves into the marble. Did you know that marble only ranks 3 to 5 on the Mohs hardness scale? It’s softer than granite. Michelangelo’s David and the Parthenon are made of marble, like so many ancient things. Do you want to be loved like the David, kept safe, untouched, and pristine? Or do you want to be loved like the Milbank stairs, warm and worn with a groove down the center of you?
Recommended Song: A Fine Frenzy – Riversong
3. Milstein 3rd floor library. For optimal aching, make sure it’s late on a Tuesday night and you and your friend, with whom you are secretly in love, haven’t gotten any work done on your group project. They’ve just made a joke that, under any circumstances other than “it’s late on a Tuesday night and I’m in love with you,” wouldn’t be funny; but now you can barely choke down your laughter. Try your best not to annoy the other library patrons. When they get up to go to the bathroom, be sure to gaze down at the cup of coffee they bought you and wish that it meant more.
Recommended Song: k.d. lang – A Case of You
2. The big tree in front of Lewisohn. For best results, lay on your back and gaze up at the foliage for a few minutes. Then close your eyes. Imagine that New York City is gone, replaced by endless, evergreen forest. No matter how long you walk in any direction, you will never meet another living creature. Do you really love New York City, with its sprawling nervous system of oil and water, steam and shit? Or is the experience of being constantly surrounded by people simply a distraction? Can you stand to be alone for a second? Can you stand to be alone for a day?
Recommended Song: Florence & The Machine – No Choir
1. EC lounge, floor 10 and above. Tell your friends you’re going to the bathroom and stumble drunk from the party. Stepping into the empty hall lounge, gaze out at a cityscape that stretches from horizon to horizon. Imagine the millions of little lives blinking on and off with the window-lights. Understand that every one of those lives is as significant, complex, and meaningful as your own. Think of them each aching in their private kitchens, as lonely as you are, weighed down with all the fear and love and terror that you know can’t be your burden alone.
Recommended Song: Simon & Garfunkel – The Boxer
Image via Bwog Archives